Duck (2007) proposed a phase model f relationship breakdown. He argued that the ending of a relationship isnt a one off event but a process that takes place over time through four distinct phases. The process starts when a partner realise they are dissatisfied in the relationship and are distressed at the way things are going, each phase is a threshold, that once breached moves on to the next stage.
Dyadic stage (confrontation)
social stage (gossiping)
one person becomes distressed and weighs up to the pros and cons, evaluate these against the alternatives. think about the reasons for their unhappiness, focusing mostly on their partners shortcomings. they start to make plans for their future.
Grave dressing stage (moving on)
The dissatisfaction is now shared with their partner. Is a series of confrontations and dissatisfactions are aired. there could be two outcomes: determination to continue breaking up or desire to repair the relationship.
The break up is no public. Partners seek support from others outside the relationship. friends react differently: some provide reassurance, some are judgmental and blame one person or the other, some push the relationship towards its end by providing new information, others try help repair the relationship.
when the relationship is over individuals need to come to terms with it. partners create a story that enables them to maintain their reputation. they may re write history to try to lessen feelings of loss.