Category: Couples / Close Relationships

Symposium

Symposium 93 - Heteronormative Monogamy: Examining Diversity in Romantic Relationships and Commitment Structures

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

Keywords: Couples / Close Relationships | LGBTQ+ | Sexuality
Presentation Type: Symposium

Research on romantic relationships has largely presumed that all couples desire monogamous relationships. Although that body of work has laid a foundation for understanding the dynamics of romantic relationships, it has largely overlooked the possibility that some couples might choose alternative commitment structures and has primarily focused on heterosexual relationships.


This symposium seeks to fully embrace both diversity in sexual orientation as well as diversity in commitment structures in modeling romantic relationships. Thus, these talks represent important next steps for couples researchers and therapists, helping to highlight how we can build more open and accepting approaches to understanding relationships.


DOUG SNYDER: The first talk will present DIF-IRT analyses examining the degree to which gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples read and respond to items assessing relationship commitment in different manners. Using cross-cultural dyadic data, the talk will present results highlighting similarities and differences in how homosexual vs. heterosexual and U.S. vs. Italian couples perceive commitment.


KAYLA KNOPP: The second talk extends this work by more thoroughly examining defining the relationship talks in teen (15-17yo) romantic relationships (n=312). The study examined the content of those talks and the retrospective correlates of those talks, suggesting that discussing romantic exclusivity was associated with higher levels of relationship quality whereas discussions of sexual exclusivity were linked to higher rates of cheating.


DEV CRASTA: The third talk will present Latent Profile Analyses (LPAs) in a diverse sample of 1,658 individuals in romantic relationships, identifying 5 basic classes of relationship commitment. Analyses revealed that a class of open relationships marked by high levels of awareness, communication and agreement on extra-dyadic sexual activity or EDSA (fully open relationships) had comparably high levels of relationship functioning to monogamous relationships whereas open relationships with low communication, awareness and agreement on EDSA (ambivalently open) had lower functioning.


RON ROGGE: The fourth talk follows this work by running similar LPAs on dyadic baseline data from a sample of 529 heterosexual couples, identifying 4 fundamental classes of commitment. HLM analyses modeling trajectories of relationship functioning across 6 months suggested that EDSA could vitalize fully-open relationships whereas EDSA had adverse effects on relationship functioning in ambivalently open relationships.


LANE RITCHIE: The final talk will extend the previous talks by contrasting links between commitment processes and relationship quality within a large (n=1293) heteronormative sample from those same links within a bisexual or non-monosexual sample (target n=160). Preliminary results already suggest marked differences between the two samples, with higher rates (40% vs. 2%) of non-monogamous commitment structures in bisexuals.


KRISTINA COOP-GORDON: Finally, the discussant, a leading researcher and author on infidelity, will link the findings presented to the existing literature on infidelity in the context of couples’ therapy.

Learning Objectives:

Ronald D. Rogge

Associate Professor
University of Rochester

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Ronald Rogge

Kristina Coop Gordon

Professor
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Kristina Coop Gordon

Send Email for Douglas Snyder

Kayla Knopp

Graduate Student
University of Denver

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Kayla Knopp

Dev Crasta

Doctoral Candidate
University of Rochester

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Dev Crasta

Ronald D. Rogge

Associate Professor
University of Rochester

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Ronald Rogge

Lane Ritchie

Graduate Student
University of Denver

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Lane Ritchie


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