Category: Couples / Close Relationships


Commitment and Relationship Structures Among Bisexual Individuals

Saturday, November 18
1:15 PM - 2:45 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Couples / Close Relationships | Diversity | L / G / B / T
Presentation Type: Symposium

Romantic relationship commitment has been well studied, but prior research has primarily used samples of monosexual individuals (i.e., heterosexual- or homosexual-identified). This is a significant limitation because non-monosexual (i.e., bisexual/pansexual) individuals may experience some commitment processes differently than monosexual individuals. For example, the decision to reject other potential relationship partners is a key component of commitment (Stanley and Markman, 1992; Rusbult, 1983), with alternative potential partners viewed as a threat to commitment. However, some evidence suggests that bisexual individuals may perceive the idea of alternative partners as less threatening and may find non-monogamous relationship structures more appealing (Mark, Rosenkrantz, & Kerner, 2014). This study aims to explore commitment processes within bisexual and non-bisexual individuals, with a particular focus on (non/)monogamy and alternative partners.

The current study uses two samples of adults, a general sample of those in other-sex relationships (N=1293) and a sample of those with non-monosexual orientations (data collection underway; current N=56, goal of at least 160). Roughly 40% of the bisexual sample reports being in a non-monogamous relationship, compared to 2% of the general sample. Within the general sample, confirmatory factor analysis indicates that the Dedication and Social Pressures factors load most strongly onto the higher-order Commitment factor. Structural equation path models indicated that Dedication and Social Pressures prospectively predicted a variety of relationship outcomes, including satisfaction and stability. Similar analyses will be run in the bisexual-only sample.

Discussion will address aspects of commitment that may be unique for bisexual individuals and the role of alternative partners for individuals of both bisexual and heterosexual orientations. These findings are important for clinical interventions targeting a variety of couples’ issues including jealousy, infidelity, and break-ups. 

Lane Ritchie

Graduate Student
University of Denver


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Commitment and Relationship Structures Among Bisexual Individuals

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