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Health

10th Mar 2017

This is the one behaviour guaranteed to end a relationship

Uh-oh

HerFamily

Look, bickering is totally normal.

Sometimes it’s therapeutic to come home and have a row about, well, everything.

And while the odd row is okay, scientists have found that there’s a certain habit in fights that will almost certainly lead a relationship to its demise.

According to John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington and founder of the Gottman Institute, the success of a relationship all depends on your reactions in an argument.

So to set the scene, Gottman uses an example of buying groceries. You’ve asked your partner to buy something and they’ve come home with the wrong thing and it results in an argument.

Do you grow annoyed but inevitably understand that your partner may have been tired and forgetful? Or do you grow angry and think ‘what an absolute idiot’?

If you find yourself in the second scenario, you’re displaying signs of contempt and that is the biggest signifier that a relationship is doomed.

Contempt, a mix of anger and disgust, more toxic than simple frustration or negativity as it involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal.

Gottman and Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson found contempt is so powerful that they can use it — along with the negative behaviors of criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling — to predict divorce with 93% accuracy.

A study of 373 newlywed couples indicated that couples who showed contempt for each other, or simply began to disengage from conflict within the first year of marriage were more likely to divorce, as much as 16 years down the line.

So the next time you’re about to fly off on one, stop and think for a minute. It could save your relationship.