breakdown - AQA A2 Relationships

What makes relationships
Relationships are like car accidents
(Steve Duck, 2007)
The breakup is the drivers’ fault
The breakup is because of mechanical failure (lack of
The breakup is the fault of the other road users
Reasons for relationship
breakdown (Duck, 1999)
 Lack of interpersonal/social skills
 What sort of skills do we need here?
 Lack of stimulation (SET)
 Baxter (1994) lack of stimulation (boredom, we ain’t going
nowhere) given as a reason for breakup
 Relationships should change/develop – and change and
develop us at the same time
 Maintenance problems
 Separation over distance, going to uni (Shaver et al., 1995)
Rollie & Duck’s (2006) model
Stage 1: Breakdown
 It begins with one partner realising that they are not
 This could be for a number of reasons (eg. inequity,
boredom, communication problems, infidelity)
 Threshold: I can’t stand this anymore
Intrapsychic processes
 The focus of the person’s attention during this stage of
breakdown is inward – and not communicated to the
partner (might get sexual withdrawal eg)
 Social withdrawal, brooding on faults, what is this
costing, what are the alternatives?
 At this point some people will end the relationship
without discussing or saying what they are unhappy
 Threshold: I’d be justified in withdrawing
Dyadic processes
 In this phase the dissatisfied person confronts their
partner and explains why they are unhappy
Discussions can be quite angry with hostility and
resentment communicated
The couple reassess their goals, options, and review
their commitment
At this stage the relationship can be saved
Involve other people for advice/support
The relationship may be terminated at this point
Threshold: I mean it
Social processes
 Go public: the relationship is over/in trouble
 Alliance building
 Some of this can be helpful, for example where friends and
family suggest talking and trying to work things out
 It can also be unhelpful if friends and family take sides,
criticise and lay blame, and this can speed up the
dissolution of the relationship
 One or both of the partners may start to denigrate the
other to others
 Threshold: It’s now inevitable
Grave dressing processes
 Both start to justify their actions, and their dissatisfaction
 They attempt to put themselves forward in a positive light
without making the initial attraction, and decision to form a
relationship, seem illogical
Sometimes this involve a reinterpretation of the partner’s
characteristics and qualities
Both partners reflect on what happened, who was to blame, and
decide on how they wish to view and communicate the reasons
for the breakup to other people
Different people may be given different versions of what
happened in an attempt to gain sympathy and support, and to
save face
The partners may suggest that they are pleased that the
relationship is over, and that they have moved on, before they
actually have
Threshold: Time to get a new life
Resurrection processes
 At this stage both partners start to prepare themselves for
new relationships
They may redefine themselves
They may also build on the mistakes that have been made
in the previous relationship
They may also review the sort of relationship they want in
the future
Partners attempt to re-establish their own individual sense
of identity and self- esteem
Threshold: What I learned and how things will be
 Describe and evaluate two theories of relationship
 600

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