Boredom has been described as a major obstacle to maintaining lasting love (Aron & Aron (1986). However, empirical research on this important challenge to relationship maintenance has been hampered by the lack of an agreed-upon definition of the construct. We tested the hypothesis that relational boredom is amenable to a prototype conceptualization. In study 1, participants provided prototypicality ratings for the features of relational boredom. Features such as "lack of interest in partner" and "no longer exciting" were considered prototypical of the construct, whereas features such as "nothing in common" and "too similar" were considered nonprototypical. We confirmed this prototype structure in the remaining studies. In study 2, when information that a couple was experiencing boredom was given, participants were more likely to infer that prototypical, than nonprototypical, features characterized the relationship. In study 3, the prototypical features were verified more quickly than the nonprototypical features in a reaction time task. In study 4, when a relationship was described in terms of prototypical, rather than nonprototypical, features of boredom, participants inferred greater boredom in the relationship. Moreover, these inferences were drawn more strongly for boredom than another negative relational state, namely conflict. Implications of these findings for theorizing and research on relational boredom are discussed.

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Keywords prototype, Relational boredom, romantic relationships
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Journal Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Harasymchuk, C, & Fehr, B. (Beverley). (2013). A prototype analysis of relational boredom. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30(5), 627–646. doi:10.1177/0265407512464483