In this thesis, I am examining the decision making process of how we choose our romantic partners. I use the term “settling” and in this thesis that term refers to the idea of accepting less than what you want in romantic relationships; it is the action of becoming comfortable/content and not searching for what one might know is better for oneself. Although this specific topic has not been explicitly studied under this term, there are underlining concepts that relate to “settling.” These concepts fall under the broader study of relational maintenance and relational satisfaction that is found in interpersonal communication literature. Canary and Stafford (1992) conceptualize these terms as the communication approach one utilizes to preserve the desired relationships (1992). Additionally, relationship maintenance impacts the relationship satisfaction of a person in a relationship due to what efforts are invested in the relationship. Researchers have suggested that relationship satisfaction is a defining factor of a partner’s decision to remain or terminate the relationship (Jang, S. A., et al., 2002; Dainton, 2003). This literature review will examine relationship maintenance and satisfaction and how it may relate to people settling for their partners, and the likelihood of people to maintaining their relationship. Additionally, attachment styles can be a contributing factor in why people may settle in their romantic relationships.
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