Reasons for remaining in a relationship and responses to relational transgressions

Michael E. Roloff*, Kari P. Soule, Colleen M. Carey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Although relational transgressions constitute a potential relational threat, research suggests that some relationships survive them. However, few studies inform as to why individuals try to maintain these relationships, and the impact of their reasons on how they react to transgressions. We report the results of a study among undergraduates in dating relationships that examines staying in a relationship with a transgressor due either to fear of losing a partner or to emotional involvement, and cognitive and communication responses to a transgression. As predicted, staying in such a relationship due to fear of losing one's partner was associated with a variety of negative responses, whereas staying because of emotional involvement was related to positive reactions. Implications of these findings for future research and conflict management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-385
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Emotional involvement
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Relational alternatives
  • Relational commitment
  • Transgressions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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