Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Glenn E. Weisfeld


Mate retention has received much less research attention compared to mate choice and attraction. Even the research that has been done on mate retention often only aims to identify what constitutes as mate retention tactics. In the current studies, the effectiveness of mate retention strategies is explored by measuring relationship outcomes of tactics unlike previous research that measures effectiveness through perceptions of relationship satisfaction. In Study 1, individuals who have experienced a nonmarital breakup reported on their own and their ex-partners’ mate retention tactics before the breakup to see which ones predicted the outcome of relationship dissolution. Tests for moderation by participant sex and male mate value were also included. Results revealed that, in accord with the theoretical framework put forth by Miner et al., (2009), tactics that inflict costs upon an individual that are performed by participants’ ex-partners increase the odds of dissolution, especially for female participants reporting on their male ex-partners. This was even more pronounced when male ex-partners were of low mate value. In Study 2, the cost-inflicting/benefit-provisioning mate retention framework (Miner, et al., 2009) was applied to predict a period of separation in married couples from America, China, and Britain. Results were generally consistent with this theoretical framework, moderation by spousal sex was revealed such that cost-inflicting tactics were more strongly linked to separation when performed by husbands, and low male mate value was negatively associated with the use of cost-inflicting tactics. Discussion integrates these findings across the two different relationship types (non-marital versus marital) and across cultures. Limitations and future directions are also addressed.