Your relationship is not perfect.
But no-ones perfect, so expecting your relationship to be perfect is probably not the right approach.
However, relationship psychologists can predict which marriages will end in divorce 93% of the time.
How? By looking out for these 4 ‘relationship-killing’ behaviors. Learn them & avoid them at all costs:
- Contempt: a virulent mix of anger and disgust, contempt is far more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. It involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal. Basically, contempt is “the kiss of death” for a relationship.
- Criticism: like contempt, criticism involves turning a behavior (something your partner did) into a statement about his or her character (the type of person he or she is). Over time, these personal detractions can add up, feeding darker feelings of resentment and contempt.
- Defensiveness: if you find yourself regularly playing the victim in tough situations with your partner, you might be guilty of being defensive. 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.”
- 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.
Now, here’s the good news: Don’t panic!
It’s important to keep in mind that occasionally displaying any one of these behaviors — or all of them, even — is completely normal. It’s when these negative behaviors happen so frequently that they replace more positive interactions with your partner that can be cause for concern.
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.