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“I’m not the same person since I met you”: The role of romantic passion in how people change when they get involved in a romantic relationship

Abstract

Using the dualistic perspective on romantic passion (Ratelle et al. in Motiv Emot 37:106–120, 2013; Vallerand et al. in J Pers Soc Psychol 85:756–767, 2003), the present research examined the role of harmonious and obsessive romantic passion in the prediction of personal changes in people’s lives associated with romantic relationships. Young adults recruited through universities (Studies 1 and 2) and social networking sites (Studies 2 and 3) composed the samples of the three studies. Results of Study 1 revealed that harmonious and obsessive passion both positively predicted perceptions of personal growth while they respectively negatively and positively predicted disengagement from important activities and other social relationships for the sake of the romantic relationship. These associations were either fully replicated (for harmonious passion) or partially replicated (for obsessive passion) when examined using a six-month longitudinal design (Study 2) and when the two outcomes (i.e., personal growth and social disengagement) were reported by an informant (Study 3). Overall, the results suggest that the nature and extent of changes in people’s lives as they become romantically involved may be predicted by the quality of their romantic passion.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. A total of 596 participants completed the Time 1 questionnaire, accepted to be contacted again for the follow-up study, and provided a valid email address. These participants were contacted by email 6 months later and 26 % of them (n = 155) fully completed the follow-up questionnaire and were still in a relationship with the same romantic partner. These participants represent the final sample.

  2. When two or more friends of a participant completed the report, scores were averaged across friends.

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Correspondence to Noémie Carbonneau.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants. This research was supported by a grant from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC) to the second author.

Appendix: Items used to assess “personal growth” and “disengagement from other relationships and activities”

Appendix: Items used to assess “personal growth” and “disengagement from other relationships and activities”

Being in a relationship with my partner has…

  1. 1.

    …made me see life more positively.

  2. 2.

    …made me a better person.

  3. 3.

    …made me see my life’s purpose more clearly.

  4. 4.

    …made me stop doing activities that I used to really enjoy.

  5. 5.

    …made me neglect my relationships with my friends.

  6. 6.

    …made me neglect my relationships with my family.

  7. 7.

    …given me more hope for the future.

  8. 8.

    …brought out the best in me.

  9. 9.

    …made me abandon hobbies that used to be important to me.

  10. 10.

    …helped me develop qualities that were hidden in me.

“Personal Growth” items: 1-2-3-7-8-10.

“Disengagement from Other Relationships and Activities” items: 4-5-6-9.

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Carbonneau, N., Vallerand, R.J., Lavigne, G.L. et al. “I’m not the same person since I met you”: The role of romantic passion in how people change when they get involved in a romantic relationship. Motiv Emot 40, 101–117 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-015-9512-z

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Keywords

  • Romantic passion
  • Dualistic model of passion
  • Personal growth
  • Personal changes