If I were to observe you and your partner interacting with each other for a day, could I predict the future of your relationship?
Could I ascertain, with near certainty, whether you’d be happy together for a long time or end up splitting?
I’m pretty sure I could.
I wouldn’t have to ask you any direct questions. I wouldn’t have to even know much about you or your history together.
I wouldn’t need to know how long you’ve been together, or how much you have in common, or even anything about your childhood and what your parents were like.
All I would have to do is observe. And listen very closely.
How can I be so sure?
Because science has shown that there are 4 tell-tale signs—or negative behaviors—that predict whether or not a couple will be happily together for a long time, or end up getting separated or divorced.
Once you begin to exhibit these 4 negative behaviors, your relationship can start to spiral downward into greater and greater unhappiness and disconnection, and if nothing changes along the way—into divorce.
Is your relationship safe from the effects of these negative behaviors?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Psychological researcher John Gottman is famous for his research into the predictors of separation or divorce among couples. After studying 3,000 couples, he was able to predict with 90% accuracy which of the couples he observed in his research would end up together and which would divorce.
He further identified the four negative behaviors that most predict divorce, which are:
Of the four, contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce.
Once one partner starts to exhibit contempt for the other, it’s HIGHLY LIKELY that the relationship will end in a separation or divorce, according to Gottman.
It’s a downward spiral that starts with criticism and ends in contempt, and then likely, divorce.
That’s a very good question!
It starts when you or your partner (or both) perceive a disconnect: in intimacy, in support, or in understanding of each other.
Then one day you notice that you don’t feel as close or as attracted to your partner as you used to feel. This makes you sad because you remember what it was like to be so giddy in love when you were first together.
You wake up to the realization that something has gone wrong.
At this point, another feeling arises, and this is where the downward spiral really starts to gain momentum:
You start to feel anxious.
No one likes to feel anxious.
…the butterflies in your stomach, the sensation of being on high-alert for danger, the inability to relax or feel joy. There’s also that constant gnawing feeling that there’s something you’re forgetting or not attending to.
It’s very unpleasant.
It doesn’t feel good to be anxious for no reason, so you begin to look for a reason, or a scapegoat, for those negative feelings. In this case, your partner becomes the scapegoat.
You start to look for what your partner is doing wrong or what he or she is neglecting to do:
They left the house without saying goodbye.
They forgot to tell you that they invited some friends over for drinks tonight.
They left their dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher.
They didn’t call you to tell you they would be getting home late.
NOW you have something to latch onto. You begin to criticize your partner. This is different than mere complaining, this is an attack on your partner. They did something wrong because of a flaw in their character:
You’re taking me for granted. You don’t care about me. You think I’m just here to pick up after you. You’re careless and thoughtless.
When you’re in this state of looking for reasons why your partner is causing your anxiety and unhappiness, you only see what they’re doing wrong. You ignore all the things your partner may be doing RIGHT.
What’s interesting about this is that science has shown that women subconsciously use criticism as a way to draw their partner in and as an indication to move closer.
That’s not how a man sees complaining and criticism! When a woman criticizes, the man believes he’s failed in some way, and begins to feel hurt, ashamed, and misunderstood.
This makes him angry with himself. But he doesn’t want to direct his anger at you, so he withdraws.
He stops talking. He grows cold. He seems to ignore you. He may even leave the room or the house.
But if he withdraws long enough and often enough, you don’t feel safe or connected.
This again brings up anxiety in you, but it’s stronger this time. It causes you to start to feel contempt. I define contempt as:
When you’re in a state of contempt, you believe they can no longer do anything right, because their actions aren’t just what’s wrong. THEY are wrong.
When you’re in a state of contempt, you’re also convinced you have the moral high-ground. You say mean things. You’re sarcastic. You call your partner names. You belittle them, sometimes in front of others.
“Oh, give me a break! I asked you for one thing and you couldn’t do it. I guess you’re just an incompetent jerk. Or maybe you’re just a big baby who needs me to spell everything out for him every step of the way?”
Contempt is ugly. Once you start to feel contempt for your partner or for each other, it’s much more difficult to bring the relationship back from the brink. That’s because with contempt, you believe you’ve made up your mind about your partner, and it’s not good.
They can’t do anything right. They can’t give you what you need. And they’re flawed.
Now it’s just a matter of time before things fall apart. According to John Gottman’s research, you have a 90% chance of splitting up.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize EARLY ON if you’re falling into the downward spiral of relationship failure and do the things that will reconnect with your partner, FAST.
How can you do that? Simple.
Rather than complain, criticize, or ask your your partner to stop doing things that annoy you, you look for ways to ADD POSITIVES to your relationship.
That is by far the most effective way to turn any relationship around, forge a stronger connection with your partner, and begin the upward spiral toward more love, intimacy, and trust.
I know, because I’ve spent 40 years studying the science of what makes relationships fail as well as what makes them heal.
And my video program will show you how to add in positive, effective actions and feel close again.Add Positives
You may be wondering what kind of positives you can add into your relationship to keep from spiraling into contempt and ultimately, a split.
These aren’t just any random actions. For example, it may not necessarily be:
While some of these actions can’t hurt, these aren’t necessarily the most impactful or may not have the most lasting results.
If they don’t work or have lasting results, you may end up right back where you started, critical, anxious, and withdrawn, and feeling weary and demoralized too!
That’s why I’ve evaluated countless psychological studies on relationships and—based on the ones that matched my clinical experience—I know which specific positive actions are the most effective in terms of how quickly they can turn a relationship headed for contempt, into a relationship that’s stronger, happier, and more loving—almost within minutes.
In my video program, Wake Up In A New Marriage, you’ll learn which positive actions are the MOST EFFECTIVE at bringing your relationship back from the brink and helping you feel close again.
Among the positives you’ll learn, are the 5 critical skills that will strengthen your connection, no matter how far apart you’ve grown. I’ll show you how to master these skills, step-by-step, using time-tested, effective techniques for building intimacy.
When you strengthen intimacy and connection, you can’t help but change your entire relationship for the better.
You’ll begin to see all the things your partner is doing right, not focus on everything they’re doing wrong.
You’ll stop criticizing and start feeling appreciation for each other. Your gratitude will inspire you to find out what says “I love you” to your partner and give it to them, which will in turn inspire them to give you what you most crave, as well.
Your anxiety will lessen and you’ll feel more content and peaceful around your partner.
This program will also reveal:
You can begin watching this 8-hour video program in a matter of minutes here, risk-free:Start Watching Now
I am hopeful this program will help you create a relationship that’s impervious to criticism, stonewalling, and contempt, so you can remain happily in love for many, many years to come.
May you have an extraordinary day,
P.S. Is your relationship fraught with “drama”? Do you have to tiptoe around your partner to avoid a fight?
It’s hard to stay with somebody who overreacts to almost any issue, especially if you never know when it’s going to happen. That’s why in my video program, Wake Up In A New Marriage, you’ll learn how to give feedback and communicate effectively with your partner, to lessen the drama and inspire them to take responsibility for their own feelings and reactions.Learn More