Losing the wind beneath your wings: The prospective influence of romantic breakup on goal progress

Sarah Gomillion, Sandra L. Murray, Veronica M. Lamarche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Support from romantic partners can have tremendous benefits for people’s personal goal pursuits. However, when relationships end in breakup, this goal support is lost. Thus, breakup may have important consequences for goal progress. A longitudinal study found that breaking up with goal instrumental partners predicted poorer subsequent goal progress. Breaking up with noninstrumental partners did not impair goal progress. In contrast, breakup did not predict changes in goal importance, suggesting that people still valued goals associated with their former partners. These findings are the first to reveal a hidden potential cost of breakup: losing the support people once relied on to achieve their valued personal goals. Thus, finding alternative sources of goal support may be essential to coping successfully with breakup.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

The authors thank John Holmes for his comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-1143747).


  • close relationships
  • goals
  • interdependence
  • romantic relationships
  • break up


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