Ellen F Krueger, Angel Luis, Emily N Panella, Hind Sallih, Gabriella M Vargas



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Long distance relationships (LDR) are becoming more common, even though romantic partners are typically characterized as being closer in proximity. There are other reasons couples are in LDR other than separation or divorce, these include: attaining an educational degree, pursuing careers, military deployment, and emigration. Relational maintenance behaviors are used to preserve and improve the relationship and thus increase and maintain relationship satisfaction. Idealization is a specific maintenance behavior in which a partner unrealistically focuses on the positive aspects of their partner and relationship, remembering less disagreements or areas of contention. LDR couples tend to idealize each other more because of geographical distance and lack of physical proximity. Physical and/or emotional infidelity can be due to: sexuality, emotional satisfaction, social context, attitudes-norms, and revenge-hostility. From an evolutionary perspective, men have the opportunity to have a LDR with a partner but are also afforded the opportunity to cheat and “get away” with it, potentially having more chances at having viable offspring. This study examined how maintenance behaviors impact cheating in long distance relationships. The over-arching hypothesis for this study is even when engaging in maintenance behaviors (which increase or maintain relationship satisfaction) individuals in romantic relationships will still cheat on their partner. Additionally, a specific maintenance behavior, idealization, will an additionally mediate the relationship between maintenance behaviors. However we predict there will be gender differences such that males will idealize their partner less and be more likely engage in infidelity, whereas females will idealize their partner more and will engage in infidelity to a significantly lesser extent than males.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research - Graduate

Primary Advisor

Lee J. Dixon

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Idealization, Maintenance Behaviors, and Infidelity Among Couples in Long Distance Relationships