The ex-files: Trajectories, turning points, and adjustment in the development of post-dissolutional relationships

Jody Koenig Kellas, Dawn Bean, Cherakah Cunningham, Ka Yun Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Relational scholars often focus on relational life cycles, including the ways in which relationships come apart. The idea that relationships end at a particular stage, however, suggests that former partners no longer communicate. The current study extends the relationship life cycle literature by examining nonmarital post-dissolutional romantic relationships (PDRs). Participants (N = 174) completed written questionnaires gathering PDR turning point descriptions and graphs using a modified Retrospective Interview Technique. Turning point graphs revealed four different trajectory types: Linear Process, Relational Decline, Upward Relational Progression, and Turbulent Relational Progression, which were characterized by 10 categories of turning points. Those with linear trajectories reported the least amount of difficulty adjusting, and those with upward relational progress trajectories reported the highest quality PDRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-50
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2008



  • Break-up adjustment
  • Communication studies
  • Post-dissolutional communication
  • Post-dissolutional relationships
  • Relationship development
  • Relationship dissolution
  • Turning points and trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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