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Commitment Readiness May Be Key to Relationship Success

New research finds that timing is everything when it comes to entering into a successful long-term relationship; finding someone who is ready to commit is a strong indicator of whether the relationship will be successful.

Purdue University investigators said being ready to enter into a relationship leads to better relational outcomes and well-being.

“When a person feels more ready, this tends to amplify the effect of psychological commitment on relationship maintenance and stability,” said Dr. Chris Agnew, a professor of psychological sciences and vice president for research at Purdue.

“The reverse is also true, based on the results from the study; when a person feels less ready for commitment while in a relationship, they are less likely to act in ways to support that relationship.”

Research findings appear in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

For the investigation, Agnew and colleagues Dr. Benjamin Hadden and graduate student Ken Tan reviewed the results from four studies and five independent samples focusing on reported readiness and commitment to an ongoing relationship.

Investigators analyzed to what degree people were willing to be involved in the day to day behaviors that help maintain a relationship. The actions were deemed to be integral to the ultimate stability of a relationship.

Initially, investigators surveyed over 400 adults in committed relationships, assessing their sense that the current time was right for the relationship (i.e., their commitment readiness), their satisfaction with the relationship, and their investments in it. They found a robust correlation between current sense of readiness and one’s commitment level.

To follow up this initial study, Agnew and colleagues ran studies with university students, first in an initial assessment with over 200 students, and then as follow-ups with some participants five and seven months later to see who was still together.

Based on their results, being “commitment-ready” was a key predictor of both success and failure. Greater readiness predicted lower likelihood of leaving a relationship. Those feeling greater readiness to commit were 25 percent less likely to break up over time.

People who reported being highly committed to their current partner but didn’t feel that the current time was best for them to be in a relationship were also more likely to end a relationship than their peers who expressed greater readiness.

And those who were commitment-ready were more likely to do the day to day work needed to maintain the relationship.
Researchers acknowledge that feeling ready to commit to a relationship at a given time is very much an individual choice.

“People’s life history, relationship history, and personal preferences all play a role. One’s culture also transmits messages that may signal that one is more or less ready to commit,” said Agnew.

Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Commitment Readiness May Be Key to Relationship Success

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2019). Commitment Readiness May Be Key to Relationship Success. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 4 Mar 2019 (Originally: 4 Mar 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 4 Mar 2019
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