The Reasons People Think About Staying and Leaving Their Romantic Relationships: A Mixed-Method Analysis

Laura V. Machia, Brian G. Ogolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Across three studies (total N = 993) with diverse methodologies (i.e., experimental studies, longitudinal in vivo sampling), we found that there are distinct reasons why individuals believe their romantic relationship will become, or did become, less committed, and reasons why individuals believe their relationships will become, or became, more committed. Whereas the strongest endorsed reasons to stay (e.g., satisfaction) are the same as the strongest endorsed reasons to leave (e.g., dissatisfaction), there are many constructs that are more strongly endorsed as either leave reasons (e.g., quality of alternatives) or stay reasons (e.g., love). These reasons are important glimpses into the process that occurs when someone is deciding whether to stay or leave a relationship, and results empirically confirm a core tenet of Interdependence Theory that until now has been only theoretical (i.e., some outcomes contribute more motivation to staying in the current relationship, whereas others contribute more motivation to leaving).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1293
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume47
Issue number8
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Interdependence Theory
  • commitment
  • decision-making
  • relationship breakup
  • romantic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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