Formation of Romantic Relationships

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Discuss research into the Formation of romantic relationships. (8 + 16 marks)
Walster`s matching hypothesis implies that persons search for a partner is influenced by what they want in a partner and who they think they can get as a partner. The more socially desirable a person is, the more they would expect their potential partner to be. In this sense, most people are in fact influenced by their chances of having affection reciprocated. This relates to how someone may feel that another individual is ‘out of their league’, where they deem the chances of such individual returning their affection as improbable. Overall the initial attraction towards someone would be determined by a comparison between the other person’s attractiveness and their own attractiveness. Those that are matched in social desirability are more likely to interact affectionately and consequently are more likely to have successful relationships than individuals that are mismatched.
The Filter theory (Kerckoff and Davis, 1962) suggests that relationships develop in three stages and at each stage; different kinds of people are filtered out as unsuitable leaving a smaller group of ‘desirable’ partners. The social demographic filter is where most people meet others who are similar to them, live nearby, same school/work, etc. People from different social backgrounds are less likely to be encountered. Then similarity of attitudes and beliefs becomes important- when they get to know each other people with similar interests and beliefs are easier to talk to. Dissimilar people are filtered out because they are harder to speak to. Then Complementary needs become important after 18 months, which is how well the two people fit together and meet each other’s needs.
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Outline and evaluate one theory of the maintenance of romantic relationships (4 marks + 8 marks)
Social exchange theory (Thibault and

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