There are signs that predict the possibility of a divorce, so its not something that stems out of nowhere. According to John Gottman a psychologist for the BusinessInsider, at the University of Washington, there are four reactions that show signs.
One recent study of 373 newlywed couples, found that couples who yelled at each other, showed contempt for each other, or shut off conversation about an issue within the first year of marriage, were more likely to divorce as far as 16 years down the road. Stone walling is also a common trait among divorcees.
1. Contempt – Contempt, a virulent mix of anger and disgust, is far more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. It involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal.
This behavior alone is “the kiss of death” for a relationship.
Take an everyday argument about buying groceries, for example. When you come home and realize your significant other has picked up cabbage instead of managu for dinner, do you listen while he explains that perhaps you didn’t ever tell him what type of vegetable you wanted? Do you think this over, and, when you realize that maybe he’s right, do you apologize? Or do you adopt an attitude and think to yourself,what kind of an idiot doesn’t know that cabbage is white?
The reason contempt is so powerful is because it means you’ve closed yourself off to your partner’s needs and emotions. If you constantly feel smarter than, better than, or more sensitive than your significant other, you’re not only less likely to see his or her opinions as valid, but, more importantly, you’re far less willing to try to put yourself in his or her shoes and see a situation from his or her perspective.
2. Criticism – Criticism involves turning a behavior into a statement about his or her character.
Say your partner has a nasty habit of leaving his or her inner wear on the floor. Do you wait until he or she gets home to mention that the behavior bothers you, and gently suggest that he or she put the dirty laundry in the basket. Over time, these personal detractions can add up, feeding darker feelings of resentment and contempt.
3. Defensiveness – If you find yourself regularly playing the victim in tough situations with your partner, you might be guilty of being defensive. Taking responsibility for your role in a tough situation can be uncomfortable, but it’s often what keeps a bad situation from escalating,.
He’s found that for couples who divorce within the first several years of their marriage — one of the times when divorce rates are highest — “entering negativity is like stepping into a quicksand bog. It’s easy to enter but hard to exit.”
4. Stonewalling – You know when an argument is about to start. You can feel your heart rate increase and your voice get just a tiny bit louder. But the moment things start to get heated, do you pull out your phone, walk away, or simply ignore your partner? Blocking off conversation can be just as toxic for a relationship as contempt because it keeps you from addressing an underlying issue. We know: Getting into arguments with your partner is the opposite of a good time. But these temporarily uncomfortable situations, are often times the place where you can start to come to big realizations about your own behavior and solve potentially damaging problems.
Simply recognizing that you’re doing something that could be hurting your relationship is the first step to actively combating it. If you can figure out how to avoid the behavior or replace it with a more positive one, you’ll probably make the relationship even stronger.