Analyzing a Break-up

Introduction to Goals of the Paper

Breakups are an inevitable part of the dating process and most people experience at least one in their lifetime. Some relationships cannot heal the hurt and ultimately end. Romantic relationships are unique in that most people only engage in one relationship at time, meaning one must always end to start another. They can occur early on in a relationship, or after many years committed to each other. They can be abrupt or happen slowly over time. Over time, we can reflect on a previous relationship and consider what was good about it as well as what needed improvement. Often we learn from our relationships and change our expectations for future romantic partners as a result. In this paper, you will select a breakup you have experienced and use concepts from our course, and specifically Chapter 15 to analyze what caused the breakup. In this paper, you will meet the following Learning Objectives for the course:

  • Students will examine, analyze, and apply various theories and concepts of relational communication.
  • Students will identify strategies to cope with challenging relational communication issues, including conflict and dissolution.

After completing this paper, you will have examined why relationships end, the role communication plays in the process, and identified the type of breakup you experienced. You will present three strategies you used to cope with this challenging relational communication issue.

Paper Structure and Details

To begin your paper, think about our chapter and the breakups you have experienced. Reflect on how you felt at the time versus how you feel about it now. For the body of the paper, you will answer several key questions related to Chapter 15:

Why did my relationship end, how did it end, and what did I learn from the experience?

For each student, your paper’s thesis statement will ultimately answer this question.  To develop your thesis, you should first look to the main concepts in Chapter 15 that should be included in this paper.

  • Why did your relationship end?
  • What communication patterns did you experience in the relationship that might have contributed to its end? Alternately, which patterns did you find yourself engaging in?
  • Which stages of Duck’s process of relational dissolution were most prominent for you? 
  • Was your breakup direct or indirect?  (AKA of the 15 ways to leave your lover, what did you experience?)
  • How did you cope?  What helped you get through the emotional period during and following a breakup?  How do you feel now?  Share three strategies you employed.

For each question, structure your response around:

  • A main idea for the paragraph
  • An introduction of relevant terms from the text book and a brief explanation as if your reader has not heard of them before
  • Your example and an analysis of why the term fits your story
  • A transition sentence helping the reader move from one concept to the next

Please cite relevant readings and the textbook (see the Rubric for General Writing to understand what qualifies as an A paper) and topics raised in class discussion to support your description of the development of your paper.

Submission Expectations for Formatting

  • 3-5 pages (please don’t worry if your paper is longer, only if it is shorter)
  • Five-paragraph essay style (should not contain exactly 5 paragraphs):
  • Double spaced using 12-point font and default margin settings
  • Free of grammatical errors
  • Citation of the textbook as a source is expected, please use APA citation style for in-text citations and your reference list (no other research is required for this paper, so your textbook is the only “required” source for this assignment)

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