Breakdown of romantic relationships

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Outline and Evaluate research into the breakdown of romantic
relationships (24 marks)
Rollie and Duck's model of breakdown attempts to explain the process in 6 steps. It
begins with dissatisfaction with how a relationship is conducted, which leads to an
intrapsychic process that's characterised by brooding on the partners faults and the
costs of the relationship. In the dyadic process, people confront their partners and
discuss their feelings about the relationship. The relationship may be saved at this
point due to a reassessment of goals, possibilities or commitment, or it may break
down further.
If further breakdown occurs, social processes will take place, whereby friends and
family will offer advice and support. After having left the relationship, the
grave-dressing process will commence. Partners strive to construct a narrative about
the relationship that doesn't paint their own contribution to the relationship
unfavourably. This process often involves emotional distress. In the final resurrection
process, each partner prepares for a new relationship by learning from the mistakes
of the previous relationship.
This model has been largely supported by research evidence. Tashiro and Frazier
surveyed students whose relationships had recently broken down. They reported to
have experienced emotional distress as well as personal growth, stating that these
breakdowns had given them a clearer idea about future relationships. This provides
evidence for both the grave dressing and resurrection process thus increasing the
validity of this explanation.
This model has practical applications in counselling. Assessing which stage a couple is
in can help to identify what steps should be taken to save the relationship. This
model stresses the importance of communication in breakdown: paying attention to
what people say and how they interact will help their stage to be identified.
Therefore an implication of this is that appropriate interventions can then be used in
order to help save a relationship.
A study by Akert provided a criticism for this model thus questioning its validity. He
found that the instigators of break-ups suffer fewer negative consequences than the
non-instigators. Rollie and Duck use the same model for both instigators and
non-instigators. This suggests that this model ignores individual differences such as
this one therefore may not provide strong support for the reasons behind the
breakdown of relationships.
This model is also perceived to be culturally biased, rooted in Western culture. Many
collectivist cultures have arranged marriages, which are generally regarded as
permanent. Marital crises of these relationships are also seen as the concern of the
family, and not just the couple. Therefore, this model may not apply to non-Western
relationships. Also the samples used in much research into the breakdown of
relationships consist of undergraduates. Undergraduates may not be representative
of the general population-their relationship may be less long-standing and don't
generally involve children or other commitments. As a result we can question the

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Relationship research is also
notoriously socially sensitive-delving into people's personal relationships and
reasons for breakdowns may cause some psychological harm.
In another theory Duck proposed 3 reasons as to why relationships breakdown. One
of these is a lack of skills. A partner may lack the interpersonal skills to make the
relationship mutually satisfying. They may be a poor conversationalist; poor at
indicating their interest in their partner, or their interactions with other people may
be generally unrewarding.…read more

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A
social factor may be that one of the partners is undergoing domestic violence. In real
life, we also use our free will on a daily basis and thus may not follow the set
guidelines of both these models, therefore meaning both these models are
determinist and don't take into account our free will to do as we desire. Thus, both
these theories may not provide a reliable explanation into the reasons for
breakdown of romantic relationships.…read more

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