Forgiven, not forgotten: exploring the role of emotions in close relationship betrayal, punishment, and repair

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


    Close relationships have been described as the crucible in which powerful emotions are formed; to date, however, there have been relatively few studies in this important area. The aim of this paper is to discuss the results of my research program on laypeople’s experiences of, and theories about, betrayal and forgiveness in close relationships. Drawing on a social-evolutionary-psychological approach to emotion I will focus, in particular, on the role of emotions like anger, hate, guilt, and shame, and so-called “emotional intelligence” in close relationship betrayal and forgiveness. The roles of empathy, revenge, and remorse in relationship repair will also be addressed, along with various individual difference variables including narcissism, emotional intelligence, guilt- proneness, shame-proneness, and attachment style. The importance of humiliation and powerlessness as important elicitors of hate, and of dispositional shame-proneness as an impediment both to “forgiving and forgetting” a partner’s offence, will be discussed. Finally, I will explore the implications of this research program for enriching our theoretical understanding of the role of emotions in relationship breakdown and repair, and for enhancing the potential effectiveness of relationship counselling and therapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-217
    Number of pages2
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue numberSuppl. 1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventAnnual Conference of the APS Psychology of Relationships Interest Group (6th : 2006) - Melbourne
    Duration: 11 Nov 200612 Nov 2006


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