Understanding Infidelity Forgiveness: An Application of Implicit Theories of Relationships

Ashley E. Thompson, Dallas Capesius, Danica Kulibert, Randi A. Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies were conducted to identify variables associated with hypothetical infidelity forgiveness and promote forgiveness by manipulating implicit theories of relationships (ITRs; destiny/growth beliefs). Study 1 assessed the relationship between the type of behaviour, sex of the forgiver, ITRs and infidelity forgiveness. Study 2 investigated the causal relationship between ITRs and infidelity forgiveness (including attachment insecurity as a moderator). Results revealed that male participants forgave a partner's infidelity to a greater extent than female participants and that solitary behaviours were rated as most forgivable, followed by emotional/affectionate and technology/online behaviours, and sexual/explicit behaviours as least forgivable. Male participants (not female participants) induced to endorse growth beliefs forgave a partner's emotional/affectionate and solitary infidelity to a greater extent than those induced to endorse destiny beliefs; attachment insecurity moderated this relationship. These results have important implications for researchers and practitioners working with couples in distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2
JournalJournal of Relationships Research
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Australian Academic Press Pty Ltd 2020.

Keywords

  • gender differences
  • implicit theories of relationships
  • infidelity forgiveness
  • romantic attachment

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