Researchers Identify 6 Signs Your Relationship Might Be Over

couple fighting on a couch

Posted on in Divorce

Murphy Divorce AttorneyWhile no two relationships are exactly the same, humans are creatures of habit. Over decades spent studying relationships, patterns emerge–especially about why relationships end. One couple in particular, John and Julie Gottman, believe they have identified six behaviors that occur when a relationship is falling apart. Used in a clinical research setting, they can predict which marriages will end in divorce with surprising accuracy. Here are six behaviors the Gottman duo observed that may predict divorce. 

Bad Starts to Conversations

When researchers see that a conversation begins poorly, such as with sarcasm or criticism, the rest of the conversation will go badly. Nearly 100 percent of the time, researchers could predict how a conversation would go based on listening to the first three minutes. 

The Four Horsemen

Named after the four horsemen that precede the biblical apocalypse, these types of negative behaviors–defensiveness, contempt, criticism, and stonewalling–can destroy a marriage by destroying the ability to have a productive conversation.

Emotional Flooding

Flooding occurs when someone feels so overwhelmed by their partner’s behavior that they essentially shut down. Negative responses, bad beginnings to conversations, and feeling shocked by a partner’s contempt can all trigger emotional flooding. 

Body Language

Researchers watched couples as they fought, observing their heart rates and adrenaline levels. As a conflict intensifies, heart rates go up, blood pressure rises, agitated movements occur, and the body releases hormones that can trigger flight-or-fight mode. 

Failed Deescalation

Even though marriages tend to fall apart over time, researchers can predict how likely a marriage is to end by watching just one conversation. This is because couples follow patterns in their arguments, including patterns of deescalating conflict. If one partner tries to lower the tension of the conversation and the other partner responds with hostility, the end of the marriage may be near. 

More Bad Memories than Good Ones

The Gottmans’ research suggests that it is not whether couples have hard times or negative experiences together, but rather how they think about them that shapes the strength of their relationship. If they view their early courtship as warm and romantic, or view problems as challenges that they overcame, they are much more likely to be happy long-term. 

Meet with a Collin County Divorce Attorney

Whatever the reason behind the end of your marriage, the skilled Lucas, TX divorce attorneys with Law Office of Brian Bagley are interested in fighting to get the best deal for you. Whether you prefer to handle things peacefully or need to be more combative, we have your back. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (972) 843-7158


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