Explanation 1: Reasons for relationship breakdown - DUCK, 1999
Research has established a number of reasons why relationships typically break down.
A02: Cultural differences
These factors may only apply to Western cultures. In non-Western cultures, other factors (e.g. family and community pressure) are involved.
A01 - Lack of skills
Relationships are difficult for some people because they lack the interpersonal skills (e.g. they are poor conversationalists) to make them mutuallly satisfying.
A02: Gender differences
Women tend to stress unhappiness and incompatibility as reasons for dissolution whereas men are upset by 'sexual withholding' (BREHM and KASSIN, 1996)
A01 - Lack of Stimulation
People expect relationships to change and develop, and their not doing so is seen as sufficient justification to end the relationship.
Fatal attraction theory (FELMLEE, 1995) predicts that the factors that initially led to attraction (e.g. lively behaviour) will become the ones that cause dissolution.
A01 - Maintenance difficulties
In some circumstances (e.g. long-distance relationships), people cannot give their relationship the constant maintenance that it needs.
Research suggests that long-distance relationships are not doomed because people use many different maintenance strategies to preserve them (HOTT and STONE, 1988)
Explanation 2: Stage model of dissolution - DUCK, 1999
- Partners frequently fee uneasy about a relationship before dissolution begins
- All relationshpis exist within a social matrix
- People are motivated to justify their own actions in this process
- This model emphasises the relationship dissolution is not sudden but a process
- It identifies places where things start to go wrong - and can be applied to relationship counselling.
A01 - Four stages
- Intrapsychic phase - the person begins to reflect on the deficiencies of his or her relationship, but does not yet face his or her partner about these.
- Dyadic phase - the person confronts his/her partner. The relationship can still be repaired at this stage
- Social Phase - dissatisfaction spills over to family and friends who may take sides
- Grave-dressing phase - each partner strives to construct his/her own version of the failed relationship
A02: Limitations of stage model of dissolution
DUCK's stage model does not explain why relationships break down, nor does it tend to be supported by research evidence.
A01 - An Alternative model : LEE (1984)
- LEE's Model places more emphasis on the early stages of breakdown when there is still hope that the relationship might be saved.
- Contrary to DUCK's predictions, LEE found that many people go directly from dissatisfaction to termination without going through any intermediate stages.