Regulation of romantic investment is often examined in terms of concerns over self-protection. Perceived opportunity for intimate connection has been an overlooked motivational force in investment decisions. In 4 studies, participants assessed risks of rejection and opportunity for connection from future partners (among single participants), current partners (among coupled participants), and ex-partners (all participants). Beyond rejection risks, intimacy potential of future/current partners negatively predicted pining for an ex-partner, whereas intimacy potential of ex-partners positively predicted such longing. Rewarding ex-partners garnered particularly strong investment when future/current partners were lacking in intimacy potential, suggesting the need to belong motivates pursuit of intimacy in a hydraulic fashion: When connection is lacking in one relationship, the draw of intimacy from another becomes particularly strong.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies