There are six well defined stages in interpersonal relationships, including: Contact: the initial stage of the relationship that includes a perceptual stage where the individuals simply become aware of each other, and an interactional stage that includes the exchange of basic information and where each individual decides if a relationship is worth pursuing.
Involvement: increased contact which allows the individuals to learn more about each other, a sense of being connected begins to develop and the individuals begin to spend more time together doing things that suggest an intensification of the relationship.
Intimacy: Each individual feels a sense of commitment to the other and some type of defined relationship, usually divided into two stages—the interpersonal commitment which is a private commitment and the social bonding which is more public. Both individuals identify individually as part of a unit or pair, and the public also identifies them as such.
Deterioration: the weakening of the bonds of intimacy due to dissatisfaction that ultimately leads to withdrawal from contact, decreasing self-disclosure and increased deception. This stage may or may not include arguing and quarreling.
Repair: one or both individuals make attempts to analyze what is wrong and try to find ways to solve the problems by changing own behaviors or changing the expectations of the other’s behaviors. The goal of this stage is a return to the intimacy stage. This stage may be skipped.
Dissolution: completely severing the bonds that held the relationship together in the intimacy stage.
Watch the 2006 movie “The Break-up.” Watch for signs and examples of the six stages of a relationship. Keep in mind that the initial stages may be represented in incidents from the past that are being remembered or retold by the characters.
Write a short, 1 1/2 to 2 page, double spaced essay addressing all six of the stages of interpersonal relationships.
Remember that although the above components are being demonstrated and studied with a romantic relationship in this particular move, the same processes occur in other types of relationships (friendships, work relationships, etc.) as well.