Extending the Theory of Resilience and Relational Load Into Polyamorous Relationships

Valerie Rubinsky


This article, framed through the theory of resilience and relational load (TRRL) investigated the effects of relational maintenance behaviors in polyamorous relationships. Specifically, it hypothesized that repeated use of prosocial maintenance behaviors would demonstrate relational investment and act as moderators for the effect of identity gaps, or feelings of discrepancy between aspects of one’s identity, on relational satisfaction and resilience. With a few exceptions, findings largely support the predictions of TRRL. Social networks, advice, positivity, openness, and shared tasks moderate the effects of personal-enacted identity gaps on relational satisfaction. Advice, social networks, and openness moderate the effects of personal-relational identity gaps on resilience. Allowing control, destructive conflict, and jealousy induction moderate the effects of personal-enacted identity gaps on relational satisfaction. Only spying of the negative maintenance behaviors moderates the effects of personal-relational identity gaps on relational satisfaction. For the most part, as predicted, positive relational maintenance behaviors appear to weaken, and antisocial maintenance behaviors strengthen, the negative association between identity gaps and relational satisfaction and resilience. Implications and limitations are discussed.


theory of resilience and relational load; polyamory; relational maintenance; resilience

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v13i2.364