This study focuses on beliefs about intimate relationships, and how these beliefs are related to individuals' experiences in ongoing romantic relationships. More specifically, we examined how unrealistic beliefs contributed to commitment and components of the investment model (rewards, costs, match to ideal comparison level, alternatives, investment size, barriers). Two types of beliefs were examined: unrealistic gendered beliefs focused on assumptions about irreconcilable differences in men and women's relational needs, whereas unrealistic relationship-specific beliefs reflected standards about perfection and mindreading in interactions with one's romantic partner. Females' unrealistic gendered beliefs and relationship-specific beliefs were associated with more alternatives, lower match to ideal comparison levels and lower commitment. Regression analyses indicated that components of the investment model mediated the relationship between (i) commitment and gendered relationship beliefs and (ii) commitment and relationship-specific beliefs for females. Males' gendered beliefs were not related to commitment or any component of the investment model; relationship-specific beliefs were associated with greater costs and greater alternatives. No mediating effects in the relationship between commitment and relationship-specific beliefs were detected for males. The results are discussed in the context of previous research and gender socialization.
- Investment model