Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dual Relationships

Dual Relations

The phenomenon of duality and dualization
What makes dual relations different from all others is that partners are fully rewarded psychologically for applying their strengths and being their normal selves. What is your "normal" self? — your path of least resistance, the way you do things when you stop monitoring yourself and stop thinking about how you should be acting. This "normal" behavior is what makes sense to duals and what doesn't make sense to most other people at a close psychological distance.

As such, dual relations are highly therapeutic. Partners gradually discover their "true" selves and gain an understanding of their inner emotional and psychological territory, their interaction styles, what things they need in other people, and what other people need them for. This understanding is objective because it comes through the other person, who sees aspects of his or her partner's functioning that are inaccessible to the other's awareness under normal conditions. This understanding and the "balancing out" that occurs in dual relations facilitates stable self-awareness in partners, who gradually learn to control what is going on in their external and internal life. This creates optimal conditions for developing one's strengths and achieving other goals in life.

The word "dualization" refers to the harmonizing process that occurs through extended close interaction with one's duals. People who had duals in their immediate family growing up are naturally quite a bit "in tune" to their duals' wavelength, while those who did not may be profoundly affected by their first experience of duality.

The concept of duality has always existed as an archetype — the idea of becoming "whole" through another person, of finding one's "other half." This implies a psychological coalescense that goes beyond the biological need to reproduce. Presumably, each normal psyche has the structural prerequisites for experiencing this phenomenon. Of course, "dual love" is more than the hormone bath of infatuation, which drives one to acquire a certain partner, but then usually leaves partners wondering what they found in each other after it passes. Dual partners continue to render each other very specific and competent psychological "services" even after infatuation has passed, and continue to find enjoyment in each other's company. This stage is often called "companionship love" in psychological literature.

This same pattern also applies to attracting members of the opposite sex.

Attracting duals
There is a sort of "vicious cycle" phenomenon in the ability or inability to attract and retain socionic duals. You need to experience dual relations to learn how to attract duals, but if you don't know how to attract them, how are you going to experience duality?? This is a real problem for many people, and it often takes hard work or ideal conditions (for example, working together for an extended period of time) to break out of the rut. Other people have never experienced this rut and have a natural attraction to people of the "right type" and know how to act in a way that makes sense to their duals.

After experiencing dual relations and the accompanying "therapy" described above, people usually attract duals faster by sending out clear signals to other people about their strengths and their normal state of mind. When people send out mixed signals and do not seem to be relying on their strengths in interaction with others, duals react slowly, if at all. When one acts confidently using one's strengths, not only do one's duals respond with greater attention, but one becomes more attractive to everyone else as well. Developing one's strengths is the topic of a separate article.

Duals' "zones of responsibility"
In the beginning stages of dual relationships things go more smoothly if partners stick to type-related "zones of responsibility" and leave the other areas to their duals. Trying to take over areas that the other person is more competent in and sensitive to can cause awkwardness and misunderstandings. Later, when people know each other well, much more flexibility is possible. Here is a rough outline of those zones of responsibility:

Adding new "food" (new material, situations, or facets) to the relationship. Expanding the relationship. Calling the other up and actively showing interest (in the beginning of the relationship).
Keeping inventory of what ground has been covered in the relationship. Processing the relationship. Accepting others' invitations (in the beginning of the relationship).
Deciding when and how much physical contact and sensory pleasure will take place.
Establishing resonance with the other person's ideas and values.
Deciding how activities should be organized, keeping track of plans and agreements.
Deciding what kinds of feelings and emotions will be displayed, smoothing over misunderstandings.

A good rule of thumb is to not try to make things happen in areas outside of your "zones of responsibility." It can ruin the atmosphere and disrupt spontaneity. Hints about what you might like in those areas are good, but let the other person make the decisions. The key is to lead with your ego block functions, which send out signals of confidence, and not with your super ego functions (strain and self-consciousness) or super id functions (neediness and self-pity), and to go along with your partner when he or she is leading with his or her strengths. The more you interact with duals, the more natural this becomes. Each dual becomes the leader in certain areas of the relationship that roughly correspond to the areas in the chart above.

further reading
Nature and persona Learn to recognize and utilize your natural inclinations.

Minor complications can arise in the beginning stages because of gender behavior stereotypes that may conflict with the type roles above. For example, an extraverted woman might always be the one to call her friends up and initiate activities, but when it comes to romantic relationships, she may consciously hold back and try to let men take the initiative. In long-term relationships she will likely revert to her usual extraverted behavior. Some introverted men have to be coaxed into taking the initiative that is expected of them.

Not all duals are created equal
Each socionic type contains a wide variety of people. Some duals you will be physically attracted to immediately, some gradually, and others never. Some will share your interests, your lifestyle, or your body type, while others will not.

In popular socionics literature you will find statements like "duals don't attract each other at first." This is often true, but not always. Sometimes the chemistry can be instantaneous if partners have "just the right look," or say certain "code words" or share a key interest. Other duals may seem uninteresting because they lack all of these things. Such people are still easy to work and interact with, but there may seem to be no real basis for a more serious relationship. The most compatible duals seem to have lots in common.


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