What Makes and Breaks Close Relationships?
Close relationships are the core of human society. What “makes and breaks” relationships is of critical importance at the societal, community, and individual level of analysis. What are the core psychological processes that underlie relationship maintenance and relationship dissolution? And what are the tipping points that turn partners facing relationship distress to either reconciliation and improvement or deterioration and dissolution?
Relationship science is a theory-rich discipline, but there have been few attempts to articulate the broader underlying mechanisms and motives that cut across these theories. This research projects aims to unravel the core mechanisms and motives into a succinct theoretical framework with evidence-based relevance to practitioners in the field of relationship therapy and counseling, including divorce mediators and lawyers. It seeks to incorporate practical knowledge and insights—what are the underlying psychological processes that drive relationship distress? What causes some couples to succeed in therapy, whereas others fail?—to build an ecologically valid and practically useful theory of relationship maintenance and dissolution.
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