After years of love research, psychologist John Gottman knows how to predict whether a relationship is ending. In 90% of the cases, he is right. All he does, is signal these 7 signs.
According to the famous relation therapist, relationships don’t end because couples fight a lot – it’s about the way you fight. If you fight the wrong way, the scenario ‘happily ever after’ probably isn’t in the stars for the two of you.
In his University of Washington laboratory, that he lovingly calls the Love Lab, Gottman observed hundreds of couples. His research brought him the success formula of a good relationship, but it also taught him a lot about bad relationships.
1. Conflicts always turn hostile
If couples start a disagreement or argument with contempt, criticism or sarcasm, Gottman says you make a ‘false start’. And things that start on the wrong foot, usually don’t end well.
2. You give (or receive) personal criticism
Of course it’s OK to criticise each others behaviour. But if you talk critically and disdainful about your partner as a person, it damages the love connection.
3. You deliberately give them a bad feeling
Making fun of someone, using cuss words, rolling your eyes or projecting your irritation on them – it’s all disdain. None of these things contributes to a constructive fight, they are simply used to ‘score’.
4. One of you has a defensive attitude
There are few problems in a relationship that only one of you is responsible for. Acting like it’s all their fault, like you don’t have a part in this, never contributes to a solution.
5. You’ve ‘closed off’ from each other
If you or your partner regularly closes off from the other, a blockage arises and love no longer flows. According to Gottman, this is usually the result of frequent criticism and contempt.
6. Arguments escalate
In an intense argument, with lots of verbal accusations, your heartbeat rises and adrenaline increases. Emotions get the better of you and you feel unsafe. But if this happens often, we tend to avoid this kind of collisions and we estrange from our partner.
7. Making up is difficult
Unhappy couples, according to Gottman, find it hard to press the ‘pause button’ during an argument.
Photo: Elizabeth Tsung
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