The evolution of romantic relationships: Adaptive challenges and relationship cognition in emerging adulthood

Jon K. Maner, Saul L. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Forming and maintaining a successful romantic relationship can be a challenge. Without question, attaining love and romance can enrich your life and can help satisfy the need for positive, long-term social bonds. Yet, you can have trouble finding the “right” partner or any partner at all, and even if you find a suitable partner, so many things can go wrong. Your satisfaction can wane, and your level of commitment can go with it. You can be tempted by infidelity, or your partner may fall prey to similar temptations. These challenges can be particularly troublesome among emerging adults, who tend to have relatively little experience with forming and maintaining a successful long-term relationship. Indeed, emerging adults in many ways must feel their way through a new romantic relationship with relatively little knowledge or background to guide them. Given the potential difficulties inherent in forming and maintaining a close romantic relationship, it is surprising that so many relationships among young adults are successful. However, their relationship successes are perhaps less surprising when one considers that human beings have been succeeding at long-term romantic relationships for thousands of generations. All of our ancestors were successful at mating (at least insofar as they were able to reproduce), and we have inherited from them a very useful suite of psychological processes that help us solve important relationship problems. In this sense all people are built to succeed at romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRomantic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511761935
ISBN (Print)9780521195300
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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