There are lots of decisions to make when you’re in a relationship. Some are mundane: what to eat for dinner, which movie to go see, or where to go on vacation. Other decisions are more important for the development of the relationship: when to say I love you, when to have sex, whether to move in together, and whether to have children. In fact, research on cohabitation suggests that a majority of couples enter cohabitation because of inertia (i.e., it just sort happens or seems like the next logical step) rather than with a purposeful decision.1 This raises an interesting question: do some people approach relationship decisions more actively and with more thoughtfulness than others? To assess this, researchers from Florida State University2 created the Relationship Deciding Scale.**
How thoughtful are you about decisions in your relationship? Take the quiz to find out…
For each item, please indicate how much you agree by using the following scale:
Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 Strong Agree
1. I believe I will be able to effectively deal with conflicts that arise in my relationships.
2. I feel good about the prospects of making a romantic relationship last.
3. I am very confident when I think of having a stable, long term relationship.
4. I have the skills needed for a lasting stable romantic relationship.
5. I am able to recognize early on the warning signs in a bad relationship.
6. I know what to do when I recognize the warning signs in a bad relationship.
7. I am quickly able to see warning signals in a romantic relationship.
8. With romantic partners, I weigh the pros and cons before allowing myself to take the next step in the relationship (e.g., be physically intimate).
9. It is important to make conscious decisions about whether to take each major step in romantic relationships.
10. Considering the pros and cons of each major step in a romantic relationship is good for chemistry.
11. It is important to me to discuss with my partner each major step we take in the relationship.
12. It is better to think carefully about each major step in a romantic relationship, rather than “go with the flow.”
- Your score on items 1-4 indicates your level of confidence in being able to maintain your relationship (add up your responses to items 1-4; if you scored 16 and up, you are high on this dimension).
- Your score on items 5-7 indicates your awareness and perceived ability to deal with relationship warning signs (if you scored 16 and up, you are high on this dimension).
- Your score on items 8-12 indicates your inclination to thoughtfully consider relationship decisions (if you scored 20 and up, you are high on this dimension).
Data from over 900 participants indicates that individuals higher on these dimensions were better at conflict management and resolution, were more dedicated to the relationship, had more self-control, had more positive interactions, and were more satisfied.2 That is, individuals who score higher on this scale should be able to control their impulses (i.e., avoid kissing random people behind their partner’s back), they should pick up on signs of relationship problems earlier, and should more carefully weigh the pros and cons of starting a long-term relationship, or deciding to move in together. People already put a lot of time and effort into making decisions about their wedding, and this shows some of the benefits for doing the same with your relationship.
** For the purpose of this article, the scale has been modified by reordering items and rewording reverse-coded items. This version is not for research purposes. For the original scale, please consult the original article (Vennum & Fincham, 2011).
1Manning, W. D., & Smock, P. (2005). Measuring and modeling cohabitation: New perspectives from qualitative data. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 989–1002. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00189.x
2Vennum, A., & Fincham, F. D. (2011). Assessing decision making in young adult romantic relationships. Psychological Assessment, 23(3), 739-751. doi:10.1037/a0023287
Dr. Gary Lewandowski - Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Lewandowski's research explores the role of the self in romantic relationships with a specific focus on self-expansion. He has authored dozens of publications for both academic and non-academic audiences and is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.