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Gendered Close Relationships

Few of the relationships formed between individuals become personal in the end. The creation and sustainability of personal relationships and intimacy rely on communication. The term personal relationship defines those relationships where the people in the relationships depend on one another for a variety of things. With personal relationships, it is not easy to replace the other person in the relationship as a deep connection is established between the two people in the relationship. Researchers suggest that dissimilarity in feminine and masculine orientations, in one way or another, determine male and female approaches to a relationship. Texts on intimacy and romantic relationships suggest that heterosexual dating conforms to initiation of a relationship by men: as is the case for my current relationship. Arnold and I met two years ago during spring break, and though we were friends during the first few months, our friendship has developed into a more intimate and romantic relationship over the years. For the few years we have been together, Arnold and I have been closely dependent on each other for almost everything: ranging from material support to emotional affection. Whereas Arnold is more dynamic, spontaneous and a tad too sexual, I, one the other hand, am more sensible and believe that friendship is key to making the relationship work. It is obvious that our relationship is romantic as we both express deep emotional desires to connect with each other at all times. Our relationship, as a result, resembles a form of close-friend relationship but with an additional sexual element.

This paper examines Gendered close relationships as a conceptual foundation in human relations. The paper observes and analyzes gendered interaction patterns of communication in my current romantic relationship, showing how these patterns reflect the text on gendered lives.

Gendered Patterns

The gendered patterns identified in the texts concerning intimate relationships draw attention to expression of affection, needs for autonomy and connections, power, as well as responsibility for the maintenance of a relationship. Researchers argue that the distinctive concerns and mannerisms brought by masculine and feminine socialization influence the patterns of romantic relationships.

Expression of Affection

Research suggests that the masculine modes of affection differ from feminine modes of affection in various ways. Whereas, the mode of affection in men is primarily instrumental and activity focused, women are more emotionally expressive, and their mode of affection is talk focused. These patterns are similar to the relationship between me and my boyfriend Arnold. I personally feel that expressing my emotions enriches my relationship with my boyfriend but Arnold finds the idea of expressing his emotions somewhat objectionable. The only time he will express his feelings when a problem arises at we at logger heads with each other. I prefer expressing how I fell when if feel it as a way of showing my partner that I care for him. On the other hand, Arnold fancies showering me with gifts and doing things for me as a way of showing me that he still cares about me. Further research on intimate relationships also suggests that both men and women appreciate partners who are eager to engage in intimate confessions: those who are emotionally responsive, over and above being sensitive and compassionate. This is a true reflection of my relationship with Arnold because, much as he chooses not to express his emotions at all times, I welcome his intimate self-disclosures at all times. I feel that this is the best way to affirm his feeling towards me, and I know that he appreciates when I do the same.

Autonomy and Connections

According to the texts, romantic relationships display both connection and autonomy in varying degrees. Further studies illustrate that the degree of which an individual looks for connection and autonomy mainly depends on the gender socialization of the person. Whereas, men want more autonomy and less connection, women demand more connection and less autonomy. This then brings about friction in a relationship with either party choosing to withdraw from the relationship. In terms of autonomy and connection, my relationship with Arnold displays similar patterns as that illustrated in the books. This is due to the notable independent character of my partner. Even as, I prefer to connect emotionally with Arnold, he tends to shun extreme attachment and prefers to have a sense of freedom in the relationship. For this reason, we tend to disagree on what we should and should not do together, and whether or not we need to give each other some privacy.

Gendered Power

Researchers describe gendered power in a relationship as the ability of individuals to control various aspects of a relationship as well as the relationship itself. Studies claim that the distribution of labor in romantic relationships, more often than not, reflects the individual who is in power in the relationship. Studies also suggest that men have more power in a relationship than the women: this is because common culture supports that men are the breadwinners and, therefore, make more money than women. However, this is not the same in my relationship with Arnold; both of us work for a living which means that we both share equal labor distributions. Additionally, none of us can claim power over the other because we share responsibility for every aspect in the relationship including material possessions. Therefore, our behavior patterns in the context of gendered power differ from what the textbooks edify.

Gendered Responsibility

Studies on gendered close relationships show that in a heterosexual relationship, a woman automatically assumes the principal responsibility for a romantic relationship. However, it is almost impossible for one person to meet the responsibilities of a relationship alone. Therefore, researchers recommend that for both individuals in a relationship to assume responsibility for the relationship is they wish to attain satisfaction. True to what the texts teach about gendered responsibility, Arnold and I prefer to assume equal responsibility of our relationship has in turn led to high levels of satisfaction in the relationship. This is because of the obvious fact that, having either one of us solely taking responsibility for the relationship causes a burden and conflict in the relationship.


Based on the observations of my relationship with Arnold, I can confidently conclude that the patterns of interactions between me and my partner are similar to what is described in the books about Gendered close relationships. The relationship displays similar patterns in behavior with that of the texts in terms of responsibility, emotional expressions as well as self autonomy. However, the power dynamics in our relationship differs from what the books say about the issue. This, therefore, proves that distinctions in masculine and feminine orientations to romantic relationships correspond to male and female viewpoints of relationships.

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