Duck's Phase model of relationships

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  • Ducks’s phase model of relationships
    • Duck (2007) proposed a phase model of relationship breakdown. He argued that the ending of a relationship is not a one-off event but a process that takes time.
    • Intra-psychic phase
      • Something has to change.
      • The focus of this phase is on cognitive processes occurring within the individual.
      • The dissatisfied partner reflects on the reasons for his or her dissatis-faction
      • The partner thinks over things privately, and may share them with a trusted friend.
        • They weigh up the pros and cons of the relationship and evaluate these against the alternatives (including being alone).
    • Dyadic phase
      • There are two possible outcomes – a determination to continue breaking up the relationship, or a renewed desire to repair it. But if the rescue attempts fail, another threshold is reached.
      • Eventually come to the conclusion, ‘I would be justified in withdrawing’.Discussion between the two partners.
      • There comes a point when they cannot avoid talking about their relationship any longer.
      • Confrontation relationship is discussed and dissatis-factions are aired.
      • Anxiety, hostility, complaints over imbalanced roles and a rethinking of the commitment that kept the partners together.
    • Social Phase
      • The break-up is made public. Partners will seek support and try to forge pacts.
        • Mutual friends find they are expected to choose a side.
      • Some friends will provide reinforcement and reassurance Others will be judgemental and place the blame on one partner
      • Some may hasten the end of the relationship by providing previously secret information
      • Others may  try to help repair the relationship. This is the point of no return – the break-up takes on a momentum driven by social forces.
    • Grave dressing phase
      • Once the relationship is dead, the time comes to bury it, by ‘spinning’ a favourable story about the breakdown for public consumption.
        • This allows the partners to save face and maintain a positive reputation, usually at the expense of the other partner, showing them in a bad light.
      • Gossip plays an important role in this phase.
        • Crucial that each partner tries to retain some ‘social credit’ by blaming your partner or other people.
      • Tidying up memories of the relationship, creating a personal story that you can live with.
        • The dissatisfied partner finally concludes, ‘Time to get a new life’.


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