How familiarity breeds contempt?
The familiarity breeds contempt expression is familiar in the context of any relationship. It actually means that the longer you know one’s characteristics, you tend to disrespect him/her because all of his/her bad qualities are already unveiled.
In a relationship, the familiarity breeds contempt cliché sometimes determines the fate of the relationship. Couples who eventually cool down may have a self-fulfilling prophecy of their partner’s attitude and behavior.
But does familiarity really cause the conflict? At some point, it could play a role in creating friction within the relationship’s atmosphere. But, it could also be the factor that makes a relationship stronger.
If you are familiar with your partners’ attitudinal and behavioral pattern, it will be easier for you to handle relational issues. For instance, if you know that your partner hates insult-provoking jokes, you don’t do it.
Familiarity in most cases helps the couples adjust and deal with each other effectively. In fact, in a long-lasting relationship, familiarity does not breed contempt, it breeds understanding. The reason why there are couples who live and cherish in a happy and long-lasting relationship is that they understand and respect each other.
Couples who understand each other are familiar with each other. The success of any relationship depends on how each party contributes to the process. And familiarity is a pillar and a glue to a successful relationship.
Interpersonal familiarity is a turning point at the onset of a romantic relationship. One seeks someone who has familiar personality, behavior, and attitude. Once the match is found, a more profound relational goal is established.
At this stage of the relationship, knowing one another more strengthens the intimate connection. However, some couples, after years of being familiar with each other, gradually turning back from one another. They then start to take each other for granted.
In this case, the familiarity breeds contempt cliché may sound plausible. But it is not really what it seems. It is not familiarity that creates conflict but the failure to meet one’s intimate needs. If one party feels unsatisfied, frustration may set in. And the leak breaks apart.
A relationship never thrives if both parties devalue each other. There are many factors that could intervene in the destiny of a relationship. Contempt can be one of them. Familiarity may not the sole predictor (if it really breeds contempt).
Familiarity plays a very important role in the course of an intimate relationship. It makes the relationship thrive or die.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.