The article outlines two main approaches to the issue of exchange and communal norms within intimate connections. The first approach, interdependence theory, claims that, given that people enter into relationships to satisfy their needs, “our relationship partners meet our needs, and in return, they meet ours” (Ludden para.4). As a consequence, according to the theory, people are happy with their relationships only when the amount received and given is equal. The second approach, attachment theory, suggests that relationship behavior is a result of the relationship models that we developed in childhood (Ludden). As reported in the article, there are secure, anxious, and avoidant attachment styles. People with secure attachment can give their partners as more as they can and be sure that the partners will do the same for them. They are more satisfied with their sexual life when they follow communal norms. That is, they satisfy the needs of the partner and not their own. Anxiously attached people do the same since they are afraid of losing their partner. Adults with avoidant attachment follow exchange norms as it makes them feel safer.
Regarding my opinion, I highly agree with the author’s findings. Knowing what type of attachment you and your partner have might help regulate the relationship and avoid unnecessary anxiety. For example, understanding that your partner is avoidantly attached contributes to a slower pace of relationship development since such people need more time to start to trust. I think that this information can be useful for the psychological state of people who have such partners. Sometimes it may seem that the partner does not show the same degree of affection because he does not love us. However, knowing about the avoidant type of attachment and the difficulties these people face regarding trust can be reassuring.
Ludden, David. “Bartering in the Bedroom: Exchange and Communal Norms in Intimate Relationships.” Psychology Today, 2020. Web.