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Decoding 7 Important Relationship Dynamics

Relationships are what we all nurture and feel connected to. Relations are a necessity for humans to survive. Apart from blood relations, there are numerous relationships we make and honour throughout our lives. Relationship dynamics talk about how you feel affiliation towards someone and how you interact and behave with others in a relationship. It deals with the working of a relationship.

Relationship dynamics are a guide to changing your equation with other people. It helps in understanding relations better to have a healthy relationship with people around.

Before we understand relationship dynamics, one thing we must learn is what relationships are and how they build and persevere.

You might be having questions like, “What are some relationship dynamics?”, “Are relationship dynamics based on fact or opinion?”, “What are romantic relationship dynamics?”, “What is a healthy relationship dynamic?”

Well, we are going to find out the answer to all of them ahead in this article.

Relationship dynamics
image source: August De Richelie / Pexels

1. What Are Relationships, Why Do You Need Them? 

Relationships are the foundation of human existence. Isolation can prove fatal for humans since human beings are social animals. Family becomes our first and prime unit of association or relationship. Then we choose our friends, office buddies, and life partner. It shows that humans need relations irrespective of place and age. A relationship is a bond two people share with one another. 

 Relations are more than just mere connections. They are prime for the social and mental well-being of a person. Studies show that those who maintain healthy relationships are less stressed out and are happier. 

It also affects your daily behaviour if you have a close association with somebody who can help you de-stress yourself. It means a better and healthier life for you with added years.

2. Understanding How Relationships Are Made And Develop

Before we leap to relationship dynamics, understanding how relationships are made and developed would be of great help.

Knapp, in 1978, constructed a ten-step relational development model. The detailed “model states what seems to happen and not what should happen.”

The ten steps are as follows:

2.1. Initiation

The first stage is about the first impression made on one another. Looks are of great significance when forming impressions. It occurs when two individuals meet each other and share their initial days. At this stage, each other’s presentation of themselves matters a lot. They don’t go deeper into each other’s lives and focus on macro factors. 

2.2. Experimentation

In this stage, individuals try to know each other, and in this process, they share information about themselves.

At this stage, partners share pleasant precise conversations. Often people try to find similarities and related interests. If one didn’t get along well, a relationship didn’t move further.

2.3. Intensifying

As the name suggests, this is the next step where the relation intensifies. Apart from finding common interests, partners start sharing more information about themselves. A person may continue talking over phone chats and present gifts to each other.

2.4. Integration

If persons feel confident about each other, their relationship moves to an integration stage. At this point, people get their partners to introduce them to their family and friends. Partners perceive their relationship as a unique and special one. 

2.5. Bonding

This stage arrives when both persons involved are sure about one another and are introduced to their partners. It might grow in marriage.

2.6. Differentiating

The next is feeling disassociation may arise because of differences. The similarities may now grow into a disagreement that leads to conflicts. Knapp believes that differentiating could be the result of prompt bonding.

At this stage, giving some space to your partner might work. Your bond can move further, or else drift may create.

2.7. Circumscribing

Less communication is the attribute of this stage.

The conversation is limited, or short talk replaces lengthy talks.

2.8. Stagnation

It is the time when one feels a still relationship is building up. Feeling stuck is common. Partners hardly communicate and rely more on assumptions. Often people stay in this stage to avoid the pain of separation.

2.9. Avoidance

This stage appears soon after stagnation. These partners avoid conversation and, to the worst, they avoid each other. It happens as things don’t get sorted in the stagnation stage. Partners feel emotional detachment.

2.10. Termination

This final stage arrives when partners decide to separate and end their relationships. This last step may arise earlier also. People may agree to separate paths in earlier stages also.

3. The basic types of relationships

  We make many personal and professional relations in our lives. These relationships can be grouped into four prime relationships that an individual nurtures in life. These are:

3.1. Family

family
Image source: Emma Bauso / Pexels

The first and foremost is family. Family bonding enhances togetherness and understanding. It provides you warmth, love, care, safety, and a sense of belongingness. At the initial stage of your life, you don’t get to choose your family relationships. But as you get older, you start to find yourself comfortable with one and not with the other. So at that time, you choose whom to call your family and whom not to call family. Still, you stay related to them via blood relations. 

3.2. Friends

 friends
Image source: Nappy / Pexels

The next most important relationship is with a friend. These are those people with whom you share exciting thoughts also habits. Friends are part of your social life. These relationships aren’t blood-related, and it’s entirely in your hand to choose your friends. This relationship is easier to develop and maintain than other non-blood-related relationships as expectations are lower than the other. 

3.3. Acquaintances

It consists of a long list of people you know. It includes your boss, colleagues, neighbours, etc. All this whom you know but not as accurately as you are aware of your friends. Someone might be an acquaintance even if you don’t know them well. This includes all the people you know for one or the other reasons. But they can’t be called your friend because they don’t know as much about you as your friends do emotionally, mentally, and knowledge-wise. It can be the person you say good morning to daily, but you don’t have any more contact with that person. 

3.4. Romantic

The last relationship is romantic. These relationships are prominent in one’s life. In this one, choose a love partner. It is categorized by love, passion, and intensity. Ideally, one has a romantic relationship with only one person at a time. When you are in a romantic relationship, you share everything with your partner. Your partner can be called the closest to you, closer than friends and family too because you share an emotional, physical, mental, and sexual relationship with that person. In a romantic relationship, The bond between romantic partners defines their relationship. 

romantic couple
By ShiftDriveShutterstock.com

It builds on trust and needs efforts to make this relationship work.

4. Decode Healthy Close Relationship Dynamics 

These are the Relationship dynamics. To understand why your relationship appears like this or enjoy a slightly better chance of decoding, relationship dynamics can help you.

Let’s see the power dynamics that exist in relationships. It’s the effect on the copartner.

  • Power Dynamics:
relationship dynamics : powr dynamics
Image source: cottonbro/ pexels

These power dynamics show who runs a relationship. It is about how a person dominates in a relationship. Power play can be balanced if you know how your partner controls the relationship. The power steering of the relationship changes as the situation. In some situations, one has the power to dominate, whereas the other partner dominates in some other situations. 

Often the more powerful partner ( the one partner who is emotionally, mentally, or physically powerful) tries to exert control in a relationship.

Power dynamics are present in each relationship that gets ignored. Sometimes we fail to recognize dynamics.

4.1. Are You an Active or Passive Partner?

In a relationship, generally, the decision-maker takes the seat of the active partner while the other who follows is a passive one. You can see partners switching roles between active and passive partners. These active-passive dynamics depend on the situation. If there is a decision to make about which partner has better knowledge about a particular subject than the other one, then, in that case, he takes the decision. When both partners try to sit in the active, conflict arises. If these conflicts get resolved mutually, then it strengthens the bond, but if not, then it may become a threat to the relationship. 

This relationship dynamic creates a healthy environment in your relationship if you actively switch roles. Then you can say these power dynamics are not controlled by one.

But if you stay passive and have no say, then your partner controls power. This can increase the dominance of one partner, and the far one stays in power, the stronger his say becomes. And when a passive partner decides to take control, it can lead to the break up of the relationship. 

4.2. Is There a Balanced Power Play in Your Relationship?

Think of a relationship where partners share power equally when both actively participate in any conclusion. This 50/50 formula is an ideal formula and too good to be a true formula as it’s uncommon to see that type of relationship in real. One side is constantly weighing more than the other, sometimes a little, sometimes too much. 

More than this, it means that you share equal respect, affection, and support. This relationship dynamics talk about the balance of power in any relationship. As much respect, you show for your partner’s decision it leads to a healthier relationship. 

Balancing power depends on mutual respect and understanding of the partner’s needs. Both partners are to act equally caring and loving, which creates a long-term relationship.

4.3. Is Your Relationship Platonic?

Platonic means a love relation, the feel-good relation, which refers to a more intimate relationship. Like friends share a deep-rooted association and affiliation with each other. A platonic relationship refers to the bond between two people. They can be partners,  friends, family members, anything. This type of relationship stays for the long run

It does not indicate any sexual preferences but like friends who enjoy each other’s company and admire each other.

This relationship dynamic indicates a more romantic setting where you feel attracted to your partners. When you enjoy spending time with your partner, it is a non-sexual bond where two people enjoy each other’s company and stays together without having any sexual urges toward each other. 

Having a platonic relationship is one of the indications of pure love. When your relationship is dependent 0% on sexual needs and 100% on emotional intimacy, it can last as long as death. 

4.4. Are You Codependent on Your Partner?

Codependence is a relationship dynamic in which one partner rests their happiness in the hands of another partner. It’s when you depend on your partner for everything in a relationship. You get happy by making him/her happy. You watch a movie just because your partner likes it. You do things that you are not interested in or don’t like because your partner says so. That’s co-dependence. 

The person practising codependence can make them too attached to the partner. In this, the person loses self-identity. Being like this for a long time will make the person a whole new person. The partner practising this may stop taking self-care. It simply means putting others before oneself.

 Being a co-dependent partner means being so submissive that you agree to whatever your partner says. When your partner makes any mistake or does something that your partner doesn’t like, and your partner can’t stand it, You blame yourself for those things. And all the situations, mistakes, and problems are your fault according to him and according to you also. A codependent partner often blames oneself for any wrong happening. Being an extremely co-dependent partner is not at all suitable for a healthy relationship.

4.5. Are You Controlling?

It might happen in a couple where both partners are headstrong. In such cases, both may try to control the relationship, creating a power conflict. When two power-hungry people are in a relationship, there’s always a war going on. None of them is willing to bow in front of others. And this hunger for power gets mad when one of them knows that he/she is wrong and still does not surrender. It’s often messy when a power-hungry couple tries to control the other one’s actions, and things can go out of hand sometimes. You must’ve watched Friends, and I am sure you must know about Ross and Racheal, who both are controlling each other. 

 In this situation, partners regularly indulge in power fights. The relationship can go a long way if one surrenders. Sometimes both partners go their separate ways just because the power war kills the love they had during the initial phase of the relationship.

4.6. Do You Take up the Role of an Accommodating Partner?

In this relationship dynamics, the less active partner generally accommodates oneself according to the active partner. Generally, this happens with the submissive partner in the relationship. He/she goes passive in the relationship and lets the active partner decide everything. This means the passive partner just accommodates his/herself according to the active partner in that particular situation. 

Active partners can be aggressive at times, building up tension in the relationship atmosphere. The more the other partner stays passive, the more aggressive the other partner becomes. And when the passive partner decides not to accommodate according to the active partner, things get out of hand. Here, we can take the example of Chandler and Monica from Friends, where Monica can be termed as an active partner and Chandler as passive.

In such a relationship, an active partner might use a harsh tone or try to prefer one’s point of view. And it’s not a sign of a healthy relationship.

4.7. Do You Feel Disconnected While Living Together?

It takes a seat in the life of partners whose lives are on parallel tracks. They go well along with each other but hardly talk or share things. You feel like this when you come into a relationship, and it’s a while about it. And now, when you are with your partner, you feel like missing out on things, like hanging out with your friends, engaging in other activities, getting out time for your passion and all. You start feeling disconnected from the outer world beyond the relationship. Here in this situation, partners have the least emotional connection. Things seem alright, but the relationship is a bit cold.

It happens when one feels the relationship is losing its essence. Most people going through this stage consider it normal. Others may think of parting ways.

5. Relationship Dynamics – In a nutshell

Relationship dynamics are the way one perceives and behaves in relationships. Understanding relationship dynamics help us to improve our relationships. It guides how relations grow, develop, and mature.

Relationship dynamics reveal behavioural patterns that partners follow in a relationship. Understanding these dynamics can make you avoid arguments or fights.

Relationship dynamics could be of utmost help if you want to have a successful relationship.

To be precise, family dynamics are patterns of interaction between different members of the family; click here to know about it more.

To read and enjoy more such articles, Click here.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Are the Four Types of Relationship Dynamics?

Family relationships, friendships, acquaintances and romantic relationships.

Q2. What Are Normal Relationship Dynamics?

A healthy relationship requires honesty, trust, respect and open communication between partners, which requires effort and compromise on both sides. Power Imbalance Partners respect each other’s autonomy and can make their own decisions and share their decisions without fear of retaliation or retribution.

Q3. What Are the 4 Keys in A Relationship?

You need four things: time, attention, affection and sex. In no particular order.

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