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Understanding Infidelity Forgiveness: An Application of Implicit Theories of Relationships

  • Ashley E. Thompson (a1), Dallas Capesius (a1), Danica Kulibert (a2) and Randi A. Doyle (a3)


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.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Ashley E. Thompson, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota Duluth, 1207 Ordean Court, Duluth, MN, USA. Email:


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Understanding Infidelity Forgiveness: An Application of Implicit Theories of Relationships

  • Ashley E. Thompson (a1), Dallas Capesius (a1), Danica Kulibert (a2) and Randi A. Doyle (a3)


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