So where do you see this going? The effects of commitment asymmetry and asynchrony on relationship satisfaction and break-up

Kiersten Dobson, Brian G. Ogolsky, Sarah C.E. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discrepancies in partners’ commitment have been emphasized as a key factor involved in relationship instability. We tested the contributions of multiple types of commitment asymmetry (discrepancies between partners at one time point) and asynchrony (discrepancies in the progression of commitment over time) to relationship satisfaction and break-up. In three studies (N = 6960 couples) spanning months (Study 1), days (Study 2) and years (Study 3), commitment asymmetry and asynchrony consistently did not predict satisfaction or break-up when controlling for individuals and their partners’ commitment. Only one's own commitment and proportion of downturns in commitment (reporting lower commitment than the previous time point) consistently predicted satisfaction. Women's (but not men's) commitment and proportion of downturns were associated (negatively and positively, respectively) with break-up. Thus, contrary to some significant previous findings, commitment asymmetry and asynchrony are not indicative of future relationship outcomes. Our findings have important implications for theoretical models of commitment and couples’ practical issues in relationships over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-905
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number5
Early online dateApr 3 2023
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • break-up
  • commitment asymmetry
  • commitment asynchrony
  • intimate relationships
  • longitudinal
  • satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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