Relationship Science

Ending a relationship

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Science  04 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6422, pp. 40-41
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6422.40-f

When deciding to end a relationship, people may consider the feelings of their partners as well as their own. Joel et al. investigated whether decisions to break up are driven in part by perceptions of a partner's dependence on the relationship. They found that participants were less likely to initiate a breakup with their partners when they felt that their partners were more dependent on the relationship for psychological well-being, even when participants were unsatisfied in the relationship. Even participants who were actively considering breaking up with their partners were less likely to do so if they felt their partners depended on the relationship. These results suggest that people exhibit costly, prosocial preferences in relationships even when they may wish to leave them.

J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 115, 805 (2018).

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