Digital Decoupling and Disentangling: Towards Design for Romantic Break Up

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


Romantic relationships are often facilitated through digital technologies, such as social networking sites and communication services. They are also facilitated through 'digital possessions', such as messages sent to mobile devices and photos shared through social media. When individuals break up, digitally disconnecting can be facilitated by using those digital technologies and managing or curating these digital possessions. This research explores the break up stories of 13 individuals aged between 18 and 52. The aim of this work is to inform the design of systems focused on supporting individuals to decouple and disentangle digitally in the wake of a break up. Four areas of interest emerged from the data: communication, using digital possessions, managing digital possessions, and experiences of technology. Opportunities for design were identified in decoupling and disentangling, and designing around guilt. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS '17
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450349222
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017
Event12th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, DIS 2017 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jun 201714 Jun 2017


Conference12th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, DIS 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Relationship break up
  • digital possessions
  • digital technologies
  • decoupling
  • disentangling
  • curation
  • reflection
  • reminiscence
  • management
  • technology use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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