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Individuals who empathize and share outcomes with their partner are likely to react more positively to upward comparisons (UCs) than downward comparisons (DCs). Three studies examined responses to comparisons in romantic relationships. Participants reported more positive affect following UCs than DCs; positive affect was also predicted by empathy and shared outcomes. Relationship-maintaining responses were predicted by empathy and shared outcomes: Participants who felt boosted by sharing their partner's success were less likely to report distancing themselves from the partner following UCs, and participants who felt concern for their partner's failure were especially likely to help the partner following DCs. Our findings suggest that individuals respond functionally to these comparisons by focusing on protecting the relationship rather than protecting the self.