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Interdependence theory is a powerful and applicable theory that has shaped the study of interpersonal relationships for decades, providing foundational constructs and elucidating key assumptions within the burgeoning field of relationship science. Research guided by interdependence theory sheds light on the diverse phenomena within ongoing relationships, including the emergence of co-operation, trust, dependence, power, and relationship maintenance. At its core, interdependence theory pinpoints key elements of daily interactions that predict specific experiences and outcomes that people have in different situations. This handbook goes further to explain how interdependence theory continues to be used fruitfully in research, driving our current understanding of relational processes. We invite you to enter the world of interdependence and discover what top scholars across disciplines are discussing in their efforts to fully understand close, intimate relationships.
As in all areas of life, timing matters in romantic relationships. At any given time and at various points throughout life, a person is more or less receptive to romantic involvement. Relationship receptivity theory centers on the proposition that perceived personal timing is consequential for relationship outcomes, including relationship initiation, maintenance, and stability. More specifically, at any given moment in life, a person can be said to be receptive to a relationship in so far as they a) want to be in a romantic relationship (termed relationship desirability) and b) feel ready to be in a romantic relationship (termed relationship readiness). These two key constructs, desire and readiness, can be in reference to a short-term relationship (e.g., as encapsulated in the desirability thought “I really want to be close to someone tonight”) or a long-term involvement (e.g., as encapsulated in the readiness thought “I’m ready to settle down”) and will wax and wane throughout the life course. This chapter introduces the theory and its major tenets, including a consideration of hypothesized antecedents and consequences of relationship receptivity. We posit that receptivity constructs are useful in understanding relational cognitions, emotions, motivations, and behaviors, and in predicting important relationship outcomes, among currently single people as well as among those currently involved in a romantic relationship. Future directions for research within the framework of the theory are also offered.
Donor insemination (DI) has undergone radical changes in the last 25 years, for example exclusive use of frozen semen, and increasing use of DI for single women. A summary of these is presented as are the potential challenges we still face. The latter include key questions such as what are the key methods for optimising treatment. Can we improve our success rates? If so, how can this be done? Moreover, the use of DI as a research tool, often ignored, is presented.
How do people maintain their closest relationships? In this chapter, we present an interdependence account of how people maintain their relationships with others. Interdependence theory, first articulated by Thibaut and Kelley, was formulated to explain how people choose among potential courses of action in interdependent situations featuring problems of actor coordination and decision-making. Because romantic partners are often faced with daily choices within their relationship (e.g., Should we go to the movie my partner wants to see rather than what I want to see? Should I stay in this relationship or pursue an alternate?), interdependence theory is well suited for understanding relationship maintenance processes. We begin by discussing why relationship maintenance is necessary. We then review the set of processes – behavioral and cognitive – that help keep interdependent relationships intact, despite the fact that situational actors must adapt to constantly changing situations. Central to these processes is one’s commitment to a relationship, which, once established, causes maintaining a relationship to become an automatic, default option under ordinary circumstances.