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This scale measures a few examples of your own relationship needs and motives. Each experience involves some degree of relating to others. Of a possible 50 point total on this listing, the higher your score, the greater your admitted need for a variety of social relationships. Do you value all items equally? Or is there a pattern distinguishing your ratings of some items? For example, popularity, admiration and fame, and even being remembered after death (items 1, 2, 9 and 10) are valued in our culture, where individual accomplishment and recognition are prized -- but they do not guarantee closeness. In contrast, you might personally prefer feeling close to just a few others in your life (items 4, 5 and 6 ) and feel content to be otherwise anonymous. And psychologists confirm that it is real closeness to others -- not fame or celebrity -- that gives us what we need to survive and thrive.

Alone Together On the Web

Shy people, lacking the skills or comfort level to establish social relationships, run the risk of depriving themselves of the rewards as well as the risks of closeness. But missing out on a polite conversation with a store cashier is quite different from missing an opportunity for close friendship or romance. The consequences of missing out are different because the degrees of closeness are different to begin with. Having a bad exchange with your waiter, for example, can ruin your evening, but having a bad love affair can ruin your least for a while!

There is an irony in offering a Web seminar series on close relationships: even if you have a friend or partner peering over your shoulder, you usually operate your computer alone. Can you really learn about intimacy by studying on your own? Isn't this a bit like going to couples therapy by yourself?

Well, no -- for three reasons: First, as pointed out earlier, this is not therapy. What you learn in this series is part of your lifelong education, not part of a program of psychotherapy. Second, you'll learn better if you pass along what you know. In other words, tell your partner or friends what you are learning. Teach what you can, and you'll learn even more.

Finally, it takes two to tango: Intimacy is not a state you achieve and never leave; it's a process involving two people, one of whom is you. The more you understand, the more you will be able to contribute to your own relationships, not only in the form of information, but as improved thinking, feeling and behavior. Thus, even if you sit alone at the computer (which is probably more comfortable than other seating arrangements), you are not "alone" in your relationship experience.

Relationship psychology is truly valuable, informative and useful: it can make a positive difference. Relationship psychologists do not have more "control" over their relationships -- remember, you the individual can be, at most, only 50% of any partnership. But relationship experts generally report that, as a result of what they have learned, they feel less out-of-control in their relationships, and have more abilities and choices in their interactions with those they love.

Read, click, link, learn and discuss what you can, and train yourself to function as even better friend, partner, spouse and colleague. Welcome to The Psychology of Close Relationships!

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