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Do you ever wonder why some relationships have staying power while others seem doomed to fail? Psychology can predict where your relationship is headed, as detailed in a scientific paper titled Pathways of Commitment to Wed: The Development and Dissolution of Romantic Relationships.
As highlighted by Business Insider, the study assessed nearly 400 heterosexual unmarried couples between the ages of 19 and 35, interviewing them over the course of nine months and asking how likely the participants would marry their partners. Researchers found that relationships fall into one of four categories, and within the most populated category (34% of relationships) were the couples who are most prone to breakups.
In the first category, partner-focused commitments, the participants' likelihood of getting married increased with positive developments in the relationship. For the second category, socially-involved commitments, the participants' perception of the relationship changed due to outside social forces, such as family approval or disapproval, but showed relatively few dips in levels of commitment. With the third category, conflict-ridden commitments, the relationship was affected by conflict, and participants became stuck in the same stage without advancement or regression. This group is related to the final and most dangerous category—dramatic commitments—and the only real difference between the final two is how couples were able to handle conflict.
Dramatic relationships were characterized by significant downturns in the participants' level of commitment. "Dramatic commitments appear to have a relatively turbulent progression toward commitment riddled with negative views of the relationship," the study notes. These individuals were also more likely to spend time with separate friend groups. The chances of these relationships ending in a breakup over the course of the study were about double to any other group.
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