Withdrawal, Attachment Security, and Recovery from Conflict in Couple Relationships
This study used 115 cohabiting couple partners' 21-day diaries, with which they reported each evening on their moods and their relationships, to test hypotheses about connections between withdrawal following conflict, attachment insecurity, and affective recovery from conflict (i.e., post-conflict relationship satisfaction, positive and negative mood, and intimacy). Individuals reported on their own and their partners' post-conflict withdrawals. Results indicated that individuals who withdrew following conflicts, or whose partners withdrew, experienced worse post-conflict affective recoveries, particularly if they intended to punish their partners by withdrawing. Conversely, withdrawing from a punitive partner buffered the individual from some aftereffects of conflict. Support for our hypothesis that anxious attachment would exacerbate effects of withdrawing on recovery was unexpectedly weak. Conclusions address the negative and punishing impact of post-conflict withdrawing on couple partners' affective recoveries and associations between anxious attachment and post-conflict recovery.