Interpersonal Communication May 19, 2011 Relationship Analysis When this assignment was given out, I instantly knew exactly what relationship I wanted to analyze: my ex-boyfriend’s and my relationship. It might sound like an odd relationship to choose, seeing as he is an ex, and it might not sound like a good starting point, but let me first say he is one of my best friends right now. Our relationship began like very few relationships do, on Facebook.
In June of 2009, after I had been accepted into a Fall 2009 freshman class, a boy said hello in a message and a 4-page paper could not even touch the surface of our relationship in those past 2 years, but I will do my best to explain as much as possible. Over the next few months, the relationship evolved from Facebook messages, to the live chat, until he finally asked me for my number and the texting began. Then one summer day, my phone rang, and we had our first telephone conversation, although sparked due to a drunken impulse from the mystery man on the other end.
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Over the span of a few months, I learned so much about this future classmate of mine, from his music taste, to his life in Southern California, and much more. I’m not sure if I’m proud or not of how well versed I am in the subject of Computer Mediated Communication. However, no matter how I feel about our introduction and first spoken words, I would certainly say since the day I got that first Facebook message, the relationship with this boy has been nothing less than interesting. Fast forward to October 2009, the boy was asking me to be his girlfriend and I was ecstatic.
We had been dating for a short few weeks and finally wanted to make things official. Clearly we had moved from Facebook to Face-to-face communication and things had worked out well. We had so much fun together. He is one of the most energetic people I know, always entertaining his friends around him and even complete strangers. However, his love for the center of attention wasn’t always a good thing. Because he was the younger of two kids, with an older sister of three years, he had always been the center of his parents’ attention, and as his high school’s star quarterback, also the center of everyone’s attention at school as well.
All this attention gave him the ego the size of a mountain, and the volume to match. Let’s just say as big as his head was, his listening skills were the exact opposite, lacking in size. At first, this wasn’t an issue to me; in fact I didn’t really notice it. I was just infatuated with this boy who was equally infatuated with me, or so I thought. As time went on though, I began to realize how little this boy knew about me, because he was always talking about himself. And if he wasn’t talking about himself, he was watching sports, or on his phone, or trying to get someone’s attention.
He was always wanting to do something, and that was the big difference between us. When I was younger, I had always been the center of attention; a very hyper child, always loved to meet new people, but I had a hard time making friends at my small private school and after a while, I became so secluded that I lost any motivation to make friends. It wasn’t until about my junior year of high school where I became better at reaching out and making friends, and by senior year I was nearly back to my normal self.
However, part of me was still uncomfortable of being my complete self around others, so I really only acted entirely “me” around my family and closest friends. So, this relationship I started with the boy was not the healthiest idea because of how loud and outgoing he was, which in turn, forced me to become somewhat quiet again. Anyways, to shorten things down, we ended up breaking up 4 months later, a week before Valentine’s Day after a nasty fight. The conflict between us had been building up for a while. We had gone through several stages of being happy, then mad, then bored, then happy again.
If I was uncomfortable with PDA, he was mad at me for not always telling him how I felt. If he thought I was ignoring him, I was mad about his great relationship with his ex-girlfriend. I had issues with being intimate, especially PDA because I had never had a boyfriend, let alone held a boy’s hand in public. He is the exact opposite: loves to give and receive hugs, will hold his (girl) best friend’s hand in public, gives people kisses on the cheek, and the list goes on. My discomfort with intimacy and his unwillingness to understand that proved very problematic and caused a lot of strain on our relationship.
According to an article by Carolyn Bernie (2010), “…the presence of intimacy (but not sexual intimacy) was associated with greater perceived relationship quality…”(Vol. 71, pg 45). Now that I am more comfortable with being intimate, not necessarily sexually intimate, but doing things like holding hands, and kissing, and more, I realize how important it can be to a relationship, especially to someone who is a naturally intimate person. However, I did not realize this until long after so back and forth the arguing went until we reached the breaking point and I decided to end it.
Our fight only lasted a few weeks though, as both of us broke down saying we missed each other, and ended up dating again a month later. After more arguing, a jealous girl lying about him cheating on me, and the buildup of freshman year stress, we broke up again a few weeks before summer. This fight again only lasted a short time before we made up, but only to become friends. Over the summer we talked but I was very hesitant and he was over-eager to get me back. This then brings us to the beginning of sophomore year, when we got back together, again.
From the start we made sure to talk about a lot of things because one reason we had issues in the first place was the lack of communication. The had begun to work on his listening skills because he know that as a part of maturing and being in a healthy relationship, he would need to not only become a better listener, but also work on his character. Things between us were better than ever. We had improved so many things since the year before: our communication skills, listening skills, and because we had spent so much time together, we started to be able to read each other’s emotions, also known as nonverbal communication.
I could tell what kind of mood he was in by reading his facial emotions, whether he was actually in a good mood or just telling me he was but actually was in a bad mood. For me, this was a positive, but it just annoyed him because for the most part I could almost always tell when he was lying to me. Although things were going great, the stress of sophomore year got to both of us and I wasn’t able to balance a boyfriend and stay on top of my homework, so he would not be a priority. When he did become a priority, my schoolwork would suffer.
Eventually, things built up again so much that it ended in a very bad fight, in which each of us said a lot of things we didn’t mean. This was right at the beginning of December, before the end of the semester, so I became focused on school for the last few weeks and made sure I ended up with good grade. After we broke up, we didn’t talk for several weeks, and since it was right before break, I went home and didn’t talk to him for another large amount of time. However, in accordance with our past break ups, once I cam back for Interterm in January, we talked over a lot of things and became friends gain, agreeing that being together as boyfriend and girlfriend doesn’t work out for us and maybe in the future, the fairly distant, after college, future, there might be a chance of us getting back together, but not now. My mom bought me a book for Christmas, called “The 5 Love Languages,” and I wish I had started reading it sooner than a few weeks ago. The book has so much insight into how relationships can succeed as long as both people in the relationship make an effort to learn the love language of the other person. A love language is essentially the way you give and receive love.
The book, written by author and relationship counselor, Gary Chapman, goes over the 5 languages each of us gives or receives love: gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time. Because the boy and I are back on good terms as really good friends, we talk about everything, and so I told him about the book, and the online quiz anyone to take that helps you find your love language (5lovelanguages. com). It was no surprise to me when I found out my top two love languages, tied in fact, were acts of service and quality time, and his was physical touch.
That had been one of our main conflicts in our relationship, I was not “physical” enough for him, and he was always late and forgetting things, denying me the quality time and acts of service that were valuable to me. In the quiz (cited below), gives results based on a 30-question quiz. Questions are formatted to determine your preference between two statements, such as “I live to receive notes of affirmation/I like to be hugged,” etc. The results rank your love language preference in a points system: most points = most effective love language.
At this point in our relationship, we’re just friends. We hang out all the time, at least once a week. Did I mention he left Chapman this semester, to go home to the Santa Clarita Valley area, due to family issues? And yet we still see each other vey often. We certainly still have our share of fights, or bickering as many of our friends call it. I get annoyed because he is always late to something, or because he was overreacting to some stupid issue. He gets annoyed with me when I don’t eat a good breakfast before going to class, or because I don’t give him enough hugs.
Whatever it is, at least in the past four months, we have gotten over the fight fairly quickly and apologized to one another. Granted, each of us is way too stubborn all the time so at some point, one of us has to crack, but eventually it happens. And this, is the story of the most complicated relationship I have ever witnessed, been in, and probably will ever see. The end. References Adler, R. B. , Rosenfeld, L. B. , Proctor II, R. F. (2010). Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Birnie, C.
J. (2010). The Nature and Function of Intimacy in Romantic Sexual Relationships. Dissertation Abstracts International, B: Sciences and Engineering, 71. Retrieved from http://csaweb115v. csa. com. libproxy. chapman. edu/ids70/view_record. php? id=4;recnum=3;log=from_res;SID=8igijk1v6lvf1eutonqb4di9o5;mark_id=search%3A4%3A38%2C0%2C25 Chapman, G. (2009) The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing. http://www. 5lovelanguages. com/assessments/love/ Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. Retrieved May 8, 2011.