The influence of compassionate love on strategies used to end a relationship

Susan Sprecher, Corinne Zimmerman, Beverley Fehr

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Past research has identified several communication strategies that are used to end relationships (e.g., Baxter, 1982). The present study extends this research by considering how young adults' propensity to experience compassionate love for a romantic partner is associated with their reported use of breakup strategies. A sample of US university students (n = 343) who had initiated the breakup of a past relationship completed a survey about the disengagement strategies they used. Participants' compassionate love for their partner (recalled when the relationship existed) was associated with the use of more compassionate strategies to end the relationship. Compassionate love for humanity also was associated with the use of compassionate strategies, albeit to a lesser extent. The present findings suggest that compassionate love not only is beneficial for a relationship while it is intact, but may also play an important role in the process of relationship dissolution. © The Author(s) 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-705
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Breakup strategies
  • compassionate love
  • disengagement processes
  • relationship endings


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