|Abstract or Summary
- The purpose of the present study was to describe the process of
premarital relationship dissolution. This description entailed
typologizing relationships on the basis of their trajectories to
involvement and eventual dissolution. One hundred individuals who had
been involved in a serious relationship that had broken up within the
past 12 months were interviewed. This 90-minute face-to-face interview consisted of three parts. First, the relationship was graphed
out on a "chance of marriage" graph, in order to form a trajectory
of the relationship. Second, the participant completed a series of
measures that assessed the relationship dimensions of love, maintenance, ambivalence, conflict, reward level, comparison level, comparison level for alternatives, and satisfaction. Third, the
participant described the breakup of the relationship in greater
Five types of serious relationships that had dissolved were
identified through the use of cluster analysis. Accelerated
relationships were characterized by rapid involvement over a short
period of time, rapid dissolution, and a low level of turbulence
in the relationship. Low-level relationships were lowest in level of involvement; they developed at a slow pace. These relationships
dissolved quickly and contained little turbulence. Moderate
relationships developed and dissolved at a moderate-to-slow pace
and reached an intermediate level of involvement with little
turbulence. Prolonged-turbulent relationships were characterized
by a high level of turbulence and a high involvement level. These
relationships developed at a moderate pace and dissolved quickly.
Prolonged-smooth relationships were the longest relationships.
These relationships were characterized by a slow, nonturbulent
development and a slow dissolution.
After the types were identified, they were further differen
tiated on the basis of the relationship dimensions. There were
significant differences by type on the dimensions of love, conflict,
and comparison level for alternatives. In addition, there were
differences as a function of who initiated the breakup on the
dimensions of ambivalence and comparison level for alternatives.
Finally, there were significant differences by gender on the
dimensions of ambivalence, maintenance, rewards, and satisfaction.