Where Do You End and I Begin?: Evidence for Anticipatory, Motivated Self-Other Integration Between Relationship Partners

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Abstract

Perceiving similarity between oneself and one's romantic partner benefits both the individual and the relationship and can arise from multiple pathways that draw either the partner closer to the self or the self closer to the partner. The current research focuses on the latter. The authors investigate novel circumstances under which the self-concepts of individuals in romantic relationships may intertwine. Although self-other integration typically grows from the depth of shared experiences between relationship partners, the current research proposes a secondary pathway through which self-other integration may occur: Specifically, motivation to draw close to a romantic partner may be sufficient to evoke self-other integration even in the absence of shared experience. In 6 studies, the authors explored this anticipatory self-other integration pathway, using both current and potential romantic partners. The results supported the hypotheses by demonstrating that self-other integration can occur in an anticipatory fashion with the appropriate motivation.

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