Frost uses ‘we-ness’, to talk about increased relationship
satisfaction, commitment, and perceptions of closeness. These relationship
stories that involved a high degree of intimacy-related content indicated
heightened relationship satisfaction, closeness, low levels of conflict and
break-up thoughts, low levels of depression and high levels of psychological
well-being. However I don’t know if the interpretation of data he gives equates
to relationship quality and mental health. Which qualities of closeness and separation
matter most in explaining elements of relationship quality and mental health? It
is possible that the ways in which intimacy and emotional content were studied didn’t
portray aspects of relational culture and the negative sides of relationships. I
think the construction of meaning about closeness and separation can illuminate
contexts of relationship development in late adolescence, and for understanding
the emergence of identity and life.
In my opinion the construction of meaning about relationship
closeness and separation is perspective taken as having gained something or
learned something from the relationship versus chalking it up as a bad
beginning middle and or end.
Hopper highlights this in his article. Divorce often
constitutes a dramatic transformation of a once personal relationship into one
that is antagonistic. The article describes the process by which a sample of
divorcing subjects confronted and solved major interpretive dilemmas posed by
virtue of the shared meaning they and those around them had of marriage. It
shows that the ways in which they solved such dilemmas created an oppositional
structure by which they subsequently effected divorce.
I think that research often is focused on opposing material
interests, the adversarial nature of the legal system, latent or manifest
conflict in marriage, or psychological reactions to the pain of divorce. A
broadly designed fieldwork investigation of divorce suggests an important
dimension largely ignored by these explanations: the symbolic or cultural. Those
are the deeper questions that are important in the construction of meaning
about closeness and separation.