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Divorce is a process rather than a discrete event, and this process potentially leads to a variety of relationship configurations. In this chapter, we discuss demographic information related to divorce and step-relationships, as well as the process of divorce and post-divorce relationship formations. From the 1960’s to 1990’s, the United States experienced a period of increasingly favorable attitudes toward divorce; today, over half of Americans recognize that divorce may be preferred to an unhappy marriage. Although divorce rates have declined since the 1980’s (mostly due to decreasing marriage rates and increasing cohabitation rates, especially among ethnic minorities), divorce is still relatively common. The process of divorce contains multiple dimensions (e.g., economic, emotional, community), and individuals adjust to these dimensions with varying degrees of effectiveness. Coparenting relationships after divorce may range from nonexistent to cordial to contentious. People quickly repartner after divorce; many cohabit, and eventually remarry. Repartnering after divorce, especially for parents and their children, involves complex interpersonal dynamics that require building new intimate relationships while maintaining bonds with former spouses and nonresidential parents. We recommend that researchers investigate relationship-maintenance and relationship-building following divorce. A better understanding of cohabiting relationships, remarriages, serial unions, and coparenting would be beneficial.
The temptation to engage in extradyadic sex and the tendency to respond with jealousy to such behavior by one's partner are interrelated and universal human phenomena, which are part of our human evolutionary heritage. In the present chapter, we first discuss the norms with respect to extradyadic sex, the incidence of extradyadic sexual involvement, and determinants of such involvement, for example attitudes towards sexuality, attachment styles, and relationship factors. In the second part of the chapter we focus on the consequences of extradyadic involvement for the individual and the primary relationship, with a particular focus on the experience of jealousy. After discussing several types of jealousy, we discuss the determinants of jealousy, such as the type of infidelity, the characteristics of the romantic rival, and the influence of hormones. The final part of the chapter is devoted to coping with extradyadic sex and jealousy as well as therapeutic approaches.
This chapter reviews scholarship on marital well-being, focusing on the affective dynamics within marriage. It provides a conceptual overview of the literature and suggests directions that may lead to a better understanding of how and why marriages change. Specifically, the chapter describes the emotional climate of marriage, arguing that it is crucial to examine both positive and negative affect in marriage, separately and in combination. The chapter also describes a model of the emotional climate of a marriage with two core constructs: affection and antagonism. Next, the chapter discusses the importance of taking a developmental perspective of marriage, and then reviews and critiques various theoretical models of how marriages change, including (a) the emergent distress model, (b) the disillusionment model, (c) the enduring dynamics model, and (d) accommodation models. The chapter also examines factors that influence why marriages change in particular ways, such as courtship, characteristics of spouses, and life events. The chapter concludes with recommendations that future work on marriage focus greater attention on (a) diversity in marriage, (b) multiple aspects of affect, and (c) the varied pathways toward dissatisfaction and/or divorce.