Affectionate Communication is Good, Except When it isn’t: On the Dark Side of Expressing Affection

Kory Floyd, Perry M. Pauley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Love and affection have spurred the imaginations of painters, poets, sculptors, and writers throughout the history of humanity. In their works, artists have explored the complex and curious nature of love, capturing moments of both agony and ecstasy. As their creations suggest, the intrigue of love can captivate the imagination. It is not difficult to see why. An unexpected phone call from a romantic partner, a card or note from a family member, or a chance encounter with an old friend each has the potential to rouse the spirit and elevate the mood. Although many aspects of affection are positive and desirable, affectionate communication can also go awry. Newlyweds are often dismayed to find that the endearing idiosyncrasies of their new spouse quickly become irritating habits that drive a wedge between them. Likewise, college students inevitably find that the devotion of their parents can easily become an overbearing and possibly constraining interference in their social or personal lives. Although many of the outcomes of affection are good, affection can be risky for both senders and receivers, and sometimes expressions of affection lead to confusing and complicated turns of events. As Hunt’s quote suggests, affection enables us to become closer to people we care about, but this closeness often has a way of magnifying the tiny monsters that lurk within us all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Dark Side of Close Relationships II
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781135221157
ISBN (Print)9780415804578
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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