Intercorrelations of Intimacy and Identity Dating Goals with Relationship Behaviors and Satisfaction among Young Heterosexual Couples
Goals indicate what individuals are working towards in their present lives and what they want to achieve or avoid. In this study of 87 young, unmarried couples (age 17 to 25 years), intimacy and identity dating goals were assessed to investigate couple similarity in goals, associations between personal goals and relationship behaviors, and whether goals and behavior were associated with relationship satisfaction. Couples were similar in their intimacy goals but not their identity goals. As expected, intimacy goals were associated with behaviors when reported by the partner, including greater warmth, autonomy support and structure, and less rejection. One’s own intimacy goals and the positive behaviors of one’s partner, but not one’s own identity goals or the goals of the partner, were uniquely associated with relationship satisfaction. The findings suggest that individual differences in dating goals are relevant to understanding how young people behave with their partners, and why some individuals are more or less satisfied with their relationships.
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