Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interpersonal Relationships ABCs

In some previous posts (like this one), I discussed my support for open relationships. At those times I skipped a good habit that I have been doing, which is starting with the basics before getting into the details. This entry can be considered as a late introduction into the basics to my personal views about relationships. As obviously expected all views expressed may not apply to everybody, and although I'll try my best to establish universal statements, those statements may not apply to all...

The first and most important statement, I believe, is that interpersonal relationships are "opt in". Relationships require consent. You cannot force someone to be in a relationship with you. This leads us to the second important realization, which is that interpersonal relationships are established through mutual agreement. Another important realization is that relationships are not necessarily permanent. This simply means that consent is not only required to start a relationship, but consent is also required for the continuity of the relationship. So if at a later point of time one does not want to be in a relationship, the relationship would be forfeited.

After realizing that no person can be coerced into a relationship, we come to understand the contract-based nature of relationships. For two people to be in a relationship, they have to both agree to be in a relationship. If any of the parties of a relationship don't agree to have a relationship, then that relationship is forfeited. Mutual agreement is the answer to the "how". How can two people be in a relationship, the answer is: By mutual agreement.

Now that we know "how" a relationship can be established, the question that begs itself is the "why". Since relationships are optional, why would someone choose to be part of a relationship. The answer to this question can be complex, but one word suffices: Benefit! Any relationship needs a motive, a motive can be a simple "I want someone to chat with...", or maybe just sex. Sometimes this motive can be a more complex emotional need like someone who wants love, or another who needs someone to rock their world! At other times, the motive is less direct, like wanting to establish a family... This leads us to the third conclusion which is: Whatever the motive is, Relationships need a motive.

Going back to the previous statement, relationships need mutual agreement, for this reason if one party has a motive to establish a relationship, but the other does not, then no relationship would happen. This leads us to the fourth conclusion: Relationships need mutual interest. So if we ask "why" relationships happen, the answer would be: Mutual interest!

This last conclusion is a really important conclusion. Without mutual interest there is no basis to establish a relationship. This means two things: First, unbalanced relationships are doomed to end. That's to say, a relationship where one partner gives too much, while the other contributes nothing to that relationship, that relationship would be on the self-destruction sequence. No-one is ready to take another's crap forever for free. It's that simple. Second, we can conclude that relationships need nourishment. It's cause-and-effect: Relationships survive upon mutual interest. Once one of the partners loses interest, that relationship will cease to exist!

An important factor in relationships, I believe, is communication. Even at the most basic step of initializing a relationship, communication plays an important part. How else than communication can two people reach mutual agreement?! But since relationships are not necessarily permanent, mutual agreement should be reassured at several points in the time-line of an ongoing relationship. The word "Relationship" means a bond, and communication is the tool that binds.

At this point I just want to compile a list of the statements and conclusions I have discussed about relationships that would sum all up:
  1. Interpersonal relationships are opt-in. (ie. consent is required)
  2. Interpersonal relationships can be opt-out. (ie. are not necessarily permanent)
  3. Relationships are established through mutual agreement.
  4. Relationships need a motive.
  5. Relationships need mutual interest.
  6. Unbalanced and\or abandoned relationships would deteriorate.
  7. Communication is a key element for the continuity of a relationship.


The Observer said...

Good points!

You are continuing with this right? Cause you haven't explained your support for open relationships yet.

Tala said...

wow that post was a year ago! these are good memories =D

well, what you wrote down here sounds reasonable and structured, but i think something is missing, i dont think or i just dont see relationships falling under contractism, i think contractism dulls a relationship. its not one on one thing,, its more understanding the other. its about understanding and liking and actually loving how the other looks at life, yes it icludes common interest not as 1 2 3, i dont know if i can explain myself well on this, but its harmony more than contractism. when you get there you dont think too much before giving, in a relationship you dont give for a cause. its about connecting with people, not necessarily a partner is itself wonderful.

No_Angel said...

Hmm ok this is relationship taken out of context. relationship is an ideal that stems from the cultural and religious context.
So taken in that context the only thing that is required and universal out of your points would be the "motive" which is also culturally defined (the women is a failure unless she is married, so she gets married to not be a failure).

these might be good points to a healthy relationship but in general there is no absolute truth in this field, its an entity that defies definition.
You just have to deal with it individually since you are dealing with an individual. personality types differ so drastically in their needs in a relationship that is hard to establish a universal theme without addressing personality types and splitting up the universality of it accordingly.
With motive being the only universal theme :D

now if u removed the universal nature of the post then sure, now the other thing is that you said its your personal view.
to be taken seriously on a personal view you have to prove competency...
So how long was your longest serious relationship and of what nature was it.

Devil's Mind said...

Sure observer... These are basics which I will later use to explain my position. So if you find those arguments convincing, there should be no problem to use them in later contexts. So if you find any of the basics to be questionable, share your views with us.

No Angel, I consider the first two statements about relationships to be universal - that is all relationships require consent, are opt-in, and can be opt-out.

The rest of the statements (3 till 7) discuss healthy relationships and what they need.

Everything in this post has been verified through my own personal experience. My longest relationship is 7 years old (with guy buddies), and is spotless (no problems whatsoever)!!

Dear Tala, many relationships have been destroyed by mono-sided support. When a person feels unjustice, they would rebel. This is a common trend. It might not be a universal truth, but its a reasonable expectation. A person can handle unjustice for a while, but not forever.

No_Angel said...

hmm ok when you expand the relationship concept to friendship and platonic relationship then yes the first two become primal. Although you were talking about open relationships which in my mind stems from monogamous relationship which is defined by having a physical sexual interaction Soooo.... that 7 yr one doesn't qualify

in the cultural context of a mono relationship, universally it has been that one side has little control over their destiny in that relationship. they have been conditioned to not rebel and accept it with all of its faults so in this case the opt-in is taken out (others decide for them what relationship they can hold) and the opt-out (either done through a religious block or social ostrasization ) with motive being the main aspect for the weaker of the two sides which is to conform :D

i know you don't enjoy my take on ur topics, but either way try to ....

Devil's Mind said...

Okay, you are right, non-consensual relationships can exist. Nothing I say here applies to non-consensual relationships... So lets just say that points 1 and 2 are preconditions (assumptions) in my formulated hypothesis about relationships.

The concept of relationships that I am describing includes the concept of friendship. In fact, friendship is the primary model that I use for relationships. As an open-relationist I am skeptic about other forms of relationships.

Relationships are not only about sex. Sex is one of many motives for relationships, and only one of many forms of interaction between people....

Open relationships are NOT about the number of people you are connected to. For example, polygamous marriages are a form of closed relationships. Also, the concept of open-relationships can apply to friendships. For example, if two friends agree on a pact of "friendship forever" that makes their relationship follow the closed model.

No_Angel said...

hehe i guess my question was in place regarding the longest, since yes i used to think that way but experiences proved to be too brutal to that idea. especially when there is a shift from friendship --> closed relationship --> friendship you notice that they are two different worlds that don't really meet.

but i'll wait for the rest of it for now and would jump to conclusion more than i already did