All relationships have a similar framework in how they develop and end. Professor Mark Knapp studied this pattern and outlined ten stages that. Knapp, M. L., & Vangelisti, A. L. (). Interpersonal In this course, we will work to develop a theoretical understanding of the human communication process. One of the most popular models for understanding relationship development is Mark Knapp's Relational Stages Model. Knapp's model works well to describe.
Coming Apart Phase 6. Differentiating Stage As time goes on and the years go by, the two of you begin to see one another more as individuals than as a couple. This happens as the demands and pressures of life pull you in different directions and create stress and resentments.
The bubble of romance and infatuation has burst or is not longer impenetrable, and conflicts become more regular.
If you are in the differentiating stage. It's very difficult to escape this stage, especially if you're a busy couple with children and career demands. Differing needs and pressures compel you to take out your stresses on one another and protect your turf. It's imperative for the health of your relationship that you take action to heal the rifts and address the triggers for conflict. This is a great time to find a licensed relationship counselor to help you get back on track and save your relationship.
10 Stages Of A Relationship
Circumscribing Stage At this stage, you begin to pull apart even more. You set protective boundaries for yourself, communication devolves and becomes less and less intimate. You may have your own lives, separate friends and activities, and separate spaces in your home. Arguments push you further apart, and you may avoid arguments because they are so painful, even though the problem or issue stills exists between you. If you are in the circumscribing stage. This is a very painful and lonely time in a relationship.
The couple has pulled so far apart they have lost their original intimate connection and respect for one another. If you want to save your relationship, it is essential you work together with a counselor to heal the damage and define a new way of relating and reconnecting. You both will need to move past defensiveness, blaming, and resentments in order to build a stronger connection.
If one of you is unwilling, there isn't much hope for saving the relationship. Stagnation Stage When your relationship has stagnated, you've reached the point where separation is virtually complete.
However, the relationship persists, for reasons of convenience or necessity. You may feel apathetic and disengaged, but at this point, you don't see a compelling reason to end the relationship. Passive-aggressive behavior and the demand-withdrawal conflict pattern, which we discussed in Chapter 6 "Interpersonal Communication Processes"may occur more frequently in this stage. Once the increase in boundaries and decrease in communication becomes a pattern, the relationship further deteriorates toward stagnation.
Stagnating During the stagnating stage Relational interaction stage where the relationship may come to a standstill, as individuals wait for the relationship to end. Outward communication may be avoided, but internal communication may be frequent. Avoiding Moving to the avoiding stage Relational interaction stage where people signal that they want to close down the lines of communication. In a parent-child relationship, where the child is still dependent on the parent, or in a roommate situation, where a lease agreement prevents leaving, people may engage in cognitive dissociation, which means they mentally shut down and ignore the other person even though they are still physically copresent.
Terminating The terminating stage Relational interaction stage where a relationship ends.
Knapp's relational development model
Termination can result from outside circumstances such as geographic separation or internal factors such as changing values or personalities that lead to a weakening of the bond. Termination exchanges involve some typical communicative elements and may begin with a summary message that recaps the relationship and provides a reason for the termination e.
The summary message may be followed by a distance message that further communicates the relational drift that has occurred e. You can use this time to explore your options and figure out if you want to go to college too or not.
Finally, there is often a message regarding the possibility for future communication in the relationship e. Pearson,46— These ten stages of relational development provide insight into the complicated processes that affect relational formation and deterioration. We also make decisions about our relationships by weighing costs and rewards. Social Exchange Theory Social exchange theory Theory that states we weigh the costs and rewards in our relationships.
Vangelisti and Daniel Perlman Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,38— Rewards are outcomes that we get from a relationship that benefit us in some way, while costs range from granting favors to providing emotional support. When we do not receive the outcomes or rewards that we think we deserve, then we may negatively evaluate the relationship, or at least a given exchange or moment in the relationship, and view ourselves as being underbenefited.
In an equitable relationship, costs and rewards are balanced, which usually leads to a positive evaluation of the relationship and satisfaction. Commitment and interdependence are important interpersonal and psychological dimensions of a relationship that relate to social exchange theory. Cambridge University Press, We can be cautioned, though, to not view social exchange theory as a tit-for-tat accounting of costs and rewards. We also have communal relationships, in which members engage in a relationship for mutual benefit and do not expect returns on investments such as favors or good deeds.
As the dynamics in a relationship change, we may engage communally without even being aware of it, just by simply enjoying the relationship.
It has been suggested that we become more aware of the costs and rewards balance when a relationship is going through conflict. Overall, relationships are more likely to succeed when there is satisfaction and commitment, meaning that we are pleased in a relationship intrinsically or by the rewards we receive.
Outwardly, the couple appears normal. At this stage, attempts can be made to discuss the relationship and return it to a positive state. Stagnating During the stagnating stage, the individuals avoid discussing the relationship because they think they know what the other will say. Others begin to take notice that something is wrong.
Avoiding The pair begins to physically separate themselves during the avoiding stage. The two individuals try to reduce the opportunities for discussion. Terminating This is the final stage of the relationship. Termination may come naturally, such as at the end of the semester when roommates move out, or arbitrarily, through divorce. Termination of the relationship can occur positively or negatively. In other words, given our sociological location, there are some people we see a lot of and others we never meet.
Preinteraction Cues Information we gain about people before we even interact with them leads us to exclude or include individuals with whom we wish to have a relationship. For instance, the appearance of some individuals will cause you to avoid or approach them.