Interpersonal Communication in Love Relationships: Topics & Influences

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  • 00:00 Interpersonal…
  • 00:56 Communication Needs of…
  • 2:45 Communicating Intimacy
  • 5:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Communication is important throughout life, but nowhere is this more true than in a romantic relationship. In this lesson, we will look at the unique communication needs and expectations that come along with being in love.

Interpersonal Communication and Love

I believe it was Mark Twain who wrote that, 'the frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter.' Why don't people talk like that anymore? Also… what did he mean? According to Twain, writers of love letters can feel safe, knowing that their work will never be read by strangers. You see, we communicate with all sorts of people throughout our lives and we communicate in various ways. But in terms of interpersonal communication, the direct exchange of information between people, no communication matters as much as that between people in love. Romantic relationships are sustained by communication, which means they have their own unique needs. Needs that can make or break relationships. After all, it was also Mark Twain who wrote that, 'Love is madness.'

Communication Needs of Relationships

You have many friends in your life and probably several acquaintances, but only one romantic partner at a time. At least, I hope so. Romantic relationships fill a very unique role in our lives and so they come with unique communication needs. Now, before we get any further, let's talk about what this communication looks like. There are two primary forms of interpersonal communication, both of which are important to sustaining a relationship. First is verbal communication, the sharing of information through spoken words. Talking, sharing secrets, discussing emotions, being verbally sympathetic or supportive. These are all forms of verbal communication needed in a romantic relationship. The other form is nonverbal communication, information communicated without speaking. Holding hands in public, smiling or laughing at a joke, physical closeness. These clearly communicate something about personal feelings and ideas, but do so without speaking. Over half of our daily communication is nonverbal, so this is pretty important in a relationship. So, those are the types of communication. Now, what's the point? Communication plays a specific role in all relationships and, in a romantic relationship the main focus is maintaining intimacy, or a deep level of emotional closeness. Intimacy implies complete trust, honesty, and safety. As human beings, we naturally crave intimacy on various levels. We have some degree of emotional intimacy with family and friends, but absolute intimacy with romantic partners. Relationships fulfill our basic needs for intimacy, so this is the ultimate purpose of communication, maintaining the trust and empathy to keep a relationship going.

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