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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: December 2019

7 - Practical Applications


Situating the research regarding cyclical relationships within the larger sphere of relationships research, several practical applications are offered. Recommendations depend on goals partners have for their relationships. For those wanting to maintain the relationship but stop the cycling, partners might need to explicitly negotiate the rules or expectations of their relationships to ensure that the issues that led to the previous breakups are resolved. Given the increased incidence of conflict and aggression, finding more effective conflict management tactics might also aid in gaining a steadier path. For those wanting to redefine their relationship into a friendship, there are few scripts and many challenges. Frequently, at least one partner also desires reconciliation, and these partners might become overly intrusive. Although possible, post-dissolution relationships might require explicit boundary negotiation. Those wanting permanent dissolution should avoid surveilling or contact with the ex-partner, which can lead to rumination and thus exacerbate breakup distress. Additionally, reframing thoughts about the breakup to see potential positives as well as re-establishing one’s identity outside of the relationship can help ex-partners move forward.