Forgiveness in Romantic Relationships: Transgression Resolution and the Role of the Offender
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of forgiveness in how romantic couples view the quality of their relationships and manage conflict. College-aged couples (« = 176, 88 couples) were asked to reflect on the most hurtful transgression their partners had ever committed in the relationship and then completed questionnaires regarding the incident they selected (victim perspective) and the incident their partner selected (offender perspective). When taking the victim perspective, participants indicated the extent to which they forgave and to which they believe their partners sought forgiveness. While taking the offender perspective, they indicated the extent to which they sought forgiveness and the extent to which they believed they were forgiven. All participants completed questionnaires regarding the extent to which they believe the transgression was resolved, as well as questionnaires assessing relationship quality and conflict management. Results indicate that, for both victims and offenders, transgression resolution partially mediates the association between forgiveness and both relationship quality and conflict management. Results also indicate that forgiveness mediates the association between forgiveness-seeking and relationship quality for both victims and offenders. These findings are important in light of the lack of research exploring transgression resolution and the role of the offender in the forgiveness process.