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HOW DO EARLY PARENT–CHILD INTERACTIONS IMPACT FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS?

  • Our brains are wired to encourage interaction between parents and children. The release of the hormone oxytocin leads to feelings of trust and calm.

  • Early interactions with parents and caregivers lead to the development of attachment styles. These styles describe the relationship between self–esteem and interpersonal trust. They affect the way we define and interact within relationships.

WHAT LEADS TO ATTRACTION?

  • Attraction starts with proximity, which leads to repeated contact between people. This repeated contact, described as mere exposure, increases the likelihood of attraction.

  • Physical attraction impacts interaction; we are more likely to react positively to someone who is physically attractive. We are also attracted to people with whom we share similar traits or beliefs.

WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE AND DEFINE ROMANTIC LOVE?

  • Romantic relationships are defined in terms of passionate and companionate love. Passionate love is frequently seen at the beginning of a relationship, when two people feel intense longing toward one another. It usually cools into the more stable and calm companionate love.

  • Robert Sternberg's triangular theory of love describes the relationship between three possible components of love. His model results in eight different types of love.

HOW ARE RELATIONSHIPS MAINTAINED?

  • Social exchange theory argues that relationship satisfaction comes from weighing the benefits of a relationship against the costs. Similar to this is equity theory, in which relationship maintenance can be predicted based on similarity between partner's ratios of benefits to contributions in a relationship.

  • The more you've invested in a relationship, the more you're willing to work at maintaining it.

WHAT ROLE DOES CONFLICT PLAY IN RELATIONSHIPS?

  • Conflict is a normal part of any relationship; however, there are four conflict styles, identified by Gottman, that usually result in the end of a relationship. The negative attributional style can also cause serious problems within a relationship.

  • The dissolution of a relationship is often considered a bad thing, but it can result in personal growth. This growth is measured in three types of positive outcomes.