Ask any psychologist and she will tell you: relationships are not easy to maintain. During the course of a relationship, there are an unlimited number of possible situations that can lead to the dissolution of the relationship. Many of these things are rather simple -- some may even say "stupid" -- mistakes that could have been easily avoided.
Many ex-couples report affairs being the cause of the relationship’s failure. Both men and women are predisposed to jealousy. When you choose to engage in an affair -- you always have the choice not to -- you are directly risking your relationship.
Any personal verbal attacks directed at your partner can be considered criticism. While some may say that criticism is constructive in relationships, this is only true for criticism directed at your partner’s behavior -- not your partner herself. Personal criticism can lead to the end of a relationship.
Contempt is criticism in disguise. Jokes at your partner’s expense, nasty looks and statements of disrespect are all examples of contempt. Like criticism, contempt can be avoided and, like criticism, contempt can lead to a relationship’s dissolution.
Changing Interaction Style
Stable relationships tend to be stable because the couple’s interactions have converged to conform to a particular interaction style. When one of the partners suddenly changes how she interacts with the other, she is risking the end of the relationship.
Being defensive, instead of listening to your partner’s complaints or concerns, during a conflict brings more stress into the relationship. Avoid making excuses for your deconstructive behaviors if you want a stable relationship.
Long-distance relationships are difficult to maintain and tend to fail. If you decide to move, do not delude yourself into thinking that this choice is not going to affect your relationship. If you value your relationship, you'll have to stay physically close to your partner.
While some researchers state that affairs are the leading cause of relationship dissolution, others state that the leading cause is neglect. The theory is that not spending enough time with your partner makes him lonely, which in turn causes him to seek out an affair, thereby ending the relationship.
Relying on Chemicals
When you are first attracted to a person, your brain releases a cocktail of “feel-good” chemicals. As you continue to date your partner, your brain begins to gradually release fewer chemicals. After about two years, you may begin to feel the “chemistry” between you and your partner fading away. If so, you are relying on the chemicals in your brain to determine your feelings toward your partner.
"Stonewalling" refers to outright ignoring your partner. This is a common technique that men use during verbal conflicts. However, this technique can severely damage your relationship.
Violence is a serious problem that can lead to more than just the demise of your relationship; it can land you in jail. When you feel angry at your partner, avoid violence at all costs.
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- Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage; John Gottman, et al.; 2006
- Intimate Relationships, Marriages and Families; Mary Kay DeGenova, et al; 2010
- Psychology of Relationships; Emma Cuyler, et al.; 2008
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