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Slide 1

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Theories of romantic

Slide 2

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Duck's phase model of relationship breakdown
Proposed by Duck (2007)
Argued that the ending of a relationship is a gradual
process ­ the relationship goes through 4 distinct
Each phase is marked by one or both partners
reaching a "threshold" point at which the perception
of their relationship changes
Breakup begins when a partner realises they are
dissatisfied with the relationship…read more

Slide 3

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Intra-psychic phase
Focuses on the cognitive processes occurring within
an individual
The dissatisfied partner thinks about the reasons for
their dissatisfaction, centring on their partner's
Mulls over thoughts privately, may also share them
with a trusted friend
Weigh up pros and cons of the relationship and
evaluate these against alternatives (inc. being alone)
Begin to make future plans…read more

Slide 4

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Dyadic phase
Focuses on interpersonal processes between the two
Cannot avoid talking about their relationship any
Series of confrontations over a period of time,
relationship discussed and dissatisfactions aired
Two possible outcomes: a determination to continue
breaking up the relationship OR a renewed desire to
repair it
If the rescue attempt fails, both outcomes then reach
another threshold…read more

Slide 5

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Social phase
Focuses on wider processes involving the couple's social networks
Break-up is made public
Partners seek support and try to forge pacts
Mutual friends are expected to choose a side
Gossip is traded and encouraged
Some friends may provide reinforcement and reassurance
Others will be judgemental and place blame only on one partner
Some may hasten the end of the relationship by disclosing
previously unknown information
Others may attempt to help repair the relationship
Usually the point of no return ­ break-up takes on momentum
driven by social forces…read more

Slide 6

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Grave-dressing phase
Focuses on the aftermath of the break-up
Time to bury the relationship by "spinning" a favourable story for the public
to believe why the relationship broke down
Allows partners to save/maintain a reputation, usually as the expense of the
other partner
Gossip is a factor in this phase as it is crucial that each partner retains
"social credit" (La Gaipa, 1982) ­ blaming anything or anyone but
Also involves creates a personal story which may differ from the public one
May include rewriting details of the relationship e.g. the characteristics you
once found endearing are now interpreted in a bad light
May be simpler for exes to let bygones be bygones and admit they weren't
right for each other
The dissatisfied partner finally concludes, "Time to get a new life"…read more

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