AQA A Psychology A2 Relationships (Breakdown of Relationships) Revision Notes

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Breakdown of Relationships
Reasons for Relationship Breakdown:
Lack of Skills:
For some people, relationships are difficult because they lack interpersonal skills which make
them mutually satisfying.
Individuals who lack social skills will find it difficult to communicate and therefore could be
poor conversationalists. Due to this, it is difficult for them to indicate their interest in other
people, making them generally unrewarding for the other person.
Hence, others will assume that they are not interested, thus allowing a relationship to
breakdown before it can develop.
Lack of Stimulation:
According to SET, people seek rewards in a relationship, stimulation probably being one of
them. Therefore, it is possible that lack of stimulation i.e. boredom/thinking the relationship
is not going anywhere, could lead to the relationship breaking down.
There is evidence that this is often quoted when ending a relationship. So, because people
expect relationships to change and develop, when they do not see this happening, it is seen
as a sufficient reason for them to end the current relationship or begin a new one i.e. affairs.
Maintenance Difficulties:
Some relationships can become strained because partners are unable to see each other
often e.g. going away to university. This can potentially lead to the breakdown of a
Although it is possible that, romantic relationships can be strong enough to endure the
pressures and difficulties of not seeing each other, for many relationships, this is not the
It is useful to understand the strategies that people use, as people have to move away from
their family/friends from mobile societies.
A Model of Breakdown:
Keeping it Personal:
1) Breakdown ­ One of the partners becomes distressed and dissatisfied with the relationship.
The realisation of inequitable relationships may be the first step in the eventual breakdown
of the relationship.
2) Intrapsychic Process ­ Internally; A negative focus on the relationship. Partner becomes
socially withdrawn and nothing is said to their partner, but can be expressed in other ways
e.g. personal diary.
Some people even end their relationship without discussing their dissatisfaction.
3) Dyadic Process ­ People confront their partners about the dissatisfaction and discuss their
feelings/future. This could resolve the issue and save the relationship or partners may
involve others in their dissatisfaction with the relationship.

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Breakdown of Relationships
Going Public:
4) Social Process ­ The break up is announced to friends/family. Others may take sides, offer
advice and support, or may help in mending any disputes between the two sides. This could
help speed up resolving their problems.
5) Grave-Dressing Process ­ Partners begin to justify their actions and why the relationship
ended. This is important as they need to present themselves as trustworthy/loyal for future
relationships. They may strategically reinterpret their view of the partner e.g.…read more


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