The Maintenance of Romantic Relationships

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Social Exchange Theory

-All social behaviour is due to exchanges. Maximise rewards and minimise costs. Rewards minus costs equals the outcomes. 

-We build a comparison level which is based on our past relationships and our view on other people's relationships. See them as attractive if they exceed our comparison level.


-Used to explain why some women choose to stay in abusive relationships. Investments high and alternatives low could be considered a profit situation.

-Comparison level could be how people deal with potential alternatives. 

-People involved in relationships asked to rate people in terms of attractiveness.. those who were in relationships gave lower ratings.

-SET does not explain why some poeple leave relationships despite having no alternatives.

-Criticised for docusing too…


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