Communication Modes During Romantic Dissolution: The Impact of Attachment and Intimacy on Initiator Breakup Strategies


  • William Hoffman


A majority of romantic pair-bonds will not remain together. Surprisingly, however, less is known about relationship dissolution compared with other stages of romantic relationships, such as initiation and maintenance. The present study addresses this gap by investigating breakup initiators’ communication strategies as outcomes for the individual’s attachment style and the emotional intimacy of a recent terminated romantic relationship. Participants (N = 174) completed a series of empirically reliable and valid Likert-scale measures to assess both predictors: (a) adult attachment and (b) emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy was a significant predictor of each of the four breakup communication strategies, and adult attachment style – particularly attachment anxiety - was significantly related to specific communication strategies, primarily those related to openness. This researcher concluded that emotional intimacy better predictors of breakup communication strategy compared with attachment style. Limitations and a general discussion or summary of findings are provided, followed by some suggestions for future research.