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These 4 Things Kill A Relationship – Most Effectively – Says Science

So what kills a relationship? If you’ve ever wondered this question, then here’s the answer.

For over four decades, psychologist Professor John Gottman has been analyzing relationships, both good and bad. He has done this by following couples across the decades in various psychological studies, to see what kinds of behaviors predict if a couple would stay together in the long run or would divorce eventually.

Amongst the many factors that he identified, four have stood out several times. Gottman has concluded that when a couple’s communication is fraught with these four factors, the odds are more that the couple will divorce in an average of around six years from their marriage.

1. Criticism

couple arguing_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Criticizing your partner is common, but Gottman identified a particular type of corrosive criticism that is super destructive for a relationship. This is when you criticize your partner’s core being, their personality. Everyone makes mistakes, but how you interpret these mistakes is what’s important. If you’re seen as implying that your partner is bad or wrong at some deeper level, that is the worst kind of criticism.

A better way to do it: is to voice the concern and make it a request.

Suggested read: How to have a happy marriage? By getting angry, says Science

2. Contempt

If you have contempt for your partner, then it was the single greatest predictor of divorce, found Gottman. Contempt can involve sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling, and even mimicking. In any form, contempt can make your partner feel practically worthless. Another interesting thing that Gottman found was that couples who were contemptuous of each other were far more susceptible to infectious diseases like colds and the flu.

A better way to do it: is to build respect by appreciating the positive.

3. Defensiveness

couple arguing over money_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Gottman found that when you’re defensive more often than not in your relationship, it could spell the end. A person becomes too defensive when they’re making excuses for their failures or slip-ups. Although people do this time and again, it becomes problematic when it’s persistent.

A better way to do it: is to take your share of the blame. Instead, suggest a solution that you both can live with.

4. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is essentially cutting off all communication. There are no attempt to empathize or even sympathize, no effort to respond, react, or even connect with your partner. You’ve basically erected a stone wall, behind which you stay. Stonewalling can often be a result of a prolonged period of criticism, contempt, and defensiveness. It might even seem like the only way to show your resentment and anger, but a lack of communication will only exacerbate the situation, not solve the issues at the heart of the relationship.

A better way to do it: is to open up and communicate with your partner. In fact, even being angry at your partner, and yelling at them is better than stonewalling.

Each of these are what kills a relationship – puts it in a grave, six feet under. So if you’re ever tempted to do any of these – for any reason, remember these and do the right thing.

Featured image source: Shutterstock

Article Name
What Kills A Relationship? These Four Things, Says Science
I don't think you've ever wanted to know the answer to this question: what kills a relationship? Here's the answer anyway.
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg