Relationship Breakdown Summary

Summary of how relationships breakdown; theories and reasons

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Timed Essay : Relationship breakdown
1.) Models of formation and maintenance but turned around:
The reward need satisfaction model- the needs of the individual haven't been met
Matching hypothesis- self-perception of the individual may change and believe they
could do better, or partner loses job so the individual isn't with them for his/her status
SET- costs outweigh the rewards in a relationship or there are alternatives that could
bring more alternatives
Equity Theory- amount each person puts into the relationship is not equal
Investment model- it you are putting in a low amount of investment and satisfaction is
low and there a good quality of alternatives then we are likely to leave as we will not
lose a lot
2.) Reasons for relationship breakdown (proposed by Duck 1999)
Lack of skill- lacking the interpersonal skill to make them interpersonally satisfying.
Lacking in social skills might be poor conversationist, don't show interest in other people
and are unrewarding in their interactions with other people
Lack of stimulation- according to SET people look for rewards in their relationship, one
of which is stimulation. Lack of stimulation (i.e. boredom) or a belief that the relationship
isn't going anywhere is often quoted when breaking off a relationship. People expect
relationships to develop and when they don't it is seen as a sufficient justification to end
the relationship or begin a new one (i.e. have an affair)
Maintenance difficulties- when relationships become strained simply because they
cannot see each other enough e.g. going to uni can put a great strain on relationship and
cause break up. While enduring romantic relationships can be strong enough to survive
the pressure of decreased daily contact is evident that for many this isn't the case.
Evaluation: long distance relationships and long distance friendship are perhaps more
common than we think. Rohlfing (1995) found that 70% of student sampled had
experienced at least one LDR and 90% had at least one LDF. Holt and Stone found that
there was little decrease in relationship satisfaction as long as lovers were able to
reunite reglualry.
Extramarital affairs- a major reason why relationships break down is that one or both
partners have an extra marital affair. Boekhaut et al (1999) showed how such affairs may
be the result of lack of skill/stimulation in the current relationship- they asked students to
rate various sexual and emotional reasons for men and women to be unfaithful. Sexual
reasons for infedility (e.g. sexual excitement, boredom, variety) would be more likely to
be used by men whereas emotional reasons for infidelity (e.g. lack of attention,
commitment or emotional satisfaction) would be more likely to be used by women
Evaluation: This is a very small sample to use (students) and so the results may not be
generalised to other groups of people for example older ones who may choose to have
an affair for other reasons
3.) Model of relationship breakdown:
He highlights the process that couples go through that indicate the relationship
Intrapsychic phase- people reflect on the deficiencies of their relationship and the
person starts to realise what bugs them about the relationship

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Dyadic- talking to partner about these issues
Social process- making the breakup public. As soon as you start telling friends that you
are going to break up with the partner, then there's no way back. People try to put
themselves in a good light and make the other person look worse (`he did this... I did
nothing wrong')
Grave dressing- knowing what went wrong in the relationship.…read more

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Duck's model (and sequence of separation described by lee) does not
really explain why relationships breakdown just the basic processes. However, Duck
also offers three main reasons for this type of relationship breakdown. Akert also
found that the more both partners were involved in decisions that had to be made,
the fewer physical symptoms they experienced. This suggests that the theories of
relationship breakdown described above cannot be generalised to all people, as
every person has different experience of breaking up.
4.…read more


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