Abstract: Individuals encounter numerous examples of happy relationships in their social networks and
through the media; however, it is unclear how comparisons to superior couples affect one’s own relationship. We examined individuals’ responses to upward relationship comparisons by exposing dating and married participants to highly successful relationships drawn from their own lives (Study 1) and an exemplar given to them (Studies 2-3). We predicted that moderately committed individuals would evaluate their relationship against the superior relationship, and consequently be less motivated to engage in relationship-maintenance behaviors. In contrast, highly committed individuals would be inspired by the superior relationship and view their relationship more positively. Across all studies, higher commitment yielded more positive responses to upward relationship comparisons than did lower commitment.
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