We draw on the sociological theories of the “liability of newness” and the “liability of adolescence” to generate new insights into relationship evolution. First, we show how a new relationship during its “honeymoon” exhibits a unique constellation of two conditions, namely information asymmetry and forbearance. Next, we explain how a relationship evolves along two processes that involve passive learning and decay, respectively. In themselves, these processes will move a relationship towards a long-term “transactional” state and possibly termination, but the processes can also be actively shaped using governance mechanisms of various kinds. The latter, however, requires a nuanced account of types of governance mechanisms and the particular conditions they are intended to induce. We consider how the general mechanisms of (1) incentives and (2) information sharing can be deployed in standardized or customized fashions, respectively. Next, we suggest how different manifestation of governance mechanisms impact a relationship’s underlying evolutionary processes and evolved relationship states. In general, our framework represents a new perspective on relationship evolution; one that involves the purposeful management of initial conditions and their related evolutionary processes. Link to the article
CHMIELEWSKI-RAIMONDO, D., SHAMSOLLAHI, A., BELL, S. and HEIDE, J. (2021). When the Honeymoon is Over: A Theory of Relationship Liabilities and Evolutionary Processes. Journal of Marketing, In press.