The Love is Not Lost: The Reparative Function of Romantic Nostalgia

Nicholas Daniel Evans, University of Texas at El Paso


Recent research has found that experiencing romantic nostalgia (i.e. nostalgia specific to one’s romantic partner or relationship) can serve several emotional and experiential benefits to romantic relationships. Yet, research within this domain is still limited—specifically, how nostalgia can improve relationships during turmoil or conflict. Thus, in two studies, the current project investigates the reparative benefits of romantic nostalgia when experienced in the context of relationship turmoil. Study 1 (N = 245) investigated the links between trait romantic nostalgia, the conflict compromise style, and positive relationship experiences: closeness, commitment, and relationship satisfaction. Romantic nostalgia was positively linked to all three relationship experiences, and predicted closeness and relationship satisfaction, above and beyond the conflict compromise style. Using a writing task, Study 2 (N = 174) experimentally manipulated state romantic nostalgia within a conflict context and assessed three relationship reparative intentions as outcomes: willingness to sacrifice, willingness to accommodate, and conflict compromise. Those in the nostalgia condition reported higher levels of willingness to accommodate, but not willingness to sacrifice nor conflict compromise. Taken together, the current project provides mixed support for the reparative benefits of experiencing romantic nostalgia.

Subject Area

Experimental psychology|Social psychology|Personality psychology|Cognitive psychology|Individual & family studies|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Evans, Nicholas Daniel, "The Love is Not Lost: The Reparative Function of Romantic Nostalgia" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI22583070.