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Partner commitment moderates the association between commitment and interest in romantic alternatives

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that individuals who are committed to their relationship are less interested in romantic alternatives. This research examined whether the negative association between commitment and interest in alternative partners depends on the level of partner’s commitment. In Study 1, married individuals (N = 289) completed questionnaires assessing their commitment, perceptions of their partner’s commitment, and two indicators of interest in alternatives. We found that committed individuals’ tendency to remain inattentive to alternatives and to report fewer infidelity experiences was significantly weaker among individuals who perceived their partner to be low (vs. high) in commitment. In Study 2, we recruited both members of married couples (N = 156) and replicated the moderating effect of partner commitment using the partner’s self-reports. Our findings suggest that how committed the partner is, or is perceived to be, can play an important role in committed individuals’ faithfulness, highlighting the dyadic processes of relationship maintenance.

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Notes

  1. Data analyzed in the present study are part of a larger dataset on married life. A subset of the data has been published (Park et al. 2018), but no variables in this article were reported elsewhere. A complete list of measures used for this study is available on the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/dq7ze/).

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Funding

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A5A2A02926605).

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Correspondence to Sun W. Park.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Park, Y., Park, S.W. Partner commitment moderates the association between commitment and interest in romantic alternatives. Curr Psychol 40, 1439–1447 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-0079-1

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Keywords

  • Commitment mutuality
  • Commitment asymmetry
  • Infidelity
  • Extramarital relationship