How Do Invested Partners Become Invested? A Prospective Investigation of Fledgling Relationship Development

Samantha Joel, Laura Machia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Investment—the feeling that one has put considerable resources into a relationship—is theorized to play a key role in relationship persistence. Yet, the development of investment is not well-understood. We recruited 256 individuals in new dating relationships and surveyed them each week for up to 25 weeks. This design allows us to test underlying theoretical assumptions about how people become invested in new dating partners. Some assumptions, such as the idea that investment increases over time, were confirmed. Other assumptions were not supported: Feelings of investment were quite high after only a few weeks of dating and were not strongly shaped by concrete relationship milestones. Rather, feelings of investment were strongly linked to other subjective indicators of relationship development, such as feeling attached to the partner and believing that the relationship had a good future. We discuss the implications of these findings for existing models of investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • attachment
  • commitment
  • fledging relationship
  • investment
  • romantic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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