The questionnaires for the purpose of this particular study were completed by 179 participants. The gender preference breakdown of the participants included 60 lesbians, 45 heterosexual females, 39 heterosexual males and 37 gay males (Harkless, Blaine, 2005).
When the study was completed and the data went through analysis it was found that gay men and lesbian women reported a higher degree of post relationship involvement with their former partners than heterosexual couple members reported occurring.
The data reflect how inclusion of sexual orientation can broaden understandings of gender differentiated phenomena beyond more traditional gender-only based accounts (Harkless, Blaine, 2005)."
The study questionnaire asked general demographic data and then moved into couple and gender specific questions. The questions required the participants to acknowledge their relationship with their former partner including whether or not they maintained emotional ties, sexual ties or other types of contact with the former partner. The questionnaire also asked for gender specific information as to whether the participant were gay, lesbian or straight.
The outcome of the research parroted what society has seemed to know all along. It was indicative of what had been assumed and what this study had hypothesized regarding the post break up relationships of gay, lesbian and straight couples.
Lesbians had more contact and interaction with their former partners than any of the other participants however those who had been involved in male gay relationships also showed a significant increase in post relationship activity with the former partner as compared to what was reported by those who had left heterosexual relationships.
This study worked to solidify the importance of gender preference studies for the purpose of pinpointing why the differences exist so that future understanding about how divorce impacts children as well as those who were in the couple.
In another study the topic of stalking former partners was addressed but provides insight and information regarding the desire to have contact with the former partner. This was done by providing characteristic elements of those who participate in stalking activities after a relationship breaks up.
This is important to the current study as it provides characteristics of the type of personality that has a hard time moving past the former relationship though it was only marginally important because the activities of a stalker are measurably different and more concerning than those of a former couple that mutually choose to maintain contact.
This study exclusively examined heterosexual couples and their experiences with their former partners after they had broken up. The study included 305 female participants. Its goal was to identify specific characteristics of partners that had formerly been married and their stalking tendencies.
It was compared to other post break up situations with formerly married heterosexual couples.
The 305 participants were all undergraduate students. Each of them was asked to complete a questionnaire survey that included 48 individual questions (Roberts, 2005).
The survey was geared to assess the characteristics of the participants and former partners of the relationships.
One of the weaknesses of this survey method in this particular study was the fact that the female partner was asked to assess and describe characteristics of her former male partner which leaves the door open to subjective opinions based on how the female partner perceived the actions and characteristics of her male former partner.
One hundred and five (34.4%) participants were classified as stalking victims; ninety-eight (32.1%) as suffering harassment, and 102 (33.4%) as experiencing no-harassment. No differences were found between the three groups in demographic characteristics of participants or former partners. Stalking former partners were most likely to have: a history of substance use (alcohol and/or drugs); criminal involvement; violence; mental health problems; difficulties in forming relationships; reacting with inappropriate emotion and jealousy and suspiciousness of the participant's relationships with others (Roberts, 2005)."
While the first two studies are contributing information to the overall topic of the amount nd type of contact that many couples still have with each other following a breakup they do not address the specific question at hand. The next study however takes the narrowly defined question and allows it to be examined from many angles and in the end answers the exact question being asked.
It is important to have gathered the information from the other studies however, to have a foundational basis to build this one on. In addition the other studies helped define whether or not there are fundamental differences in whether or not gender issues and sexual identity differences have any bearing on whether or not couples that break up still have relationships with their former partners.
This study also noted the fact that there are very few studies done with regards to whether or not couples that break up continue to maintain any type of relationships following the breakup.
This study is an excellent measurement tool for the question as it not only examined the question at hand but it did so by looking at and comparing homosexual couples and heterosexual couples (Kenzie, 2005).
The study used a large participant population which provides credibility to the results as well. There were 292 homosexual couples used in the study while there were 272 opposite gender couples that were included (Kenzie, 2005).
The study aimed to examine the amount of contact the couples maintained after they broke up their relationship. The study did not confine the examination to only sexual relations but included emotional contact as well. This is important because of the question about emotional support following a break up and the question about whether the former partner is able to provide that support.
Further, two types of influences on post-dissolutional relationship qualities were investigated. Variables that originated within the dyad or individuals (personal) had a stronger influence on relationship qualities than did variables that originated from the dyad's environment (structural). The importance of understanding post-dissolutional relationships and future research suggestions are discussed (Kenzie, 2005)."
The study used relational disengagement models to determine the relationships has worked through the various stages of dissolvent and that they were completely done.
Duck and Knapp wrote in 1984 that there are various stages that are necessary to ending a relationship that each partner must go through before one can fully disengage from that former relationship much like the stages of grief (Duck, 1982; Knapp, 1984).
Duck suggested in 1982 that there may be attempts to re-negotiate the relationship during the stage referred to as the social phase of the relational dissolution model. This is part of the previously researched and labeled disengagement process.
In 1984 however Baxter disagreed and stated that the previous study had failed to provide measurements of involvement outside of anecdotal evidence.
Research addressing the anecdotal incidences in which it was reported that one party said to the other party "lets just be friends" or put that message on the table during the relationship may not have really wanted to enter a full scale serious relationship therefore it would not be possible to apply the disengagement strategies to those couples effectively as both parties may not have been committed to the union to begin with (Kenzie, 2005).
This was not the first study conducted on former members of couples and what their relations were following the breakup though it was the first to include heterosexual and homosexual couples in the study.
Studies conducted in the past with regards to the relationships that members of post break up couples continue to engage in also gauged the type of friendship that was developed between the members of the former couple.
In those studies on both heterosexual and homosexual former couples the study results indicted that there are differences in the type of friendships that develop between two friends that at one time had been a couple and two people who had never been involved in a relationship together before.
Both heterosexual and homosexual participants of those studies also reported becoming friends with those they were formerly involved with romantically according to the research (Nardi, 1992; Weston, 1991; Wilmot, Carbaugh, & Baxter, 1985).
In 2000 however a study conducted by Schneider and Kenny took the research a step further and tried to isolate the type of friendship that was developed once a couple had been romantically involved and then terminated the relationship and were successful in their endeavor.
They reported that participants had different types of relationships with their former romance partners than they had with non-former romantic partners though all of the relationships fell under the term of friendship.
Further, the redefinition of a romantic relationship into a post-dissolutional relationship may be challenging. Kurdek (1991a) surveyed same-sex partners after their romantic relationship had terminated and reported the greatest difficulty faced by the participants was negotiating the current relationship with one's ex-partner. In addition, Foley and Fraser (1998) found that ex-partners had difficulty integrating a post-dissolutional relationship into a shared social network (Kenzie, 2005)."
All studies agreed that more information and further studies on the topic were warranted and…