Name _____________________ Ch 8 Exercise 1 --4 items  

Purpose: To identify and describe behaviors that contribute to dialectical tensions in relationships.


1. Identify the dialectical tensions operating in each situation below.  Explain how the situation of each person represents one opposing form of the dialectical tension and why you identified it as the kind of tension you did. The dialectical tensions are: openness-privacy; novelty-predictability; autonomy-connection. One person is on one side and the other person is on the other side.

2. Identify one or more of the 7 strategies (see book; denial, disorientation, alternation, segmentation, balance, integration, recalibration, reaffirmation) for managing dialectical tensions (connection vs. autonomy; predictability vs. novelty; openness vs. privacy) that you think would be most beneficial to the relationship. Describe how it would be carried out. 

Be sure to vary your strategy from situation to situation and describe what it means to use that strategy in the given situation. Do not use a strategy more than once.

3. In the final row block, describe dialectical tensions in a current or past relationship of your own and explain the strategies you use to deal with them.


 Dialectical Tension

 Strategy for Managing

Example: Shantil -- 21 -- and her mother have become closer over the years. They normally talk to each other daily. Shantil is now in a serious romantic relationship and spends less time talking to her mother.

 The openness-privacy dialectic is probably at work here. Shantil and her mother continue to share the intimacy of their relationship. But privacy needs about the romantic partner probably keep them more distant from each other than before.

 Shantil and her mother are likely to use "Balance" where they talk some about the boyfriend but not everything; or "Segmentation" where they maintain openness about many areas but keep certain areas off limits -- such as Shantilís relationship with her partner.

1. Rebecca is dating a friendís ex-boyfriend. She does not want to tell anyone in fear of what people will think.



2. Every Friday night is date night with your partner. This Friday you want to go out to a bar with some friends instead.



3. Your own situation that involves autonomy vs. connection:







4. Name two family members and two close friends. What is the most common dialectical tension you experience with each?





5. How are your experiences of dialectical tension different and similar across these people in your life?