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Infidelity can be a traumatic occurrence in a relationship. People tend to believe that sexual behavior should be exclusive to a romantic relationship but are less certain about which types of nonsexual behaviors are acceptable in other relationships. The Relationship Issues Scale (RIS) was developed to explore attitudes/values and expectations/behaviors regarding relationship exclusivity and nonexclusivity (which may or may not include infidelity). Three studies resulted in a final 37-item scale that measures eight dimensions of relationship exclusivity/nonexclusivity. Validity for the RIS was assessed through correlations with permissive sexuality, idealistic sexuality, and relationship satisfaction. Analyses also showed that men were more likely than women to favor nonexclusivity. Three additional sets of items examined participants' frequency of communication about and participation in various nonexclusive activities. Results suggest that relationship exclusivity/nonexclusivity is a significant and complex but promising and important area of relationship research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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