The Dissolution of Relationships

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  • Created on: 13-11-15 09:50

The dissolution of relationships.

                Explanation of the dissolution of relationships.

                Precipitating factors:

                                Duck (2007) suggests that the dissolution of relationships can be explained in terms of risk factors, which are certain characteristics which make the failure of a relationship more likely. Duck explained relationships in terms of cars, and said that both can have accidents. Some are a result of the ‘driver’, sometimes it is ‘mechanical’ and sometimes it is the fault of other ‘road users’. Like a car, a poorly maintained relationship is at a higher risk of a breakdown. There are a few precipitating factors which include:

·         Lack of skills- Sometimes individuals lack the interpersonal skills needed to maintain a successful relationship. A relationship can fail to be mutually satisfying if individuals lack social skills such as conversational skills, the ability to indicate an interest in others, and the ability to be rewarding in their interactions. This lack of social skills can be perceived as not being interested in a relationship, which can lead to a breakdown before a relationship before it gets going.

·         Lacks of stimulation- According the social exchange, rewards are a key focus for relationships, and one of these rewards is the idea of stimulation. Evidence for a lack of stimulation causing a relationship breakdown was found by Baxter in 1994. It was found that a lack of stimulation, for example boredom or a belief the relationship would not progress was quoted frequently when discussing the breakdown of a relationship. Individuals expect relationships to progress and change, and when they do not, it is often seen as sufficient justification to end the relationship or to begin a new one (have an affair).

·         Maintenance difficulties- Relationships can become strained when partners cannot maintain close contact. An example of this is going to university, as it can place a strain on relationships and lead to a breakdown. Research to support this was found by Shaver in 1985. Whilst a romantic relationship should be strong enough to endure the pressures, it is found that this is often not the case.

Stage models of relationship dissolution:

                Lee’s model (1984)

Lee used a questionnaire to investigate personal experiences of the dissolution of relationships (premarital and romantic). After analysing the data of 100 students, five distinct stages of break up were concluded.

1.       Dissatisfaction (D) – One or both partners recognise problems.

2.       Exposure (E) – Problems are brought out in the open.

3.       Negotiating (N) - Attempting to resolve the problems by discussing issue from E stage.

4.       Resolution (R) – Partners try to resolve problems from N stage.

5.       Termination (T).

Lee found that stages E and N were the most exhausting and intense parts, although not all relationships experienced this stage. Those who went direct from D to T reported feeling less intimate with their partners, and those who had more of a…


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