To stay or to leave? The role of attachment styles in communication patterns and potential termination of romantic relationships following discovery of deception

Academic Article


  • The present study investigated communication patterns and subsequent relational outcomes following romantic partners' deception for people with different attachment styles. Information on attachment styles, information importance of the lie, emotional intensity following discovery of the lie, communication patterns following the discovery of the lie, and relational termination outcomes of the 213 participants who reported being deceived by a relational partner were gathered. Analyses revealed that respondents with a secure attachment style were more likely to report talking about the issue, whereas anxious/ambivalents were more likely to report talking around and avoiding the issue. These two attachment groups reported being apt to continue their relationships. Conversely, respondents with an avoidant attachment style reported being more likely to avoid the person after discovery of the lie, and they tended to report terminating their romantic relationships more than the other two attachment style groups. The results were consistent with the hypothesis that communication patterns following discovery of the partner's deception are related to attachment styles, but information importance and avoiding the person were directly related to relational termination.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jang SA; Smith SW; Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 236
  • End Page

  • 252
  • Volume

  • 69
  • Issue

  • 3