How can we get the most out of our close relationships? Research in the area of personal relationships continues to grow, but most prior work has emphasized how to overcome negative aspects. This volume demonstrates that a good relationship is more than simply the absence of a bad relationship, and that establishing and maintaining optimal relationships entails enacting a set of processes that are distinct from merely avoiding negative or harmful behaviors. Drawing on recent relationship science to explore issues such as intimacy, attachment, passion, sacrifice, and compassionate goals, the essays in this volume emphasize the positive features that allow relationships to flourish. In doing so, they integrate several theoretical perspectives, concepts, and mechanisms that produce optimal relationships. The volume also includes a section on intensive and abbreviated interventions that have been empirically validated to be effective in promoting the positive features of close relationships.
C. Raymond Knee is Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Education in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston. Harry T. Reis is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester, New York.
Part I. Major Theoretical Perspectives: 1. Promoting intimacy: strategies suggested by the appetitive side Harry T. Reis, David C. de Jong, Karisa Y. Lee, Stephanie D. O'Keefe and Brett J. Peters; 2. Optimal relationships as mutual fulfillment of self-determination theory's basic psychological needs C. Raymond Knee, Benjamin W. Hadden and Zachary Baker; 3. Attachment theory as a framework for the promotion of optimal relationships Mario Mikulincer and Phillip R. Shaver; 4. The self-expansion model and optimal relationship development Xiaomeng Xu, Gary Lewandowski, Jr and Arthur Aron; Part II. Concepts and Mechanisms: 5. Capitalization: the good news about close relationships Shelly L. Gable and Jason F. Anderson; 6. The positive implications of sex for relationships Amy Muise, James J. Kim, James K. McNulty and Emily A. Impett; 7. The power of diagnostic situations: how support and conflict can foster growth and security Nickola C. Overall, Yuthika U. Girme and Jeffry A. Simpson; 8. The role of passion in optimal relationships Robert J. Vallerand and Noemie Carbonneau; 9. The dyadic nature of ideal and partner perceptions in romantic relationships Lorne Campbell and Sarah Moroz; 10. For it is in giving that we receive: the benefits of sacrifice in relationships Lisa C. Day and Emily A. Impett; 11. For better or worse: compassionate goals create good relationships in good times and bad Jennifer Crocker and Amy Canevello; 12. Synchrony in positive social relationships Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk; Part III. Effective Interventions: 13. Effective interventions for optimal relationships Justin A. Lavner and Thomas N. Bradbury; 14. Forgiveness interventions for optimal close relationships: problems and prospects Frank D. Fincham, Ross May and Steven R. H. Beach; 15. Brief interventions to strengthen relationships and prevent dissolution Jaci L. Rolffs and Ronald D. Rogge.