Indirect Pursuits of Intimacy in Romantic Couples Everyday Conversations: A Discourse Analytic Approach


  • Neill Korobov University of West Georgia



criticisms, infidelity, discourse analysis, young adult, romantic relationships, affiliation


A discourse analytic approach was used to examine how twenty young adult romantic couples (ages 19-26) employed criticisms and insinuations of infidelity in their natural unstructured interactions to indirectly and creatively pursue closeness. The research has been motivated by an expanding arena of research that shows that ostensibly contentious interactional moments among young adult intimates may not be adversarial, but rather may be methods that promote a playful repartee that leads to affiliation. I demonstrate how criticisms are both often highly gendered and typically formulated and responded to in tongue-in-cheek, non-serious ways that involve the creative use of various forms of irony, laughter, rekeyings, abrupt non-sequiturs, and topic shifts that mitigate the potential for the criticisms to become adversarial. Similarly, the insinuations of infidelity were often designed by the couples to attend to interactional breaches. They functioned as a brief but effective way for one partner to signal that they had been dismissed or neglected in the preceding discursive turns. My central finding is that young adult romantic couples maintain closeness amidst potential conflict in their natural everyday conversational interactions.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Neill Korobov, University of West Georgia

Neill KOROBOV is a professor and director of the Ph.D. program in the Department of Psychology at the University of West Georgia, USA. He is interested in the architecture of people's conversations and stories for the study of identity. His research is situated in discursive psychology, straddling critical discursive and conversation analytic methods. For the last several years he has been studying the natural conversations between young adult romantic partners. He is interested in the ways couples pursue intimacy, connect, and create affiliation while bantering, telling stories, arguing, and sharing their desires.




How to Cite

Korobov, N. (2018). Indirect Pursuits of Intimacy in Romantic Couples Everyday Conversations: A Discourse Analytic Approach. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2).



Single Contributions