Will I miss you when I'm (or you're) gone?
Assistant Professor of Psychology Benjamin Le gave the keynote address at the 3rd Annual National Psychology Synergy Conference. The conference, sponsored by McDaniel College and Carroll Community College, was held October 17-18 in Westminster, Maryland. Professor Le was invited to present his research on relationship commitment and how romantic partners experience geographic separation. Soon to be published in the journal Personal Relationships, Le's research represents the first scientific study of the experience of missing a partner. Central to Le's keynote address was data collected by Emily Feinberg '05, Katie Johnson '05, and Miriam Korn '07 as part of their senior thesis research. Feinberg and Johnson's research examined commitment and missing a partner in long-distance relationships, and Korn's thesis investigated missing a partner in association with relationship maintenance and infidelity in a sample of 100 Haverford and Bryn Mawr students separated from their partners during the winter holiday. "Our data indicate that missing a partner is a different experience than loneliness," says Le. "It actually promotes relationship maintenance. This can include doing things to keep the relationship strong, assuring partners that the relationship is going well and communicating and self-disclosing to the partner." "We found that those who missed their partners more were less likely to cheat," Le says. His conclusion: missing a lover isn't just a feeling "it's a functional experience; it helps keep relationships going even in the face of geographic separation."