Love, Heartbreak

8 Common Things That WILL Lead To Divorce (If You're Not Careful)

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The thing about relationships is that everyone has one or has had one, and thus has their own take on the myths that keep them alive (and pull them apart).

There are thousands of years worth of relationships that have tried and failed and succeeded, so how do you decipher the myths from reality? Which ones are actually relevant to YOU?

The ones that actually can cause serious damage and even lead to divorce may surprise you. They're sneaky. They're sly. And they'll get you when you least expect it.

1. When one pursues, the other withdraws.  

The pattern goes like this: She demand and he withdraws, or she pursues and he distances. In fact, it goes in both directions: males are the pursuers, the ones making demands.

This is VERY dysfunctional. A good relationship craves responsiveness to your partner’s needs and wishes. Responsiveness does not mean you have to drop everything and answer your partner’s call. It means acknowledging their need, even if you can’t do anything about it right now. It is the opposite of withdrawing and distancing.

2. When the negatives outweigh the positives.

The golden ratio of positives to negatives in a relationship is 5 to 1. It might seem cold and scientific to look at it this way, but it's a good rule of thumb.

Yes, great couples have negative moments. These are essential to learn what kind of interactions don’t work between the partners, how to renew courtship, learn about each other, and develop conflict resolution skills that in turn lead to trust and intimacy. However, if there is more than one negative incident for five positive ones, watch out!

3. When negative moments get blown out of proportion.

When in conflict females tend to turn to criticism and males use stonewalling, that is, the silent treatment. Partners can also become defensive and contemptuous. As one becomes negative, the other reciprocates in kind, using in turn criticism, stonewalling, defensiveness and contempt.  It is the escalation that creates distancing in a couple, not the actual argument!

4. When there are no positive emotions.

When you don't have any negative emotions about your relationship, that doesn't mean everything is OK. If the partners can't use humor, show affection, support or empathyif they don't have a sense of joy and engagement toward the other, then there is no emotional connection.

It is kind of living side by side, in parallel, yet being alone and lonely in a shared space. Daily events of shared laughter, chats and hugs are very important to keep the relationship going because these little gestures renew and strengthen the emotional connection.

5. When you fail to repair painful moments.

Every couple, at one point, will hurt each other’s feelings or fail to make the emotional connection that their partner needs. That’s life. It might result in an argument, and that’s OK.

The dysfunctional response is to withdraw, or avoid a fight altogether after being hurt. A functional response is to take the time to talk calmly about the incident and repair the harm done. Suppressing it , dismissing it, or ignoring it WON'T work long-term. It will pile up resentment instead.

6. When negative perceptions outweigh positive perceptions.

When one partner interprets the other partner’s positive or neutral message as being negative, this is a huge red flag. It eventually leads to negative attributionsa situation where the upset partner maximizes the negative intent of the other and starts attributing negative character flaws or traits to their mate.

7. When one of you is in chronic-alarm-mode. 

A partner might feel overwhelmed by their mate and get triggered by various physiological responses, such as increased heart rate, sweating and more. They stress out, anticipating a fight.

The more a person gets aroused in an interaction or argument, the less they are able to take in information, listen, and empathize with the other. They become defensive and can’t engage in problem solving. They only see danger, which they have to fight or flee. And to them the danger is their partner.

The solution is to distance oneself gently from the interaction until the alarm responses have calmed down.

8. When you fail to accept influence.

Men often refuse to acknowledge women they think are in "complaining-mode." This happens when they either retreat into their own spaces (withdrawal) or by escalating their belligerent or defensive responses.

This is sure-fire sign of dysfunction.

This information is based on the works of Drs. John and Julie Gottman of the Gottman Institute.