On the benefits of valuing being friends for nonmarital romantic partners

Laura E. VanderDrift, Juan E. Wilson, Christopher R. Agnew

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Romantic relationships are, at their core, friendships. As such, it may be the case that valuing that aspect of the relationship fortifies the romantic relationship against negative outcomes and serves as a buffer against dissolution. We explored the role of valuing friendship within romantic relationships in two two-wave studies examining whether investing in the friendship aspect of the relationship (Study 1; N = 190) and placing importance on affiliative need fulfillment (Study 2; N = 184) were associated with positive concurrent outcomes and positive outcomes over time. Results revealed that valuing the friendship aspect of a romance is a strong positive predictor of concurrent romantic relationship qualities (i.e., love, sexual gratification, and romantic commitment), is associated with increases in these qualities over time and is negatively associated with romantic dissolution. Furthermore, evidence suggests that these benefits come from valuing friendship specifically, rather than any other aspect of the relationship (e.g., the sexual aspect).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-131
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • disengagement/dissolution
  • friendship
  • love
  • relationship types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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