Relationship Talk With Partners and Friends During Emerging Adulthood: The Role of Relationship Satisfaction
Research indicates that discussing one’s romantic relationship with one’s partner benefits individual well-being and reduces uncertainty about the future of the relationship. Implications of relationship talk with friends remain less clear, though talking with friends may actually increase uncertainty about the relationship (e.g., by making one’s partner jealous of these friends), particularly for emerging adults. Relationship talk with friends may be especially likely to promote relational uncertainty for couples who are already unsatisfied in their relationships. In this study, we explored whether relationship talk with one’s partner and one’s friends would each be uniquely associated with depressive symptoms and uncertainty about the relationship, specifically in the form of perceived partner jealousy of one’s friends and whether these associations would be moderated by relationship satisfaction. Results from a series of path models using data from 202 romantically involved emerging adults in the United States revealed that associations between relationship talk and outcomes were indeed moderated by relationship satisfaction. For example, only in unsatisfied relationships was relationship talk with friends positively associated with a partner's jealousy and negatively associated with depressive symptoms. This research expands our understanding of relationship talk by differentiating between talk with partners versus friends, while considering the contextual role of relationship satisfaction.