Theories of romantic relationships: Duck's phase model

  • Theories of romantic relationships: Duck's phase model:
  • AO1:
  • Duck's phase model:
  • Duck proposed a phase model of relationship brekadown. He argued that the ending of a relationship isn't a one-off event but a process that takes time and goes through 4 distinct phases. 
  • Each phase is characterised by a partner reacting to a threshold where their perception of the relationship changes. The partner may reassess the situation and decide the relationship isnt so bad, halting the process of the breakdown. Or they cross the threshold and move on to the next stage of the model. 
  • Intra-psychic stage:
  • Threshold - 'i cant stand this anymore', indicating a determination that something has to change. A partner become dissatisfied with the relationship in its current form. They then brood on the reasons for this and this will usually focus on their partners shortcomings. The dissatisfied partner tends to keep this to themselves but may share their thoughts with a trusted friend, weighing up the pros and cons of continuing. 
  • Dyadic phase:
  • Threshold - 'I would be justified in withdawing'. Once a partner concludes that they are justified in ending the relationship they have to discuss this with their partner. Dissatisfactions about equity, committment, etc, are aired. The phase may vary in length and in intensity of hostility and anxiety. 
  • Social phase:
  • Threshold - the dissatisfied partner concludes 'i mean it'. Once a partner wants to end the relationship they will seek support, particularly from joint friends. These friends may be encouraged to choose a side but others may try and prevent the break-up by acting as a go-between.


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