Date of Conferral
Robin A. Friedman
Mindfulness has been found to enhance romantic relationships through the practice of remaining open, calm, and emotionally regulated during times of struggle. There was a gap in the literature, however, related to how the practice of mindfulness is subjectively experienced in women's romantic relationships. The purpose of this heuristic study was to understand how women's practice of mindfulness effects their romantic relationships. The conceptual framework for this study was mindfulness-to-meaning theory, which highlights that wellbeing is supported through 2 main mechanisms of mindfulness: savoring and reappraisal. The nature of this study was a qualitative approach using Moustakas's heuristic method. After the data were collected through semistructured interviews, 6 themes were identified. The themes were (a) heightened presence in the relationship; (b) enhanced emotional regulation within the relationship; (c) expanded awareness in the relationship; (d) stronger connection to self and partner; (e) increased gratitude for self, partner, and their shared life; and (f) continued growth in the relationship. Women identified feeling a sense of enhanced emotional regulation within the relationship which enables them to remain calm, less reactive, and better able to communicate with their partners during times of difficulty. The findings from this study confirmed and expanded previous research. This study may enhance understanding of how mindfulness may lead to deeper connection and stability in romantic relationships. By doing so, this study may also contribute to positive social change by informing the work of those in the wellness industry who provide support to women.