Analyze why relationships may change or end



Sternberg (1986) suggested the triangular theory of love with three components that many psychologists believe are important in close relationships:





Partners begin to develop an interdependent relationship from the beginning of their relationship and they gradually increase their mutual involvement. Successful couples tend to develop more commitment and intimacy over time than less successful couples.


Buunk (1998) Characteristics of happy and unhappy couples

Happy Couples

Unhappy Couples

  • Express their feelings openly and disclose their thoughts.
  • Show conflict-avoidance (e.g. not wanting to discuss problems).
  • Show affection and understanding of each others’ feelings (empathy and perspective taking).
  • Demonstrate soothing (e.g.ignoring or covering up differences).


  • Take part in destructive communication (e.g. criticizing, disagreeing, complaining).


Equity theory and relationship satisfaction



Investment model of commitment (theory)





Study to use: Sprecher (1999)