The role of anxious relationship beliefs in relationship satisfaction and relational maintenance behavior
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The present study investigated the role of anxious relationship beliefs in relational maintenance behavior and relationship satisfaction. It was hypothesized that stronger endorsement of anxious relationship beliefs is associated with stronger inhibition of relational maintenance behavior and therefore with lower relationship satisfaction. Also, anxious relationship beliefs among singles were compared with satisfied and dissatisfied couples. Age, gender and divorce were included as covariables. A sample of single, satisfied and dissatisfied participants (n = 1285) completed online questionnaire measures of relationship satisfaction, relational maintenance behaviour and anxious relationship beliefs. Results indicate that greater endorsement of the anxious relationship beliefs is associated with less use of relational maintenance strategies and lower relationship satisfaction. Especially Fear of Merger is suggested to play an important role. Significant differences were found in the endorsement of anxious relationship beliefs between singles and satisfied couples, but not in comparison with dissatisfied couples. These results suggest that the endorsement of anxious relationship beliefs do not predict relationship status, but rather one’s intimate behaviour and (future) satisfaction with the relationship. Suggestions for further research are offered.