In pursuit of esteem: Relationship contingencies and communication with former partners.
Relationship contingent self-esteem (RCSE) is the extent to which one's self-worth is hooked on daily relationship events and outcomes (Knee, Canevello, Bush, & Cook, 2008). RCSE involves heavily investing one's self-worth in the outcomes of one's relationship. Therefore, those higher in RCSE are more greatly impacted by relationship events. A study was designed to examine whether those higher (relative to lower) in RCSE rely more on former romantic partners. Predictors of and reasons for communicating with former partners will be examined. It was hypothesized that when less satisfied with their current relationship, those higher in RCSE will be more likely to communicate with a former partner whom they believe still desires them. Individuals (N = 260) currently in a relationship completed an online survey. Factor analyses suggested that individuals communicate with their former partners for several reasons, including investment in the former relationship and for a back-up in case one's current relationship fails. Multiple regression revealed that being less satisfied with one's current relationship and perceiving that one's former partner desires a relationship were associated with communicating more with one's former partner for back-up and investment reasons. Importantly, three way interactions showed that those higher in RCSE were more likely to communicate with their former partners, especially when they were unsatisfied with their current relationship and felt their former partner desired a relationship with them. Thus, when the self is highly contingent on one's relationship and one's relationship is not doing well, one is more likely to communicate with former partners.
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Bush, A. L., Rodriguez, L. M., & Knee, C. R. (2010, January). In pursuit of esteem: Relationship contingencies and communication with former partners. Presented at the 11th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.
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