Extra Relationship Involvement Among Women: Are They Different From Men?

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Factors related to three types of Extra Relationship Involvement (ERI) in women were explored: emotional ERI, sexual ERI, and a combination of sexual and emotional ERIs. A model, based on a decision-making model of male ERI and the additional variable of commitment, was evaluated. The research involved two studies with female participants (N = 112, N = 44) who had been involved in heterosexual relationships of at least 6-month duration. The major finding was that women engage in emotional and combined ERIs but rarely enter into solely sexual ERIs. It was demonstrated that social norms, planning, relationship satisfaction, and commitment were influential in predicting emotional and combined ERI intentions. Past ERI behavior was a strong predictor of future emotional and combined ERI behavior, but planning also added to the prediction of combined ERI behavior. Women who had engaged in emotional ERIs and combined ERIs indicated romantic affect as the main reason for their ERI behavior. Overall, it was demonstrated that women's intentions to engage in ERI were related to cognitive processes and relationship variables, and that ERI behavior, although generally habitual, was also predicted by cognitive processes.

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