Welcome to Relevate

We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners who are on a mission to make research-based information about interpersonal relationships accessible to all. As part of this mission, we are creating a website and smart phone app that can be tailored to meet the needs of each user. We believe healthy relationships are worth working for. Do you?

On-Off Romantic Relationships

Amber Vennum

An on-again off-again relationship is when people date, break-up and then date again. These renewed relationships suffer from a host of maladies. Is there ever a time when it's ok to get back with an ex?

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Topics:
  • Breaking Up
    What we know about break ups. The process of leaving and recovering from the ending of a relationship
    Commitment
    The role of commitment in romantic relationships and how to navigate it
    Ex-partners
    Understanding and managing the impact of ex-partners still in the picture (as friends, co-workers, or co-parents)
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
  • Relationship Sacrifice

    Natalie Pennington

    Is it worth it to give in to your partner all the time? 

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    Topics:
  • Commitment
    The role of commitment in romantic relationships and how to navigate it
    Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
    Media & Technology
    The influence of media and technology on romantic relationships
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
  • Do your family and friends have to like your partner?

    Kale Monk

    According to research, external support of your relationship is vital for it's longevity. This article provides a critique to the "Romeo & Juliet Phenomenon."

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    Topics:
  • Breaking Up
    What we know about break ups. The process of leaving and recovering from the ending of a relationship
    Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
  • Weak and Strong Links: Asymmetrical Commitment in Unmarried Relationships

    Scott Sibley

    Wonderful article by Dr. Scott Stanley! If you desire lasting love, don't wait too long to clarify if your partner wants the same future.

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    Topics:
  • Commitment
    The role of commitment in romantic relationships and how to navigate it
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
  • Does Marital Happiness Always Decline Over Time?

    Relevate Account

    Not all marriages experience a decline in relationship happiness. Learn what 3 things couples are doing to stay happy over time.  

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    Ways to Love Freely Without Losing Yourself

    Relevate Account

    Boundaries in relationships don't have to ruin the romance. They provide protection for our hearts and also free us up to love more fully. Check out these 5 steps for setting up healthy boundaries in relationships. 

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    Topics:
  • Commitment
    The role of commitment in romantic relationships and how to navigate it
    Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
    Maintaining Self in Relationships
    Balancing personal and relationship identity development
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
  • Campus Sex...With a Syllabus

    Relevate Account

    Lessons about consent have been few and far between for many. Check out what Jonathan Kalin, founder of the organization Party with Consent has to say about the messages received from media about sex and how this contrasts with real life. 

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    Topics:
  • Physical, Emotional, & Sexual Violence
    Preventing, identifying, reducing, ending, and recovering from all types of relationship aggression (physical, emotional, and sexual)
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
    Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
    Media & Technology
    The influence of media and technology on romantic relationships
    Relationship Education
    Accessing knowledge to enhance your positive contributions to a relationship in the present or future
    Risky Behaviors
    Learning what behaviors put you and your relationship at risk for distress and ways to create more adaptive behaviors
    Sexuality
    Development, culture, and values related to human sexuality and talking about sex in relationships
  • What Your Brain Does After Rejection

    Relevate Account

    Could it ever be the case that rejection has a positive outcome? See this brief article for a look into what studies have found to be "an instinctive positive pshycological response" to rejection. Hint: this might help us make new friends. 

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    Topics:
  • Mate Selection
    The process of choosing a partner
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
  • Post-Divorce Dating and Relationships

    Relevate Account

    Although divorce can be a negative experience, for some it is a catalyst for new perspectives on relationships that provide a context for future relationships to thrive. Learn more about what researchers found from interviewing divorced men and women aged 21-63.

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    Topics:
  • Separation & Divorce
    The many facets of witnessing, considering, experiencing, and recovering from separation & divorce
    Gender Identity & Roles
    Gender identity: how it develops over time, how it plays out in romantic relationships, and strategies for negotiating roles in relationships
    Maintaining Self in Relationships
    Balancing personal and relationship identity development
    Re-Partnering & Remarriage
    Re-entering romantic relationships after the ending of a serious relationship or marriage
    Life Transitions
    Managing the uncertainty and competing demands that come with certain life transitions (going to college, starting a career, moving, etc.) while in or preparing for a romantic relationship
  • U.S. Divorce Trends Based on Age

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    The 50% divorce rate is not exactly what it seems. Susan Brown from Bowling Green State University speaks to the rise in divorce among Baby Boomers and the fall of divorce rates among younger people. Learn how age, income, and other factors play a part. 

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    Topics:
  • Separation & Divorce
    The many facets of witnessing, considering, experiencing, and recovering from separation & divorce
    Socioeconomic Context
    The influence of socioeconomic factors (e.g., income, education) on relationships
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Re-Partnering & Remarriage
    Re-entering romantic relationships after the ending of a serious relationship or marriage
  • Improve Your Relationship's Communal Strength

    Relevate Account

    Expressing gratitude can strengthen how much you care for your partner and desire to meet their needs. Click to start now! 

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    Social Support

    Relevate Account

    Having social support in relationships is a major bonus! Learn what this support can do and how best to give it! 

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    Texting and Face to Face Communication

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    Ever wonder the dos and don'ts of texting in relationships? Here's a look at the breakdown for different levels of couple commitment.

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    Interracial Relationships

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    Learn trends of interracial relationships and how location and generational context relate to these numbers. 

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    How Does Your Relationship Status Benefit You?

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    The grass seems greener on the other side, but your status has its perks too! You're in good company and Relevate has your back. 

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    Do You Engage In Relationship Maintenance?

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    Fan that flame! It's important to practice these top 5 relationship maintenance strategies for a happy, nourished relationship. 

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    Envisioning Your Future

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    Become a vision builder with your partner. Follow this brief activity to help you and your partner articulate a vision for the future. 

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    Can a Bad Romance Hurt Your Health?

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    Taking care of your relationship is part of taking care of yourself. Learn how relationship health and physical health are connected.

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    Technoference: How Technology Can Hurt Relationships

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    How often is technology interfering with the quality of couple relationships? Find the stats here, and learn more about ways to prevent this interference from compromising your own relationships. Thanks to Brandon McDaniel and Sarah Coyne for highlighting this research! 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Media & Technology
    The influence of media and technology on romantic relationships
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
  • Writing to Heal: The Impact of Expressive Writing on Individual and Relational Well-Being

    Relevate Account

    Grabbing that pen and paper could make a difference for you! Writing about yourself and your relationships has the power to help you understand more about your experiences and yourself as found in research. Check out this article at the Science of Relationships blog to learn more about how exactly to engage in this helpful practice as told by Dr. Jessica Moore. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Maintaining Self in Relationships
    Balancing personal and relationship identity development
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
    Trauma
    The influence of past and current traumatic events on romantic relationships and vice-versa
  • No Yelling...And 9 Other Rules for Fair Fighting

    Relevate Account

    Such an important topic as conflict is totally normal and expected in all relationships. If we are bound to have conflicts, we can at least be prepared for how to handle them in the best manner possible. The Relevate team loves this advice and the follow up steps offered by Michelle at the #staymarried blog. The way in which you fight has a lot of influence on your wellness.

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    Topics:
  • Physical, Emotional, & Sexual Violence
    Preventing, identifying, reducing, ending, and recovering from all types of relationship aggression (physical, emotional, and sexual)
    Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
  • Anger and the Couple's Bed

    Relevate Account

    Couples that share a bed can find themselves in a heated argument at the inconvenient time before a night of sleep. What do they do? Stay awake and talk it out, no matter how long it takes or how tired they are? Sleep on it? Make a brief connection before going to bed even if it's unresolved? See what different couples said they do in this situation as told by Dr. Paul Rosenblatt.

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    Topics:
  • Cohabitation
    Understanding living together: the ins, the outs, and the how-tos
    Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
    Forgiveness
    Understanding and navigating forgiveness and atonement in romantic relationships
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
  • The Behavior That is the #1 Predictor of Divorce. Do You Do This?

    Relevate Account

    You might be guilty of this damaging behavior in your relationships. Although we can often see this used in a humorous fashion on our favortie shows, eye-rolling and heavy sarcasm can set your relationship up for trouble. Read more to learn just how much of an impact these behaviors have on a couple's future as discovered by one of our favorite researchers, John Gottman. 

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    Topics:
  • Breaking Up
    What we know about break ups. The process of leaving and recovering from the ending of a relationship
    Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
  • Are You Turning Towards Your Partner?

    Relevate Account

    The act of "turning toward" your partner will do wonders for the success of your relationship. The more often this happens the more you will nurture a positive relationship experience. It might even save your relationship! Learn more about what this act is and how to check if you're practicing it or not. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
  • Your Face: The Window to Your Love Life

    Relevate Account

    Your face is a powerful part of you and has a lot to do in your communication with others. Learn more about just how much facial expressions do influence communication in relationships and how you can take advantage of this in your love life. Thanks Dr. Jason B. Whiting for this insight! 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Mate Selection
    The process of choosing a partner
    Sexuality
    Development, culture, and values related to human sexuality and talking about sex in relationships
  • Why You Should Have More Empathy

    Relevate Account

    Being sensitive to others' feelings and expressing that empathy can help relationships. The ability to express empathy in a caring way can be genetic, but is often a result of one's childhood obervations of what people around them did in the face of emotions. Thankfully, science shows us that simply making efforts to express empathy increases relationship happiness. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
    Impact of Childhood Family Processes on Offspring Romantic Relationships
    How one’s experiences interacting with important others growing up influence adult romantic relationships and strategies for keeping the positives and changing what’s not working
    Gender Identity & Roles
    Gender identity: how it develops over time, how it plays out in romantic relationships, and strategies for negotiating roles in relationships
  • 4 Tips to Help You Stop Arguing With Your Spouse

    Relevate Account

    Conflict is inevitable in relationships, but unnecessary conflict is not worth wearing down your relationshp. See these suggested tips for having better conversations in conflict. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
  • Practice May Not Make Perfect: Relationship Experience and Marital Success

    Relevate Account

    More is not necessarily better. Having more relationship experiences prior to marriage may make it more difficult to have success in marriage, especially considering amount of sexual and cohabiting partners. Learn what specific experiences contribute to difficulty in marriage and reasons why this is so. 

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    Topics:
  • Breaking Up
    What we know about break ups. The process of leaving and recovering from the ending of a relationship
    Cohabitation
    Understanding living together: the ins, the outs, and the how-tos
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
  • One-Night Stand Regrets May Differ for Men and Women

    Relevate Account

    For men and women it seems that any regrets experienced after one-night stands are different based on gender. In this research, women were more likely to report regretting having the one-night stand and didn't report feeling sorry when they said no. Contrastly, men reported unhappiness with saying no, although some did report regrets of casual sex. See details of this science here!

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    Topics:
  • Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
    Gender Identity & Roles
    Gender identity: how it develops over time, how it plays out in romantic relationships, and strategies for negotiating roles in relationships
    Sexuality
    Development, culture, and values related to human sexuality and talking about sex in relationships
  • Single and (Not?) Lonely: How Socially Connected are Married vs. Single People

    Relevate Account

    Being single is not actually a lonely status like the stereotype suggests. In fact, single people often have more contact with family and friends compared to those in relationships! Read on as Dr. Benjamin Le at Science of Relationships busts this myth. 

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    Topics:
  • Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
    Maintaining Self in Relationships
    Balancing personal and relationship identity development
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Mental Health & Personal Development
    Understanding and maximizing what each person brings to their romantic relationships and how relationships impact our mental health
  • Everyone Lies on the Internet...

    Relevate Account

    Presenting oneself from behind a screen allows for choice of what others will see. With that comes the temptation to alter facts or mislead followers. Before you compare yourself to others who look like they have amazingly flawless lives, consider that people lie on the internet. Learn more about how "online deception is the rule, not the exception."

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    Topics:
  • Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
    Media & Technology
    The influence of media and technology on romantic relationships
  • Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness

    Relevate Account

    In Britain, loneliness is being viewed as a public health concern worth noticing. Researchers have found loneliness to be connected to declines in physical and cognitive health. As social beings, we are in need of social connection and support to thrive. Read on to learn more about the facinating research done on loneliness and its effects. 

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    Topics:
  • Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
    Human Development
    Changes in romantic relationship development, priorities, and issues at different ages
    Physical Health
    Physical health in romantic relationships
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
    Life Transitions
    Managing the uncertainty and competing demands that come with certain life transitions (going to college, starting a career, moving, etc.) while in or preparing for a romantic relationship
  • Sleepless in Seattle

    Relevate Account

    Could better sleep help our relationships? Read what was learned from tracking 78 couples over a 2-week period who were asked to make notes daily about their sleep quality and any arguments they had as a couple. Would you believe that even one night of poor sleep was associated with increased conflict in the relationship the next day? Yet another reason sleep is important. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Parenting/Transition to Parenthood
    Recognizing the interaction between parenting and romantic relationship quality and how to sustain your relationship throughout the life stage of parenthood
    Physical Health
    Physical health in romantic relationships
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship
  • 5 Myths About Happy Relationships, Debunked

    Relevate Account

    The Gottman's do it again! These relationship researchers (and experienced married couple) bust 5 myths people often hold of marriage. Instead of buying into these myths, read what Julie and John Gottman have to say about what does lead to better marriages. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
  • How to Ace Your First Dates

    Relevate Account

    Dr. Terri Orbuch does not disappoint! She's got your back here with 8 straightforward strategies for giving a great impression on the first date. First dates can be full of nerves and excitement and these strategies can help you channel that energy in a helpful way! 

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    Topics:
  • Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Maintaining Self in Relationships
    Balancing personal and relationship identity development
    Values
    Recognizing and understanding how partners’ values (e.g., adventure, commitment, humor, etc.) influence expectations and behaviors in romantic relationships
  • Couples Who are Fair About Housework Have More Sex

    Relevate Account

    What do household chores have to do with sex? Some researchers have evidence that couples who share more housework have less sex. Newer research offers a different perspective, however. It seems that people in egalitarian marriages are actually having more sex now as things are changing regarding how sexual roles are viewed in partnerships. Check out the research on this difference.

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    Topics:
  • Decision Making in Relationships
    From every day moments to large relationship transitions: understanding and improving decision making in romantic relationships
    Gender Identity & Roles
    Gender identity: how it develops over time, how it plays out in romantic relationships, and strategies for negotiating roles in relationships
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Sexuality
    Development, culture, and values related to human sexuality and talking about sex in relationships
    Values
    Recognizing and understanding how partners’ values (e.g., adventure, commitment, humor, etc.) influence expectations and behaviors in romantic relationships
  • Satisfied Partners Tend to Minimize Relationship Threats

    Relevate Account

    Being satisfied in your own relationship can protect you from tempations outside of the relationship as they actually become less attractive to you. Keep reading and leave it to the researchers to explain this phenomenon! 

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    Topics:
  • Commitment
    The role of commitment in romantic relationships and how to navigate it
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Infidelity
    Processing and coping with infidelity
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
  • Can You Find Your Soulmate?

    Relevate Account

    Media will certainly have you believing that your soulmate exists if you didn't think so already. Although compatibility is often set as a gold standard for relationships to thrive, researcher, Dr. Ted Hudson found in his study that unhappy couples and happy couples had no differences in their degree of compatibility. Read on to learn what actually made the difference.

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Mate Selection
    The process of choosing a partner
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
    Values
    Recognizing and understanding how partners’ values (e.g., adventure, commitment, humor, etc.) influence expectations and behaviors in romantic relationships
  • What Research Tells Us About the Most Successful Relationships

    Relevate Account

    This fun article is a must read for people in and out of relationships. Click to reveal 6 trending research findings that contribte to successful relationships. 

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    Topics:
  • Communication & Conflict
    The delicate art of communication in romantic relationships
    Dating, Courtship, & Relationship Development
    Understanding relationship development and strategies for successfully beginning and fostering a romantic relationship
    Social Pressure & Support
    Understanding and managing the influence of friends and family on romantic relationships and vice-versa
    Marriage
    The civil, religious, and relational aspects of marriage and how to make it successful
    Preventing Relationship Distress & Instability
    Factors that decrease risk and increase protective factors of romantic relationships
    Relationship Maintenance
    Ways to keep your relationship working and healthy
    Stress, Resilience, & Coping
    How to manage stress coming from outside or inside a romantic relationship