The calm after the storm: Relationship length as associated with couples’ daily variability

Casey J. Totenhagen, Emily A. Butler, Melissa A. Curran, Joyce Serido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We examined whether seven relational constructs (satisfaction, commitment, closeness, conflict, ambivalence, maintenance, and love) showed significant within-person residual variance over time (variability), whether couple members were similar in their variability (covariation), and whether variability and covariation differed by relationship length. We used dyadic daily diary data from 157 couples together from 2 months to 44 years. Each relational construct significantly varied within person from day to day, and couple members significantly covaried. Longer term couples generally experienced less variability than newer couples. We also found that for satisfaction, closeness, ambivalence, and love, couple covariation decreased in longer relationships. We discuss how these findings can be used to help individuals work to maintain greater stability in their feelings about the relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)768-791
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Covariation
  • daily diary
  • relationship length
  • relationship quality
  • romantic relationships
  • variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The calm after the storm: Relationship length as associated with couples’ daily variability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this