This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Comparative Analysis of Cyclical vs. Non-Cyclical Romantic Relationships




Waters, Ashley

Type of Degree





Existing literature on romantic adult relationships focuses primarily on stable, married intimate dyads. However, up to 60% of couples indicate breaking up and reuniting with their partner at least once; despite their prevalence, cyclical relationships have not been examined much within the empirical literature. The current study aimed to incorporate these partners into the existing literature on relationship functioning and distress. I examined differences between cycling and non-cycling partners in the areas of intimate partner violence, relationship polarization and ambivalence, attachment styles, conflict engagement, relationship attributions, and relational uncertainty. The results suggest that significant differences exist between cycling and non-cycling partners in all above-mentioned areas; cycling partners report greater relationship distress and more negative relationship behaviors. However, an insecure (anxious) attachment style seems to be the only unique predictor of cycling behaviors, once all factors are added into the model together. Furthermore, the relationship between an insecure (anxious) attachment style and cycling seems to be partially mediated by relationship ambivalence.