Study after study has proven that most facial expressions don’t matter much when evaluating who is happy in their marriage. However, there is one that is paramount in predicting problems in a relationship, and you don’t have to be a scientist to spot it. That one kiss of death is eye rolling. When couples come to see me, if I just watch their eyes I can usually predict where this marriage has been. You don’t have to be married to see eye rolling. Kids do it to their parents, and friends do it with each other. I have one friend who rolls her eyes all of the time, especially around certain people. She has communicated so clearly who she holds in contempt. Eye rolling can be learned, but it means the same for anyone who does it. Researchers at the University of Washington found that even when it's accompanied by a laugh or a smile, eye-rolling is harmful because of what it indicates. Eye rolling is a sign that you no longer value your partner and that you hold them in contempt. According to Janice Kiecolt-Glaser from Ohio State University, eye rolling is a powerful indication that your relationship may need outside help. Stopping the eye rolling is the first step, but getting at the reasons behind it are important for your relationship. Eye rolling is a sarcastic, nonverbal gesture, but it never clearly states the person’s disagreement and, therefore, the partner doesn’t know how to respond.
Eye Rollers mean this when they roll:
1. They disagree with who is talking.
2. They don’t like how the person talking is saying something.
3. They are frustrated or overwhelmed with what is being said.
4. They don’t respect the person talking.
What the person feels from the eye roller:
1. Uncared for.
2. Insulted. Looked down at.
3. Not respected.
The eye roller can damage any relationship, especially a marriage. When children roll their eyes at their parents, it is assumed this has to do with their immaturity or inability to know effective ways of dealing with feelings. When partners roll their eyes at each other, it is seen more as a deliberate way of showing lack of respect or arrogance. It is perceived as abusive and distances the partners. Withdrawal of the other partner is common, and the marriage may eventually crumble due to the lack of healthy communication. Below are suggestions of what you can do if you live with an eye roller or if you are an eye roller.