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Understanding Infidelity Forgiveness: An Application of Implicit Theories of Relationships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2020

Ashley E. Thompson*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Dallas Capesius
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Danica Kulibert
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA
Randi A. Doyle
Affiliation:
School of Social Sciences at Minerva Schools at KGI, San Francisco, California, USA
*
Address for correspondence: Ashley E. Thompson, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota Duluth, 1207 Ordean Court, Duluth, MN, USA. Email: thompsoa@d.umn.edu
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Abstract

Two studies were conducted to identify variables associated with hypothetical infidelity forgiveness and promote forgiveness by manipulating implicit theories of relationships (ITRs; destiny/growth beliefs). Study 1 assessed the relationship between the type of behaviour, sex of the forgiver, ITRs and infidelity forgiveness. Study 2 investigated the causal relationship between ITRs and infidelity forgiveness (including attachment insecurity as a moderator). Results revealed that male participants forgave a partner's infidelity to a greater extent than female participants and that solitary behaviours were rated as most forgivable, followed by emotional/affectionate and technology/online behaviours, and sexual/explicit behaviours as least forgivable. Male participants (not female participants) induced to endorse growth beliefs forgave a partner's emotional/affectionate and solitary infidelity to a greater extent than those induced to endorse destiny beliefs; attachment insecurity moderated this relationship. These results have important implications for researchers and practitioners working with couples in distress.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Australian Academic Press Pty Ltd 2020

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