"If you don't 'get it', it doesn't count": Conveying Responsiveness in Attempts to Seek Forgiveness Within Romantic Relationships
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Although research has begun to examine the factors which facilitate forgiveness in romantic relationships, there is currently limited empirical research examining the partner behaviours which promote or alternatively thwart forgiveness in romantic relationships. I examined the role of perceived partner responsiveness (showing understanding and validation) in mediating the link between offers of amends and forgiveness for real-life hurtful events. Results showed that perceived partner responsiveness emerged as a key predictor of forgiveness and as an important mediator of the relationship between amends and forgiveness. This meditational model was further moderated by event severity and relationship satisfaction, such that at high levels of event severity and low levels of relationship satisfaction, both amends and responsiveness showed unique, positive direct effects on forgiveness. Finally, exploratory analyses indicated that not all forgiveness-seeking behaviours are “created equal”—verbal behaviours that directly address the hurtful event appear to convey sincere amends and responsiveness while those behaviours (verbal and non-verbal) which do not directly address the hurtful event undermine forgiveness.