Article Review Paper: Missing you maintains us: missing a romantic partner, commitment, relationship maintenance and physical infidelity, by Le, Korn, Crockett and Loving.
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The prevalence of long distance romantic relationships has portrayed an increasing trend in the recent past. The cause of the increase is career development of the participants especially during their schooling.
As a result, many researchers have embarked on several studies on the various aspects that are characteristic of long distance romantic relationships. This paper entails a review of an article based on one such study, Missing you maintains us: missing a romantic partner, commitment, relationship maintenance and physical infidelity, by Le, Korn, Crockett and Loving.
As aforementioned, long distance relationships have attracted the attention of several researchers. Some researchers have studied on the predictors of satisfaction of individuals involved in long distance relationships. In addition, some have researched on the interrelatedness of closeness, attachment as well as the satisfaction of students engaged in long distance relationships especially those in higher institutions of learning.
Other studies highlight the nature of the long distance relationships with specific interest on the degree of interaction of the individuals in a given dyad and their perception about the effect of their commitment to their partner as well as to the relationship. The researchers employ either the equity theory or the interdependence theory in their studies. Both are extensions of social exchange theories. Most of the researchers study long-term long distance relationships.
Only few researchers have studied some aspects of short-term long distance relationships. Drigottas, Safstrom and Gentilia carried out a research to study infidelity and commitment during short-term geographic separation relationships among college students (Le, et al., 2011, p.656). Recently, some researchers have focused on short-term geographic separations of individuals involved in romantic relationships.
The authors of the article, Missing you maintains us: missing a romantic partner, commitment, relationship maintenance and physical infidelity, employed the interdependence theory to carry out a study based on short-term geographic separation of individuals in romantic relationships during their holiday.
The major goal of their study was to examine the experience of missing a romantic partner as a function of the processes associated with commitment; relationship maintenance as well as physical infidelity as far as romantic relationships are concerned. The authors also acknowledge that the development and existence of romantic relationships involve a process that has two important aspects namely initializing the relationship and its maintenance.
The article highlights the important factors that lead to the development of a relationship-relationship enhancing strategies. They include fidelity, optimism, commitment and task sharing between the two parties. They also note that a sense of belonging to the same social network is instrumental in enhancing the development of a romantic relationship.
To ensure the durability of a relationship, irrespective of geographic separation, the dyad should uphold some relationship maintenance behaviors. Such behaviors are associated with satisfaction, liking and mutual control of all the aspects of the relationship. Of major importance is commitment of the partners to the relationship.
The authors argue that commitment is important in determining the experience of missing a partner in a romantic relationship. They argue that partners who show much commitment to a given relationship adhere not only to the relationship enhancing strategies but also to the relationship maintenance behaviors to enhance the strength of their bond. Moreover, committed parties miss each other thus resulting in their zeal to remain in the relationship.
In carrying out their study, the authors used a longitudinal design in examining the relationship between commitment and the associated experience of missing a partner across short-term geographic separations. They had a sample of 88 students-59 females and 29 males. They were all in romantic relationships thus experienced a geographic separation during their holidays.
In order to attract these respondents to the study, the researchers made advertisements in the college website besides offering $5 to all the participants. The sample offered a good representation of all the races within the college. They collected data in four-time periods using internet-based surveys.
The researchers collected their first data before the geographic separation. From their study, they found out that there exist a significant positive association between commitment and missing. They also pointed out that, commitment over shadowed positivity as the major aspect contributing to missing a romantic partner. Commitment determined an individual’s loyalty to the relationship enhancement and maintenance strategies-positivity being one of them.
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The authors’ choice of the interdependence theory in the study is a major strength of the article. According to Rusbult and Lange (2003), the interdependence theory identifies the most significant characteristics of different intra-and interpersonal relationships by employing a comprehensive analysis of a given situation (p.352).
Geographical separation presents different concerns that were the point of interest for the researchers thus best placed to employ the interdependence theory since they were interested in knowing the relationship between commitment and missing of a partner in a romantic relationship.
Just as the article points out, commitment determines the level of missing as well as moral and physical fidelity in any romantic relationship. Individuals who are not committed to a given party and a relationship do not miss their partner thus increasing their chances of both physical and moral infidelity in their relationship (Stafford, 2005, p. 56). The article is also very informative as the authors acknowledge the works of other researchers on the phenomenon.
They point out the works of Drigotas, Safstrom and Gentilia as well as Diamond, Hicks and Ottre-Henderson’s work. This gives the strategic place as well as the significance of their study in shading more light on long distance romantic relationships. It is an instrumental aspect of every work of study to link the relevancy of its findings to the works of other researchers in the given field.
The article has a weakness: the authors did not highlight the assumptions that they made in carrying out their study. Assumptions are a fundamental aspect in most statistical works. For instance, they could have assumed that their payment did not deter their respondents in answering their questions.
The $5 acted as an incentive to attract many respondents to the survey. This could have made some or even most of the respondents to answer the questions just for the sake of receiving the money without giving much attention to some questions providing false data for the study.
I concur with the authors’ interpretation of their findings because I strongly belief that commitment in a romantic relationship results in the missing of a partner during geographic separations and that a committed party would follow the relationship maintenance strategies as well as uphold fidelity in the relationship.
The article gives a clear account of missing a romantic partner as a functional process associated with commitment, physical infidelity as well as relationship maintenance in romantic relationships in periods when the involved undergo geographic separations.
However, further research based on the significance of social networking sites in romantic relationships under geographical separations would be helpful in understanding the subject in this era where scientific and technological advancements are becoming more rampant in the society.
Le, B., Korn, M. S., Crockett, E. E., & Loving, T. J. (2011). Missing You Maintains us:0 Missinga Romantic Partner, Commitment, Relationship Maintenance and Physical Infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28(5), 653-667.
Rusbult, C.E., & Lange, V. (2003). Interdependence, Interaction and Relationships. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 351-370.
Stafford, L. (2005). Maintaining Long Distance and Cross-Residential Relationships. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 54-57.