Post-divorce friendship between ex-spouses and its effect upon satisfaction in subsequent romantic relationships

Stephen Edward Formanski (1995)

A convenience sample of volunteers who are involved in a new romantic relationship of at least six months duration and describe their current relationship with their ex-spouse as one of "friendship" was used to study post-divorce friendships between ex-spouses and its effect upon satisfaction in subsequent romantic relationships. To participate in the study respondents must be divorced for at least two years, define their relationship with their former spouse as one of friendship, and at least one of the former partners must be involved in a new heterosexual romantic relationship that is minimally of six months duration. Questionnaires were developed utilizing Rusbult's investment theory (1980), Walster's equity theory (1973), the concept of "divorceness" as described by Smith and Seelbach (1987), and the concept of symbolic interdependence as described by Stephens (1987). The questionnaire(s) produced information to test the hypotheses (a) that most friendships between ex-spouses are maintained because of continuing parental involvement with children (equity and investment theories); (b) that there was a negative impact upon the new romantic relationships within the first six months of that relationship because of the friendship between the ex-spouses; (c) that when one of the ex-spouses is involved in a romantic relationship, and the other is not, the interference is greater; and (d) that the time between divorce and beginning to date has an inverse relationship to the amount of negative interference upon the new relationship. Using an aggregate response scale on the data proved adequate to complete a Chi-square statistical analysis. An alpha level of 0.05 was used for all statistical tests. Hypothesis (a) was supported suggesting these ex-spouses may not be good friends but are able to cooperate as parents. The remaining hypotheses were not supported.