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By Valerian J. Derlega (Eds.)

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Sample text

Recognition of this connotative aspect allows us to explain why behaviors that are considered intimate by one couple may not be intimate for another, or even by the same couple at a differ­ ent point in time. Furthermore, each individual has his or her own unique ways of taking in and processing behavioral information within a changing environment. The meanings of this information are con­ tinually evaluated against the accumulation of past experiences, and they affect future expectations and behaviors.

In other words, partners learn in what ways they can depend upon one another for support, resources, understanding, and action, and they agree upon future dependency. There does not seem to be a direct linear correlation between interdependence and intimacy in relationships. Ini­ tially, interdependence and intimacy do seem to increase in unison (Kelley, 1979; Kelley & Thibaut, 1978). Partners share knowledge and goals, increase their interactions with one another while limiting others, pool­ ing resources, and slowly intertwining their lives in a variety of ways.

As more time is spent together and more aspects of life are shared, the greater the possibility for the growth of interdependence (Hinde, 1981). There is not a linear relationship between time and interdependence, since many other factors have an influence over the type and degree of interdependence that develops. But time does seem to be necessary for the growth of interdependence, and the greater the amount of time, the greater the possibility for com­ plex interdependence patterns to develop.

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