Research has investigated the role of three basic psychological needs as proposed by Self-Determination Theory – autonomy competence and relatedness – in explaining relationship satisfaction. Research has also explored how relatedness specifically increases prosocial motivations in the individual but has not focused on the role of relatedness in shaping partners’ relationship functioning over time. This research takes a dyadic perspective that proposes that relatedness fulfillment fosters compassionate goals which in turn predict increases in partner’s satisfaction. Forty-five heterosexual dating couples were asked about their relatedness need fulfillment compassionate goals and relationship satisfaction. Relationship satisfaction was assessed again four weeks later. Results showed that one’s own relatedness fulfillment but not one’s partner’s relatedness fulfillment at Time 1 uniquely predicts partner’s increased satisfaction at Time 2 and that this is mediated by one’s own higher compassionate goals. These findings highlight the dyadic importance of having one’s needs met in promoting relationship functioning over time.
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