What makes a good relationship? Predictors of existential fulfilment in heterosexual romantic relationships
The study aimed to explore the predictors of existential fulfilment in close relationship, an operationalization of relationship quality based on Längle’s existential analytic approach, using a cross-sectional design. The participants were 309 adults who completed an online questionnaire. We used Test of Existential Motivations in Relationships, a 36-item instrument measuring the fulfilment of 4 fundamental motivations, together with measures of subjective well-being, positive self-attitude, alienation, and psychopathology, controlling for age, gender, and relationship length. Existential fulfilment in relationships showed theoretically predictable weak to moderate correlations with other study variables. Moderation analysis discovered several effects: 1) subjective happiness was more strongly associated with fulfilment in long-term relationships than in short-term ones, 2) psychopathology, self-understanding, and alienation in relationships were stronger predictors of fulfilment in relationships for older adults than for younger adults, 3) positive self-attitude was associated with fulfilment in relationships for males, but not for females. Self-attitude and alienation indicators remained significant predictors of existential fulfilment in relationships after psychopathology was controlled for. The findings are discussed in the context of existential analytic theory. Longitudinal studies are needed to uncover the underlying causal links, but the present findings support the validity of existential analytic approach to relationship quality.