Romantic Alternatives

Is Your Partner Pursuing Romantic Alternatives?

If your answer is ‘yes’ then read on

Interest in alternatives is a manifestation of low commitment. Researchers have found that social media is used to solicit romantic alternatives, irrespective of one’s relationship status. Romantic partners experiencing low commitment are more likely to send and accept friend requests with romantic interests (Drouin et al., 2014). Mutual satisfaction, the absence of alternatives, and investments made in the relationship help strengthen commitment (Rusbult, 1980). Some users consider their online friends as romantic alternatives, which can potentially lead to jealousy, surveillance, conflict, loss of trust, envy, social tension, and infidelity (Abbasi, 2018; Dibble et al., 2018). Researchers have also found that exposure to alternatives on social media is directly related to making a romantic comparison with one’s primary partner (de Lenne et al., 2018). Online communications also evoke romantic jealousy in the relationship (Muise et al., 2013).


Abbasi, I. S. (2018). Falling prey to online romantic alternatives: Evaluating social media alternative partners in committed versus dating relationships. Social Science Computer Review, 37(6), 723-733. doi:10.1177/0894439318793947 Drouin, M., Miller, D. A., & Dibble, J. L. (2014). Ignore your partners’ current Facebook friends; beware the ones they add. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 483–488. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.02.032 Dibble, J. L., Punyanunt-Carter, N., & Drouin, M. (2018). Maintaining relationship alternatives electronically: Positive relationship maintenance in back burner relationships. Communication Research Reports, 35,200-209.doi:10.1080/08824096.2018.1425985 de Lenne, O., Wittevronghel, L., Vandenbosch, L., & Eggermont, S. (2019). Romantic relationship commitment and the threat of alternatives on social media. Personal Relationships, 26, 680-693. Muise, A., Christofides, E., & Desmarais, S. (2009). More information than you ever wanted: Does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy? Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 12, 441–444. doi:10.1089/cpb. 2008.0263

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Dr. Abbasi founded as a ‘go-to-website’ where couples can learn ways to avoid harmful online behaviors and improve the quality of their relationship. In her research, Dr. Abbasi examined how social media use is linked with romantic relationship problems, mental health, personality, and mood.
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Romantic Alternatives

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