Breakup Likelihood Following Hypothetical Sexual or Emotional Infidelity: Perceived Threat, Blame, and Forgiveness
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Relationships Research. 2020, 11 (e7). . 10.1017/jrr.2020.5
Infidelity represents a major threat to relationships, often resulting in dissolution of couples. The process from infidelity to potential breakup was studied in 92 couples using questionnaires concerning hypothetical scenarios of sexual and emotional infidelity. Structural equation model analyses using couple data for both infidelity types suggest that the level of perceived threat to the relationship was the main predictor of likelihood of breakup for men and women. Following each type of imagined infidelity, this effect was partly mediated by forgiveness. For emotional infidelity, level of blame was associated with forgiveness and breakup. The effect of blame on breakup was fully mediated by keeping less distance. The mechanisms involved in these processes were highly similar for women and men.