A phenomenological study on romantic relationship breakup

Barutçu Yıldırım, Kadriye Funda
Aydın, Gökçen
Çağ, Pınar
Kayabol Akçabozan, Nazlı Büşra
Aydın, Gökçe Sancak
Purpose Throughout the lifespan, individuals form countless relationships. Among these relationships, romantic relationships have great influence on people. Breaking up a romantic relationship is important as well as its formation and maintenance because breakup process provides valuable information about the mistakes of the ending relationship and affects future romantic relationships. Within this perspective, the purpose of this study is to describe the physiological, emotional, cognitive, and social experiences of university students in their post-breakup period. Method In this study, a qualitative phenomenological design was used. Purposive sampling was preferred because there is a participant selection criterion which is having at least one breakup experience in the last year. The sample consisted of 10 university students (7 female and 3 male). Six of the participants are students in a private university and four of them are students at a state university. The age range of the participants varied between 19 and 27. As a data collection instrument, the researchers developed a semi-structured interview form consisting of two sections. First section included demographic information questions and the second section included questions about physiological, emotional, cognitive, and social experiences after breakup. In order to check the validity and clarity of the form, cognitive interviews were conducted with three students. After getting students’ views and suggestions, some items were clarified and corrected; additionally one question was added to the final form. through face-to face and online interviews in two weeks period. Interviews lasted approximately 20 minutes. After getting participants’ permissions, interviews were recorded and transcribed. To analyze data, descriptive qualitative analysis was used because the codes and themes were formed based on research questions. Moreover, inter-coder reliability was provided by coding the same interview by two researchers independently. Findings The findings were summarized under four themes: Physiological, emotional, cognitive, and social. Firstly, half of the students reported physiological aspects as changes in sleeping patterns and loss of appetite even though the other half reported no physiological problems. 962 Some students mentioned loss of weight, tiredness, and increase in body exercises. On the side of emotional experiences, participants reported anger, disappointment, feeling of doing something wrong, hate, pity, emptiness, indifference, hopeless, distrustful, and love towards their partners. On the other hand, the participants mentioned the feelings of sorry, sadness, emptiness, loneliness, disappointment, guilty, hopelessness, confusion, indifference, pity, not being understood, distrustful, anger, unworthiness, and relaxation towards themselves. In line with the cognitive aspect, participants stated a various number of thoughts that occupied their minds. Some examples of these thoughts were as follow: “I should not think of my expartner”, “What are the reasons of this breakup?”, and “Can we do something to recover the relationship?” Most of the participants thought about their ex-partners and relationships very frequently just after the breakup; however, as time passed, the frequency of thinking decreased. Finally, the participants underlined some positive changes in their social lives including spending much time with their friends, feeling the power of friend support, and attending different cultural/social events as well as sport activities. On the contrary, there were some negative consequences of breakup in participants’ social lives such as losing mutual friends as well as their own friends, avoiding meeting with mutual friends to decrease the possibility of coming across with ex-partner, and unwillingness to attend social activities due to lack of motivation. Conclusion In line with the purpose of the study, individuals who experienced a romantic relationship breakup faced with some physiological, emotional, cognitive, and social difficulties. However, the extent and intensity of these difficulties can change from person to person. Notably, this study revealed that individuals not only experienced negative consequences but also positive ones that enhanced their growth in post-breakup period. This finding might address a need for professional psychological support for some people immediately after the breakup. It can be suggested that counseling centers in universities can help students by providing both preventive and supportive services such as psychoeducational group counseling, seminars, and brief informative printed materials about break up processes in romantic relationships.
Citation Formats
K. F. Barutçu Yıldırım, G. Aydın, P. Çağ, N. B. Kayabol Akçabozan, and G. S. Aydın, “A phenomenological study on romantic relationship breakup,” Ankara, Türkiye, 2019, p. 961, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/75346.