Can perceptions within a couple ruin relationships

Cologne -

You made it up to you to ask your partner what their day was like today. But then out of the corner of your eye you can see the dishwasher, which has still not been cleared. And the anger is immediately too great to ask a friendly question.

Does that sound like an everyday situation in a partnership? It is. But in the long term, this behavior can lead to your relationship suddenly being completely on the brink. Because there are behaviors that can ruin any relationship.

The American relationship psychologist Dr. John Gottman set out together with his wife. The well-known psychologist couple questioned 3000 couples and found out some things about poor communication in relationships. Gottman describes four specific habits that can ruin even a longstanding and stable relationship in no time.

With the "apocalyptic horsemen" the name says it all.

These are the four biggest relationship killers:

Constant criticism

The number one relationship killer is criticism, as anyone who has been in a long-term relationship should have noticed. This is also the case with John Gottman, who has been married to his wife for decades and therefore knows from his own experience that constant criticism of the partner has a destructive effect. In general, criticism of the partner's behavior, according to the psychologist, is always a drop that brings the barrel to overflow at the given time.

Nevertheless, according to the therapist couple, problems in the relationship must be discussed openly. But above all in the form of I-messages and with positive wishes. Never with a hail of criticism and reproachful formulations in the style of: "You never do."

Contempt and contempt

Communication is the be-all and end-all. This is how sarcasm between friends in the café can be entertaining. However, in a relationship, cynical comments can do a lot of damage. Cynicism is even an increase in the criticism of the partner, ie the first "apocalyptic rider." Because if the partner believes that his concerns or wishes are not being taken seriously, he feels underestimated.

According to the Gottman Institute website, the perspective in the relationship is clear: "Disdain is the strongest indicator of an imminent divorce and must therefore be eliminated." continue to treat each other with respect and highlight positive aspects in the relationship.

"That was your mistake!" The blame

Anyone who likes to blame their partner for problems in a relationship will quickly find themselves on the precipice of their partnership. According to the researchers, finger pointing is a bad omen in a relationship. What often happens in the next step is the defense strategy that partners then use. “The problem is that it never helps solve the current problem,” explains Gottman.

Instead, the psychologist advises you to deal primarily with your own mistakes and then to look for a solution together.

On their website, however, the Gottmanns dispel any hope of lasting harmony in the partnership, even when they apply their advice. However, with an important piece of advice on conflict resolution:

"There are problems that you just won't solve because of the natural personality differences between you and your partner, but if you can learn to deal with these problems in a healthy way, your relationship will be successful."

Close the bulkheads

Which brings us to the ultimate destructive behavior in a relationship. The sealing. Because anyone who thinks relationship quarreling is purely negative is wrong.

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Anyone who withdraws and no longer discusses terminates the relationship. An emotional farewell from the partnership is the death sentence for any relationship. The way to avoid this final ruin: End the conflict situation and ask for a timeout. Just like: “Honey, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I feel overwhelmed and have to take a break. Can you give me twenty minutes and then we can talk? "

"It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it helps you calm down."

Gottman advises the partner not to think about the conflict during this time but to distract himself. "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it helps you calm down."