Blake Miller 3/26/13 Writing Assignment #3 Everyone experiences multiple romantic relationships throughout their life. Some are great and others are down right awful. There are many factors that determine the experience of the relationship for both parties and ultimately romantic relationships work best when people are at the same stages of relationship growth as their partner. The romantic relationship I want to talk about is my relationship with my girlfriend Alex of 4 years. We started dating when we were in high school and then continued into college.
We have only taken a break from our relationship once for about 2 months but besides that have always done long distance with semi frequent trips in between major school breaks. All of which has strengthened and formed our bond into the amazing relationship we have today. Most relationships begin and end in similar ways however some move faster than others and skip important steps that are vital for a healthy relationship and this is why Knapp’s Model of Relational Development is a good guideline for starting a relationship.
Alex and I began dating in January of my senior year, however, this is not when our relationship began according to Knapp’s Model of Relational Development. The first stage of Knapp’s Model is the initiating stage. For Alex and I this stage occurred when our younger brothers became friends and her family invited my family over for dinner. It was my first time officially meeting her even though I knew who she was from school.
Throughout the dinner the two of us talked and did dishes together but acted as friends getting to know each other. However, my interest in her had begun but she had a different boyfriend at the time. The next stage of Knapp’s Model is the experimenting stage. “…the process of experimenting is trying to discover the unknown” (BB2 pg. 5). This is the stage where people try to learn about the other and find some common interests or hobbies. For Alex and I this was sports and our brothers.
Many times I got to know Alex best before we began dating when we would attend our brothers soccer and basketball games and we would sit and talk about a variety of different topics. After the experimenting stage comes the intensifying stage. The intensifying stage is the point in a developing relationship where two individuals start to share more personal and intimate information about themselves. For our relationship it was when Alex and I went on our first date.
Alex and I spent our first date consisted of me picking her up from her house and bringing her to my house to have popcorn and watch Pirates of the Caribbean, the film she wanted to watch which I later found out was because she loves Orlando Bloom. It was the first time we spent time alone talking more intimately and having more physical contact like snuggling on the couch. This stage lasted for a few weeks and included our first kiss, which was outside on a bench after school. Naturally the next stage is the integration stage. The relationship has now reached a point where the two individuals personalities almost seem to fuse or coalesce…” (BB2 pg. 8). This stage occurred for us when I asked Alex to be my girlfriend on January 6th 2009 at a restaurant called Little Shin Shin. That day will forever be a memorable day for me and began the stage of integration that has lasted for years. The final stage, the bonding stage is more of a marital and legal binding stage and whether that is the final plan for Alex and I is still to be determined.
My relationship with Alex has definitely followed Knapp’s Model of Relational Development. It has been very easy for me to reflect back and think of various interactions and moments that link exactly to the different definitions of the various stages. I believe that Knapp’s Model is accurate and an effective way to develop and create a stable, healthy and happy romantic relationship with another individual. Sources 1. Knapp, M. L. , & Vangelisti, A. L. (2009). Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships (6th ed. , pp. 34-42). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.