I’m a psychologist – these four factors predict a risk of a relationship breakdown


AN knowledgeable has revealed the 4 elements that predict a relationship breaking down.

The 4 behaviours, regardless of being poisonous, might at first appear insignificant.


{Couples} who present these 4 behaviours are destined to separateCredit score: Getty
Dr Kathy Nickerson


Dr Kathy NickersonCredit score: SWNS

However whereas one trait was described as “lethal”, one other was stated to be the largest reason behind a divorce inside six years of marriage.

Dr Kathy Nickerson, from Orange County, California, revealed the 4 key behaviours that point out a cut up may be on the horizon: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. 

“Do you know that there are 4 behaviours, that should you do them in your relationship, they predict breakup or divorce on the fee of over 90 per cent?,” Dr Kathy requested. 

She attracts on the work of psychologist and famend marriage researcher Dr John Gottman, who recognized these 4 behaviours because the “4 Horsemen”.

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“Gottman discovered that if some or all of those behaviours have been current with sufficient frequency, the connection and friendship on the coronary heart of a wedding would die,” Dr Kathy stated. 


Dr Kathy stated: “Criticism happens once you make harsh judgments about your companion’s ideas, emotions, character, look, and behavior.

“An instance of criticism is ‘Oh, so that you’re simply going to sit down on the sofa at this time once more, huh? You’re such a lazy individual, you by no means do something to assist, you are such a blob.'”

She defined criticism damages the connection as a result of it conveys judgement and lack of acceptance.

She warned: “If you don’t really feel accepted and appreciated by your companion, you’ll not really feel comfy sharing with them and your emotional connection will deteriorate quickly.”

FIX IT: Dr Kathy stated: “Is your companion being overly vital? In that case, ask them to offer you suggestions in a sort and mild approach.”


Contempt is “poison to a relationship”, Dr Kathy stated. 

“We act with contempt after we convey, by our phrases or facial expressions, that our companion is nugatory, disgusting, or lower than.

“An instance of contempt is ‘I can not consider I married such a disgusting individual. You have actually let your self go. Taking a look at you repulses me.'”

Dr Kathy defined Gottman discovered that contempt is the primary predictor of divorce throughout the first six years of a wedding.

She stated: “It’s arduous to love or really feel secure with somebody who continually tells you ways flawed and broken you might be.”

FIX IT: “Are both of you appearing with contempt? In that case, be conscious of how toxic that is to your relationship and push your self to speak with compassion and respect.”


“Stonewalling” is once you shut down and withdraw from a dialog when your companion is talking.

This might go so far as standing up and leaving the room simply to get away.

Dr Kathy stated: “Stonewalling is so lethal for a relationship as a result of we have to really feel that our companion listens to us and cares about our emotions.

“If our companion simply walks away from us, we don’t really feel heard, we don’t really feel understood, we don’t really feel validated and we begin to really feel very unloved and disconnected.”

FIX IT: Dr Kathy stated: “If both of you is stonewalling, strive asking for a break as a substitute.

“Many individuals stonewall after they really feel emotionally overwhelmed throughout a dialog. As an alternative of simply getting up and testing, ask for a break after which go to a quiet place and calm your self down.”


Dr Kathy defined that is when somebody jumps to defend themselves in a dialog with their companion as a substitute of taking duty.

She stated: “In case your companion is sharing why they’re damage by one thing you probably did and also you shortly launch into each clarification for why it could not be completed, odds are you might be being defensive.”

She warned defensiveness is problematic for a relationship as a result of each companions have to really feel like they will affect the opposite to really feel ‘secure’.

She says not having the ability to take action may end up in emotions of powerlessness and fewer connection to your companion.

FIX IT: “Should you or your companion is being defensive, attempt to catch your self. Individuals should be listened to and validated earlier than they hear any explanations or arguments.

“So ask your self: did they totally specific their thought and did I validate their emotions?

“In that case, then it is okay to supply your clarification. If not, cease and pay attention earlier than saying anything.”

Dr Kathy warned that when these behaviours turn into so frequent in a relationship, the “friendship and coronary heart” of a wedding die.

It is arduous for {couples} to show this again round – but it surely is probably not too late for you.

Dr Kathy stated: “Begin with being extra optimistic, kinder, extra useful, and extra complimentary to your companion,” she stated.

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“Attempt to generate some goodwill after which add some enjoyable into the combination – watch a brand new program collectively, play a recreation, go for a stroll.

“The mixture of positivity and enjoyable could be very therapeutic for a relationship.”

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