15 Variables in Relationship

Recently read a great article (when I find the citation I’ll attach it) about many variables that contribute to the way relationships (any relationship: coworkers, friends, lovers, etc.) function. What makes the list interesting is that each of these variables applies to both members in the relationship, which really speaks to the complexity of human interaction. Of course, relationship is one of those important aspects of subjective experience, which is an important focus of psychotherapy. Here’s the list:

  1. mood
  2. empathy
  3. organization of events in time
  4. familiarity of physical environment
  5. predictability of self
  6. ability to manage one’s arousal
  7. previously established expectations of self and other
  8. fantasy
  9. projection, seeing aspects of oneself in your partner
  10. novelty/familiarity of partner
  11. explicit, verbal communication
  12. implicit, nonverbal communication
  13. history of relationship
  14. patterns of how you do things together, who takes the lead, what are the ‘rules’ understood in the relationship?
  15. ability to articulate thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions

Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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