Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Romantic Disengagement

  • Robin A. BarryEmail author
  • Jennifer M. Lorenzo
  • Rupsha Singh
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_795

Name of Concept

Romantic disengagement


Disaffection*; Growing apart*; Indifference*; Marital disaffection*


Romantic disengagement characterizes the extent to which an individual feels a general sense of psychological and physical distance from their romantic partner. More romantically disengaged individuals experience greater indifference toward their partner and relationship, evidence lower levels of attention to and interest in their partner, and engage in behaviors to increase physical and cognitive distance from their partner (Barry et al. 2008; Kayser 1993). Factor analyses suggest that romantic disengagement is a unique, albeit related, construct compared to high levels of negative and low levels of positive affect and behavior with the partner (Barry et al. 2008; Snyder and Regts 1982).

Theoretical Context for Concept

Most research on romantic disengagement and disaffection has been phenomenological in nature. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin A. Barry
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer M. Lorenzo
    • 2
  • Rupsha Singh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore CountryBaltimoreUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Brian Baucom
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA