Does expecting positive outcomes--especially in important life domains such as relationships--make these positive outcomes more likely? In a longitudinal study of dating couples, the authors tested whether optimists (who have a cognitive disposition to expect positive outcomes) and their romantic partners are more satisfied in their relationships, and if so, whether this is due to optimists perceiving greater support from their partners. In cross-sectional analyses, both optimists and their partners indicated greater relationship satisfaction, an effect that was mediated by optimists' greater perceived support. When the couples engaged in a conflict conversation, optimists and their partners saw each other as engaging more constructively during the conflict, which in turn led both partners to feel that the conflict was better resolved 1 week later. In a 1-year follow-up, men's optimism predicted relationship status. Effects of optimism were mediated by the optimists' perceived support, which appears to promote a variety of beneficial processes in romantic relationships.
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