8 Bad Habits That Could Really Lead To Divorce
Look we hate to break it to you, smug marrieds, but those seemingly innocent but annoying daily habits you have could be destroying your marriage.
Being married isn't all breakfast in bed and hanging out with "your best friend", sharing the chores equally and reading the paper on a Sunday afternoon. Well, not for all of us anyway.
For some maybe.
And we don't really like you people.
As for us, real-life lovers will know, being married is HARD WORK. It's about knowing what to fight about, and how, and for how long. It's about how you speak to each other, investing time in your relationship, navigating the bad bits and celebrating the good bits. It's also about socks on the floor, sleeping on the couch and long nights drinking wine with your friends trying to work out just what the HELL is going on with your partner.
But if you're not careful, all that work you put in could be in vain. You see, it can be the little things that ultimately destroy a marriage.
"Research shows that there are a lot of little things that people do that can indicate serious problems in relationships," couples therapist and certified Gottman master trainer Carrie Cole, told Harpers Bazaar UK recently.
Our advice? Watch out for these bad habits that can seriously end in a split.
Talking behind each other's back
That night with your friends sitting around badmouthing your partner? Not a good idea, said Cole. "Women may fall into this habit if they're surrounded by people doing the same thing," she says. "If your close group of girlfriends are constantly talking poorly about their own husbands, it may feel more normal for you to chime in and say, 'You think yours is bad? Listen to mine.'"
"It shows a lack of respect for your relationship, even if they never find out," she explains.
Constantly nagging each other
Everyone knows that nagging in a relationship can be exhausting, often leads to a fight, and if it’s constant, it can lead to a divorce," Lysn COO and Clinical Psychologist Tahnee Schulz told 10 daily.
"Over time, nagging can feel increasingly frustrating for both parties. Those on the receiving end get sick of hearing the same thing (you think?) and those doing the nagging feeling like what they’re saying falls on deaf ears. Those on the receiving end will also feel like their partner is fixating on things they might not do well, or small incidental things that shouldn’t really matter."
Being critical of each other
If a person is constantly critical of their spouse, over time their partner can start to harbour feelings of resentment and contempt.
"If you’re prone to negativity or dishing out criticism to your partner, try to focus on the things you feel positive about," suggested Schulz.
"Sometimes perspective can go a long way. When you imagine life without this person, what would hindsight tell you? That you should have left earlier or that you should have given the relationship more care? It’s okay to sometimes want better and express this constructively. But when it comes to long term happiness, we often grow stronger when our partner lifts us up, not puts us down."
Being negative all the time
"Negativity in any relationship can cause problems because it can make a person feel belittled, degraded, unloved and overall can contribute to a pessimistic outlook," said Schulz. "A negative person can easily rub off on someone else, so if it's a constant attitude, it can over time make for a constantly sour relationship." And who wouldn't want out of that?
Negatively comparing your spouse to others is another subtle kiss of death. "Even if you're only making notes in your mind, it can kill a relationship over time," said Cole.
Stonewalling each other
Stonewalling is when a person refuses to communicate, evades fights or avoids conflict by not talking.
"They can withdraw from discussions, give the silent treatment and refuse to address any of their spouse's concerns," said Schulz. "Stonewalling can destroy a relationship because it makes the partner feel rejected and emotionally isolated."
The solution? "If you’re prone to stonewalling, let your partner know you need some space, set yourself a time limit for thinking things over, then force yourself to address the issue at a later stage rather than avoiding it altogether," suggested Schulz.
Not letting go of arguments
Some people just cannot deal with not having the last word, or they have to find a way to bring back the argument into a conversation.
"When this happens it can be exhausting," Schulz told 10 daily, "but if it happens time and time again in a relationship, it can be detrimental. If someone doesn’t know when to stop bickering or when to just let it go, the other person can start to feel helpless, hopeless and trapped. It can also build up a lot of pent up stress and tension for the person who doesn’t let go of the argument."
If that sounds like you, work on ways to learn how to tolerate your own distress and to pick a constructive time to express how you feel in a solution focused manner."
Being bad-tempered with each other
A bad temper can easily turn what could have been a light-hearted conversation into a full-blown fight in a matter of seconds. It instantly takes any positive energy out and replaces it with aggression.
"Science proves that the louder you speak, the less people hear," said Schulz. "Arguments activate our inbuilt 'threat response’, which can cause the other person to be consumed in a fight, flight, freeze or faint mode as a primal defence mechanism -- this means they can only notice how they feel, not what you are saying. This can cause your partner to shut down and close off from the conversation and can slowly damage their emotional wellbeing.
"Next time you feel your temper rising, try to implement ways to calm yourself down, whether it be with breathing exercises, by counting or (with permission) recording the conversation so you can become more aware of overreactions and how you’re behaving."
Not fighting at all
OK so it may sound totally weird, but if you don't fight at all, ever, experts say you may have just given up on the relationship.
According to Diane Gehart, a professor of marriage and family therapy, when you don't even bother to bring up something that annoys you, it means you've stopped putting energy into the relationship and could be emotionally checking out. While that doesn't mean you should be picking fights in order to show you care, if there's a sense of quiet resentment or ambivalence, it's better to bring up the issue than let it simmer.
Just do it in a nice way, OK?
Feature Image: 20th Century Fox