Dialectical Tensions:

External Tensions: (Baxter, 1993)

Inclusion--Seclusion: desire to withdraw from others vs. interaction with others (autonomy vs. connection)

Conventionality--Uniqueness: Conforming to social norms vs. creating unique pair identity (predictability vs. novelty)

Revealment--Concealment: What to reveal about the relationship to others. (openness vs. closedness)

Pawlowski--in Comm. Quarterly, 1998: 15 Married couples (beginning,

middle, and current state of relationship)--interviewed:


31 % of identified contradictions were autonomy vs. connection

22% Predictability vs. novelty

21% Inclusion-seclusion

13% openness vs. closedness

7.5% conventionality vs. uniqueness

6% revealment vs. concealment

All three internal tensions were equally important throughout the relationship for both men and women.

(External tensions were more important for women than men in beginning and middle)