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Bozoyan, Christiane and Schmiedeberg, Claudia (2020): Zufriedenheit in der Partnerschaft und Untreue: Ein Zusammenhang, zwei Richtungen. In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Vol. 72, No. 1: pp. 1-31

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How are unfaithful behavior and relationship satisfaction connected? It seems plausible that relationship quality has an influence on unfaithfulness: the less satisfied a partner is in a relationship, the more he or she will look for external relations. However, this does not exclude that relationship quality changes after the infidelity episode, for example, due to conflicts and marriage crises triggered by the unfaithfulness or to reduce feelings of cognitive dissonance. Using fixed-effects models based on data from the German Family Panelpairfamduring an observation period from 2008 to 2016, we investigated both causal pathways with a longitudinal design and measurement points 1 or 2 years apart. We show that relationship satisfaction and infidelity are associated and that the influence of infidelity on relationship satisfaction is greater for women than for men. Although the association between relationship satisfaction and risk of infidelity is relatively low, it is shown that the risk of being unfaithful increases sharply if long-term commitment to the relationship decreases.

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