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If we've had many relationships which haven't worked out, the demand rises to make each successive relationship work.Yet the risk of failure also rises, because at that point, we've become identified with being a failed participant in intimacy.Some factors, such as the partner's personality, could belong to both categories. The most common reason for wanting to stay in the relationship was "emotional intimacy" (mentioned by 53 percent of those contemplating a breakup), and the most common reasons for wanting to leave were breach of trust (overall) and breach of trust and a partner's personality (tied at 30 percent among those currently thinking about breaking up). People included social support as a factor which could support both leaving and staying — including "social pressure" to stay, and the "social consequences" of staying as a reason to leave. Notably, there were reasons for staying that did not have a counterpart in reasons for leaving, and vice versa — for example, while breach of trust was a reason to leave, being faithful was offered as a reason to stay.In discussing the overall findings from Study 1, the authors note that participants' reasons for staying or leaving were reflective of concepts identified in prior relationship research: 1. People thought about how invested they were in terms of staying in the relationship, with categories including "logistical barriers" to leaving, "habituation" to the relationship, and "pursuit of other opportunities" tipping toward a decision to leave. People reported dependence on the relationship as a reason to stay, but lack of dependence was not reported as a reason to leave.
The dating sample included 121 people, 36 percent men, with an average age of 28, and an average relationship duration of 22 months.If we have children and are thinking of leaving our partner, we weigh heavily whether it will be better for the kids or worse.On the other hand, we may guard ourselves from intimacy and manage expectations by betting against our own relationships — making it hard to get close to others in the first place, and harder to invest in a relationship even when we do.Researchers have looked into why people say they've ended relationships and how we think about infidelity.These are relevant findings, but what do they tell us about what happens when we are of the tormenting decision about whether to stay and work on a relationship, stay and possibly not have it change for the better, or leave it behind?
If reasons to stay and go mainly overlapped, we'd expect less ambivalence.