Can Science Help Predict Relationship Stability?

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There’s no telling what the future will hold, but can science give us any clues about relationship stability? According to one study, the answer may be yes.

Relationship commitment has been widely studied because it is associated with relationship satisfaction and stability. In a 2010 study, entitled “Should I stay or should I go? Predicting dating relationship stability from four aspects of commitment“, researchers examined four aspects of relationship commitment and their associations with relationship adjustment and stability. The four aspects of commitment were dedication, perceived constraints, material constraints, and felt constraints. The results showed that all four aspects of commitment were associated with relationship satisfaction and stability.

However, the strongest predictor of relationship satisfaction and stability was dedication, followed by felt constraint. These findings suggest that dedication is the most important aspect of commitment in predicting relationship satisfaction and stability. Moreover, the findings indicate that feeling trapped in a relationship is also a strong predictor of satisfaction and stability. Therefore, these two aspects of commitment should be given special attention in future research on this topic.

This study, which used a large and representative sample, showed that both dedication and constraint are related to relationship stability among unmarried couples. The researchers looked at two new aspects of constraint commitment: material constraints and felt constraint. Material constraints refer to the practical aspects of a relationship, such as sharing rent or having purchased a future vacation together. Felt constraint refers to the sense that one is trapped in a relationship because of internal or external pressures to stay together.

This research found that dedication (the desire to maintain the relationship), constraint commitment (the desire to stay in the relationship due to outside forces), and felt constraint (a sense of wanting out and feeling trapped) all predicted relationship stability. This provides valuable insight into what contributes to lasting relationships, which can help couples identify areas they may need to work on. Felt constraint was associated with the opposite direction from the other aspects of commitment measured, but this was not surprising given that it reflects both a sense of wanting out and of feeling trapped.

Though it’s easy to think of commitment in terms of staying together through thick and thin, that definition is really a surface-level understanding of what the concept means. To get a little bit deeper, let’s look at how dedication and constraint work together to create a sense of future in a romantic relationship.

When we say somebody is dedicated to their partner, we might mean they want to stay with them forever. But even if the desire isn’t there anymore, constraints can keep people together because breaking up would produce more costs than benefits. In this way, commitment isn’t just about wanting to be with someone – it’s also about being stuck with them.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what commitment means and why it matters for relationships. If you want to learn more about relationships check out our Relationships section where you can explore topics like love, sex, and communication in greater detail.

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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.