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The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems -- And How To Fix Them

Stashed in: @oprah, Relationships, Terms, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, relationships

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1) The Four Horsemen Of The Relationship Apocalypse

John has studied thousands of couples over his 40 year career. Four things came up again and again that indicated a relationship was headed for trouble. The Disasters did them a lot and the Masters avoided them:

#1: Criticism

This is when someone points to their partner and says their personality or character is the problem. Here’s John:

Criticism is staging the problem in a relationship as a character flaw in a partner. The Masters did the opposite: they point a finger at themselves and they really have a very gentle way of starting up the discussion, minimizing the problem and talking about what they feel and what they need.

Ladies, are you listening? Because criticism is something women do a lot more than men. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to how the guys screw up soon enough.)

#2: Defensiveness

This is responding to relationship issues by counterattacking or whining. Here’s John:

The second horseman was defensiveness which is a natural reaction to being criticized. It takes two forms: counterattacking or acting like an innocent victim and whining. Again, the Masters were very different even when their partner was critical. They accepted the criticism, or even took responsibility for part of the problem. They said, “Talk to me, I want to hear how you feel about this.”

#3: Contempt

It’s the #1 predictor of breakups. Contempt is acting like you’re a better person than they are. Here’s John:

Contempt is talking down to their partner. Being insulting or acting superior. Not only did it predict relationship breakup, but it predicted the number of infectious illnesses that the recipient of contempt would have in the next four years when we measured health.

#4: Stonewalling

It’s shutting down or tuning out. It passively tells your partner, “I don’t care.” And 85% of the time it’s guys who do this.

(Want to know a shortcut to creating a deeper bond with a romantic partner? Click here.)

Okay, that’s what kills a relationship. Naturally, you want to know what stops those things from occurring, right?

gottman's research is having such a resurgence of interest right now!  good.  we should all know this stuff!

it has helped me to acknowledge the "bids" for attention i get from others and respond kindly.  :)

I wonder why Gottman is having a resurgence now.

Has someone else been promoting these theories? Or does Gottman have a new book?

And yes, acknowledging bids and responding kindly is the best thing to do. Kudos to you Emily!

i don't know what has caused the resurgence...

My guess: Oprah featured him in 2007.

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