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Communication in Personal Relationships

Marianne Dainton
Associate Professor, Communication
B.A., Villanova University
M.A., Ph.D., Ohio State University.

Dr. Dainton studies communication patterns in personal relationships. Her research focuses on relationship maintenance in different couple types such as marriage, dating relationships, and long-distance relationships. She is the co-editor of the book “Maintaining Relationships through Communication: Relational, Cultural, and Structural Variations,” published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Dr. Dainton says there are several characteristics or factors that are indicative of good communication between partners. They are:

Positivity: being upbeat, cheerful, polite to each other.

Openness: self-disclosure, talking about private thoughts and feelings.

Assurances: reassuring partner of your love and commitment, also reassuring partner that you care about him/herself.

Networks: relying on common family and friends.
Tasks: negotiating and sharing responsibilities (house work, child care, etc).

Conflict Management: apologizing when wrong, seeking compromise, listening to other's point of view.

Advice: serve as a "sounding board" for the partner, providing support.

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