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> Terminating relationships
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There are several ways to break up a relationship. The
results of some research are given here.
Cody’s survey of experience showed alternative strategies:
- Positive tone: ‘I still like you, but…’
- Verbal de-escalation: ‘I’m don’t love you any more.’
- Behavioral de-escalation: Avoiding contact. Seeing them less often.
- Negative identity management: ‘We each should see other people…’
- Justification: ‘This relationship is not giving me what I want.’
Duck shows a four phase model:
The relationship is fairly
healthy, but dissatisfaction builds up with feelings of ‘there’s something
wrong.’ Eventually The ‘I can’t stand it any more’ feelings build up to
a point which catapults you into the breakdown stages.
Intrapsychic phase. Nothing much is said, but now the
focus is on the faults of the other partner. Evidence is sought by which they
can be blamed for any problems. When enough evidence is accumulated, the person
feels justified in withdrawing.
Dyadic phase. The breakdown now comes out into the
open, either with one person saying ‘I’m leaving’ or ‘I’m thinking of
leaving’. Reality must now be faced by both partners and intensive discussions
may ensue. The focus here is on the partnership. Eventually the pressure of ‘I
really mean it’ breaks out and it becomes a public issue.
Social phase. Now the focus turns outwards to the
perceptions of other people. Friends may be recruited to either camp and entire
social groups may break into open battles of who is to blame and what should be
done. Eventually, it becomes inevitable that the split will happen and things
move on to the next phase.
- Relationship phase.
There can also be a fifth phase:
. The relationship now gets its
official burying, with explanations all in place (true or otherwise).
- Grave-dressing phase
Have you had long drawn out ending of a relationship? Many marriages go
through long phases of argument and recrimination rather than sudden endings.
To end a relationship, pick the most suitable from the above
It takes two to tango. If the other person is pulling the
plugs, just get out with your dignity.
Cody (1982), Duck (1982)