Aiming for an enduring relationship

June 28, 2020

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Aiming for an enduring relationship

Are you ready for love? It’s an age-old question that has inspired pop songs and romantic literature, as well as fueling advice columns in magazines. But will your love endure, or is it just a fling?

The spark of mutual attraction may remain a mystery but there’s a science to relationships that can help predict outcomes, according to recent research.

A pertinent factor is timing, a subjective sense that now is the right moment to be intimately involved with someone on an ongoing basis.

What the researchers say: “We see from the research that timing is important in that it has an influence on boosting—or undermining—relationship commitment,” said the lead author.

For the paper, the researchers introduced the construct of “commitment readiness” into the larger theory of relationship receptivity and tested it with data collected across five studies of people currently involved in romantic relationships.

They found that a higher degree of readiness was associated with higher commitment to a relationship and its longevity. Readiness was uniquely associated with more self-disclosure, less neglect and the formulation of fewer exit strategies.

Interestingly, readiness was also associated with less loyalty, suggesting that although individuals who were more ready engaged in less destructive responses to conflict, they wouldn’t passively wait for things to get better.

No gender differentiation appeared in the initial findings, and the researchers believe the research would also hold for same-sex relationships.

So, what? I think the findings from this very interesting study would also hold true in terms of commitment to relationships other than romantic ones—commitment to an employer or a service provider for example. It should be studied carefully by all those engaged in marketing, sales and HR.

Dr Bob Murray

Bob Murray, MBA, PhD (Clinical Psychology), is an internationally recognised expert in strategy, leadership, influencing, human motivation and behavioural change.

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