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4 Things Lovers Do That Can Kill Their Relationship

Over the years, there have been many studies about love and relationships. Most of them usually focus on how to improve or keep a couple’s relationship. However, couples should also know that there are things that we unconsciously do that can actually turn our relationship into something sour that can signal the end of it.

What makes our partner want to give up on us? Dr. John Gottman, renowned Psychology professor, has been studying couples for many years. He has analyzed the good and the bad in relationships and have concluded four things couples do that can kill their relationship. Dr. Gottman’s study is so precise that when he observes these in a couple’s relationship, chances are, they will likely divorce in an average of six years from their marriage.

Here are 4 things that couples should avoid doing to each other:

1. Being overly critical about your partner.

Of course, nobody is ever perfect, but when one has become “corrosively critical” of his or her partner, it can become destructive that it can force your partner to leave you. An example of this kind of destructive criticism is when one criticizes the person’s core being, try to attack their personality and not the action. For example, “You never take out the trash! You are lazy! I am always the one doing everything in this house!….”

Being "corrosively critical" to your partner will definitely end your relationship! Photo Credit: Arta Hysa
Being “corrosively critical” to your partner will definitely end your relationship!
Photo Credit: Areta Hysa

Be careful when interpreting your partner’s mistake. When these criticisms are repeated, it will strike the heart of your partner, and can signal the end of your relationship sooner or later.

What you can do:

Be straight with what you want from your partner. If you are overwhelmed with emotions, try not to say anything, compose yourself and try to understand the other person first. Instead of saying, “You are lazy!”, try saying, “Could you please take the trash out for me?”. Your partner most probably will take out the trash if you just ask them.

2. Losing respect for your partner.

When one has lost respect and all he has is contempt for the partner, the couple’s relationship will truly end sooner or later. This is because contempt can involve insults, sarcasm, bullying, and all other actions that can make the other person feel worthless.

When a couple has become comfortable and too familiar with each other, contempt may get into the picture, and according to Dr. Gottman, this is the greatest predictor of divorce.

What you can do:

Build respect and appreciate each other. Even if you have become familiar with your partner, focus on the things that are positive about him or her. Sure, it may feel like there’s no excitement anymore, but try to speak positive to your partner even if you don’t like his type of music or the way she fixes her hair anymore.

3. Being too defensive.

When being too defensive in a relationship has become persistent, this may be a signal that the relationship is about to end really soon. While people normally become defensive as they try to make excuses for their failures, couples who score off points against each other can actually hasten the end of their relationship. They feel that their partner is attacking them, which even makes their relationship more complicated.

What you can do:

Be humble and take your share of the blame. You are in a partnership, not in a competition of who is the better one in the relationship. So instead of being defensive the next time you forgot to pay the bill, say “I’m sorry, I forgot, I will pay the bill now”, instead of saying, “It’s your fault, you didn’t remind me, you know I was too busy!”

4. Stonewalling.

Stonewalling is usually accompanied by indifference. It’s as if the other person has already put a wall between you, and there are no efforts to communicate with the other person anymore. This can be a result of criticism, contempt and being overly defensive. One or both partners have already given up on each other and have cut off communication.

What you can do:

Communicate. Even if it’s difficult. Even if you don’t feel like it. Try to spark interest in your partner and communicate in a loving way. Remember how you were at the start of the relationship to break the wall.

Every relationship starts out sweet and full of love, however, as couples spend all their time together, they become overly familiar and start to become critical, have contempt and become indifferent of their partner. Whether you are in a new relationship or an old one, always remember the reason why you are together. Knowing these things that can lead to separation can also help you avoid making your relationship sour. Remember, everything is a choice, and people only respond to the way we treat them. If you treat your partner with love, chances are, your partner will treat you lovingly too.

Please read: 10 Ways to Improve Your Relationship

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