Relationship Coach Says We've Been Lied To — Communication Problems Do *Not* Cause Divorce. But Here's What Actually Does

According to a relationship coach, couples working on communication skills are missing the point.

relationship coach said that connection is more vital to a relationship than communication TikTok 

In many relationships, couples seek advice for their lack of healthy communication. Whether couples are having unproductive arguments or not communicating at all, many of them blame communication problems for the demise of a relationship.

However, a relationship coach took to TikTok to explain why it's not actually communication issues that lead to the breakdown of relationships.

According to relationship coach Erin Bentley, communication issues do not cause divorce.

In a TikTok video, Bentley explained that she has been a relationship coach for 16 years and has been studying relationships for over three decades. In that time, she explains she has done plenty of research about relationships and how problems commonly arise, which brings her to her point that the idea that communication issues cause divorce is "a whopper of a stinker of a myth."


Though Bentley recognizes that communication is indeed important to relationships, it's the purpose of communication that most couples actually have a problem with.

"The purpose of communication isn't communication," Bentley explains in the video. "It's connection."



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While "we can improve people's communication," according to Bentley, that doesn't always guarantee a stronger connection — and it's that lack of connection that actually leads to divorce. 

She explains that in order to communicate better with your partner, you must be willing and actually want to improve your connection with them. Upon talking about broadening connections, and having a nurturing connection, she said, “That is the thing that makes a relationship happy, secure, and fulfilling and can help you to avoid divorce.”

So how, exactly, can you improve not just your communication but also your connection with your partner? 

According to Bentley, a key practice when it comes to deepening or rebuilding connection is to listen to their partner's needs and desires as well as for the needs that they are expressing under the surface. Whether the communication is in the form of questions, complaints or statements, Bentley explains that what you're really listening for is "the deeper need underneath."

Bentley went on to explain next steps when it comes to hearing your partner's underlying needs, suggesting you "check in about what you suspect they need" by reiterating to them what you think it is they're really asking for. From there, you can "invite them to share how they feel about that," she wrote in the comments, "listen actively and make amends. Then take steps to change the behavior."


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Bentley repeatedly mentions Gottman's research to back up her claims.

The Gottman Method of Relationship Therapy was developed by John Gottman and utilizes "mathematical models, scales, and formulas to identify the elements of stability in relationships and the interactive patterns that cause couples to divorce."

While many traditional modes of therapy focus on improving communication, the Gottman Method provides couples with actionable tasks to improve their connection. For example, licensed therapist and author Terry Gaspard MSW, LICSW explained in a YourTango article that a few ways couples can reconnect is by exercising together, eating together without screens and taking a vacation together, among other things. 

Bentley also noted within the comments section of the article that a true connection is not possible unless both parties are on the same page. 


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Cortney Crowell is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango from New Jersey who covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.