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The "Uncoupling" section of Libb Thims' 2007 "Bond Theories" chapter, of his Human Chemistry.[1]

In terms, uncoupling (LH:1) refers to the mechanistic process of the unraveling of a relationship bond, tending to be characterized, in the retrospect memory, by "turning points", that defined key points or events in the unraveling process; aka debonding.


In 1986, Diane Vaughan, in her Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships, documents her sociology research of interviews of dozens of couples, who broke up, with focus on the mechanisms of the break up, from the retrospective point of view, in terms of specific “turning points” in the previous relationship, that stand out as key events in the memory of the initiator of the breakup.[2]

In 2007, Libb Thims, in his Human Chemistry, building on the research of Vaughan and others such as the detachment theories of John Bowlby, defined uncoupling, according to the following debonding reaction:[3]

where AB are two people in the state of a bonded relationship, e.g. couple or marriage, and A and B are the same two people fully separated and detached some months or years later.


The following are quotes:

“In a typical uncoupling process, it is the initiator, i.e. the person who makes the initial recognition of unhappiness, who unconsciously signals the start of the de-bonding reaction, although the recognition of this moment can only be discerned in retrospect.5.”
Libb Thims (2007), Human Chemistry, Volume One (pg. 163) [3]

End matter


  1. Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry, Volume Two (eB) (pdf) (§:Uncoupling, pgs. 597-98). LuLu.
  2. Vaughan, Diane. (1986). Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships. Vintage Books.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry, Volume One (eB) (pdf). LuLu.
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