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Lecture 4

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Geoffrey Mac Donald

Lecture 4: Romantic Commitment and Stability Relationship commitment The intention to persist with a relationship (could be positive or negative depending on the context) Best psychological predictor of whether a relationship will ultimately last Investment model According to this model, commitment has THREE key components A) Satisfaction: are you happy? B) Investment: resources place into the relationship C) Quality of alternatives: other options Types of investments Tangible (material such as joint account, shared pets) vs. intangible (emotionalidentity) Past vs. future Past intangible, future intangible, and future tangible investments all INDEPENDTLY PREDICT commitment Alternative and narcissism Narcissists have characteristically lower commitment levels Relationship is mediated by high quality of alternatives Barriers to relationship dissolution Commitment ONLY becomes problematic when the quality of the relationship is LOW Possible reasons that people cannot leave unsatisfying relationships o Having high investment o Low quality of alternatives Investments and cohabitation Cohabitation BEFORE marriage has problems o Less marital satisfaction o More marital violence o Higher risk of divorce BUT this applies ONLY to those who cohabit BEFORE ENGAGED (COMMITTED) o Relationship inertia Using cohabitation as a test assumes NO increased barriers to leaving BUT, it actually increases the barriers to leaving (increased investment without increasing satisfaction) ALSO, it puts people at risk of sliding into marriage: people who otherwise wouldnt have gotten married
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