It begins with an attraction; two people are drawn inexorably to one another and an intimate relationship ensues. More often than not, however, it ends with disillusionment and heartbreak; the relationship does not work out. In such instances, a person’s perceptions of a romantic partner shift from that of idealization and infatuation to irritation and resentment. In discussing the causes of a breakup, for example, divorced individuals often mention that their former partners were flawed, or lacking in desirable attributes (Goode, 1956; Spanier & Thompson, 1984). The implication is that they did not get what they wanted in a romantic partner. What happened? What went wrong? How is it that a once beloved partner is now viewed in such a negative light?
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