The relationship literature describes that declining commitment leads to breakup. The goal of this article is to distinguish declining commitment and breakup to clarify this claim to better understand relationship processes. Data comes from a longitudinal study of heterosexual dating couples (N = 180). Both individuals in the relationship independently graphed changes in commitment to wed their partner and reported reasons for each change monthly for eight consecutive months. Frequency and intensity of decreased interaction, relational uncertainty, and alternative partners were measured across periods of stability (increased or stable levels of commitment to wed) and declining commitment (decreased commitment to wed that was at least one month in duration). Hierarchical linear models revealed that more frequent reports of these characteristics were associated with declining commitment rather than stability. Using survival analyses, intensity of each characteristic predicted breakup versus declining commitment. Implications for relationship processes are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)