Relational Dialectics Theory



COM 105
Relational Dialectics Theory
11/24/03


Relational Dialectics suggests that relational life is always in process. People in relationships continually feel the pull-push of conflicting desires. Basically, as people communicate in relationships, they attempt to reconcile conflicting desires, but they never eliminate their needs for both of the opposing pairs. There are gender and culture specific aspects of Relational Dialectics and different consequences of these elements.


According to me, Gender is something that is socially constructed. Due to this, communication between men and women are very different. There are different masculine and feminine responses to several relational tugs and pulls. Men feel that it is crucial to be respected and it’s important to preserve their independence- they are more concerned with status, while women feel that it is more important to be liked and they are always seeking a human connection. Miscommunication is caused due to this and often times that leads to conflicts. There are differences in how men and women open up to people. Women tend to be involved more in private talks than men and they ask more questions than men.


These differences in both men and women cause disappointments. They face dialectical difficulties in their relationship. Gender plays an important role in relational struggles such as connectedness-separateness, openness- closedness and certainty-uncertainty. But when we involve the community then we have three more dialectics; inclusion-seclusion, conventionality-uniqueness and revelation and concealment.


Culture plays a very important role in both the internal and external dialectics. For two people dating from two different cultures, it will be more difficult to cope up with the differences in their cultures. They might not open up to each other because one might get embarrassed or ashamed of one’s own cultural and social expectations. Though they might love each other there will be some cultural aspects of themselves or their family that they will not reveal to one another for the fear of how the other partner might react or deal with the situation. This usually leads to a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunication which leads to the failure of most cross-cultural relationships. Additionally, few strict cultures don’t encourage cross-cultural relationships. They even go to the extent of deciding what kind of man a girl should choose for herself. Because of this strain from the community people who are in these kinds of relationships usually don’t open up to their family and cousins about their relationships. But eventually you give up on what society thinks about you, and decide to stay with the person whom you care about.


To conclude, I would give an example from my own personal life. When I came new to this college and to USA, I was quite nervous of living in a totally new environment. I didn’t talk a lot to my residents my first week. In the same way, my residents never had International Students in their school; they hesitated to start a conversation with me. But time passed by I made some of my best friends here in college. American Culture being very seductive, it becomes a lot easier to learn and get used to it. In the same way, I believe that one has to get sensitive in understanding the differences in gender and cultures. This way the consequences of these elements will be positive.