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Running head: Managing relationships

Managing Relationships
Brian C. Kennedy
University of Phoenix

Jennifer Hall
23 April 2016

Managing Relationships

Early Stage of Relationship

When examining my relationship with my fiance, Haeli, I realized that
throughout the last 3 years of being together we had begun the long term relationship
maintenance stage within about one year. I met her when she was in college for Forensic
Science and she was assigned to assist me in my teaching at the High School. Throughout
our time working together, we found that we challenged each other intellectually. She
claims that my knowledge and experience as a Detective stimulate her on an intellectual
level while I find that the new perspectives she brings to what I teach make me constantly
have to up my game in regard to instruction. What started out as lunch during the work
day became dinner, then dinner cooked by me at my house. This stage was the shortterm
initial attraction, which led us to relational escalation, where we moved to being intimate
with each other.
Within this stage, a relatively unique power relationship was also being played
out. I was the instructor and she was assigned to me to assist and to learn. Haeli, though
extremely intelligent, is also extremely headstrong. This mad for a very interesting
dynamic between the two of us as we grew closer. She felt comfortable enough with me
to challenge my decision s regarding delivery and execution of instruction. I felt
threatened enough tom, at one point, feel the need to specifically spell out the subordinate
nature of her position in regard to mine. Though it took time and a few choice words on
both our parts, eventually the realization was made that the professional world needed to

Managing Relationships

be compartmentalized from the personal and that we both has some middle ground to
This escalation from stage to stage in the relationship indicated an increase in the
amount of intimacy between Haeli and I (Beebe, Beebe, Redmond, 2011). The
relationship was developed over the span of about one year starting as coworkers and
friends, leading to an intimate relationship. Had she been permanently assigned as a
coworker, I would not have dated her as I feel that would have been a violation of ethics
and professionalism. But as her assignment was a temporary one, I saw no harm in
pursuing the relationship.
Transition From Short Term to Long Term
Upon beginning the exploration stage of the relationship, I found myself reticent
to allow my past and personal baggage to come to light between us. Divorce and a record
of bad relationships made it difficult for me to share, mostly for fear of being judged as
damaged goods in some way. This inability to initiate self disclosure caused the
relationship to stall. In retrospect, I see that I was the cause of the stagnation. The turmoil
caused stagnation which kept us in limbo for several years. According to Interpersonal
Communicating: Relating to Others (2011), turmoil involves the increase in conflict, as
one or both partners tend to find faults in the other. My inability to self disclose
appropriately caused a relational deescalation to occur. Upon a sit down with her, I
realized that I needed to open up for her sake. She made it abundantly clear to me that in
order to continue as a relationship, we would both need to lay everything on the table

Managing Relationships

about us and our past. I had been through a marriage in which my past was regularly held
against me, causing my hesitation t share. As I realized that I could not let Haeli suffer the
consequences of someone elses actions with me, I repaired my disclosure issues and we
again began to move forward in building to the long term phase of the relationship. Selfdisclosure has a positive impact on liking between strangers and an even greater impact
in more developed relationships (Beebe, Beebe, Redmond, 2011).

Power and Attraction

The notion that opposites attract is a simplistic ideal to me. I believe that while
varied interests and experiences enhance each others role in then relationship,
fundamental similarities are what build the foundation for the long term success of the
coupling. Through many difficult times, a sense of us against the world may become
necessary to triumph over lifes difficult stages. Without synchronized morals and values,
this would seem impossible. A balance is to be struck between similarities and minor
differences in people to form attraction.
The role of power between two people in a relationship is ever evolving.
Dependent upon the nature of the relationship, the way power is deployed can have a
vastly good or bad effect on the relationship dynamic moving forward. In my traditional
romantic relationship, power is shared in regard to specific circumstances. Trust has been
engendered to the point that power can be shifted from one to the other with relative ease.
Though not without the occasional bump in the road, the power role has not been abused

Managing Relationships

nor relinquished inappropriately in my relationship.

Moving forward, our relationship requires open lines of dialogue regularly to be
successful. Active listening skills and effective responses are a vital key for us. I come
from a generation that predates cell phones and small handheld devices. I occasionally
have to remind Haeli, who is younger than I, to put her phone down while we have a
conversation. I need to know she is listening, not just hearing what I have to say in order
to feel that she places value on my words. I, additionally, need to continue to identify
nonverbal cues and subtle conversational cues to truly understand her.
Additionally, our relationship could use more engagement I relationship talk.
Relationship talk is talk about the nature, quality, direction, or definition of a relationship
(Beebe, Beebe, Redmond, 2011). We talk about so many things through the day, however
I cannot recall the last time we talked about the two of us and what we mean to and for
each other.
As a result of these concepts being made clearer, I believe that we can both
benefit greatly from the employment of strategies to maintain our now long term
relationship. Thougnh it sounds clich, communication truly is a key to a lasting
relationship. Enhanced communication sounds simpler to institute than it actually is.

Managing Relationships

Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2014). Interpersonal
communication: Relating to others (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.