Reasons Why Your Relationship Is Doomed To Fail
Part 2 of 2: … And How To Fix It!
In part one of the Reasons Why Your Relationship Is Doomed To Fail (Part 1), you learned how differences in temperament can cause havoc in intimate relationships.
In this video, we’ll talk about the Four Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse.
As I’ve said in several videos, attraction, chemistry, and connection are not enough to sustain a long-term relationship.
You need to have compatible beliefs, values, long-term goals, some lifestyle overlap, and to a lesser degree compatible temperaments.
But you could meet the right person and if your temperaments are too far apart or you don’t know how to manage your different temperaments that could lead to The Four Horseman.
Why Your Relationship Is Doomed
John Gottman, the Godfather of relationship studies, can determine with over 90% accuracy if a couple’s relationship will fail by observing them for only five minutes.
What’s he seeing in that five minutes and how can you use that knowledge to avoid a nasty breakup or bitter divorce with someone who is actually really right for you?
The Four Horsemen of The Relationship Apocalypse.
Aka how Gottman got so good at predicting relationship failure based on a five-minute observation.
First, he had them discuss something they argue about regularly that hasn’t been resolved.
Note: >65% of arguments in intimate relationships never get resolved.
He observed four traits in the couples who fought and eventually broke up.
But he also observed other traits in couples who ended up having long-term happy relationships.
First, the four things that will lead to failure eventually and why your relationship is doomed…maybe.
Path to Relationship Failure
- Criticism (of the person, not the behaviour)
- Defensiveness (never conceding the other’s reality)
- Stonewalling (passive-aggressive aka punish by ignoring)
- Contempt (complete disdain for the other)
If you’re doing any of these things, stop.
They are not serving you and won’t in any future relationship, intimate or otherwise.
I know it’s not easy to always remember these things when you’ve been in the heat of the moment, but if you need to develop healthier responses.
I talked about reacting vs responding in part 1, so if you haven’t watched that video, check it out.
What can you do to mitigate negative responses and have a greater chance of happiness and longevity in a long-term relationship?
Focus more on providing simple, regular positives.
If you’re not in the habit of doing these things, they’ll feel awkward at first.
Don’t go overboard or your partner will suspect you of doing something wrong!
But do challenge your comfort zone to save or enhance your relationship.
In Gottmans’ book, The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, he outlines the…
Path to Relationship Success
1. Love Maps
Basically, you want to be familiar with and take an interest in your partner’s life and experiences.
Know their love language and practice expressing love the way they receive it best.
She should do the same for you, of course!
There’s an old saying, “People don’t care about how much you know until they know about how much you care.”
When you sincerely want to know what makes your partner tick, twitch, tremble and triumph, she knows you care.
Learn about her favourite things, fears, future dreams, and stresses and why she feels the way she does about them.
Hint: The “why” is most important!
2. Fondness and Admiration
Fondness and admiration come from a place of respect.
You can’t have attraction if there’s no respect.
But even more so, you can’t feel truly loved without feeling respected.
Gottman asked couples to recount the story of how they met.
By observing how they retell the story he can predict divorce with a 94% accuracy rate!
Ways to nurture your relationship:
- Planning occasions together
- Trying a new activity together
- Expressing appreciation (especially in their love language)
- Giving sincere compliments
3. Turning Toward Each Other
Relationships require attention and giving each other attention.
This is even more important when your partner makes a bid for attention is a subtle way.
She had a crappy day at work and you say, “Do you want to tell me about it?”
That’s a positive way to give attention.
But if you say, “Your boss is an idiot” and walk away or say, “You’re always complaining” then she’s not going to feel heard or validated.
Her bid for attention backfired!
Turning toward means listening, trying to understand, and being supportive… at least at that moment.
Think of it like contributing to the love bank for challenging times when you might need to draw from it.
4. Let Them Influence You
When you let your partner influence you and work together as a team your relationship has a better chance of success.
This doesn’t mean she always gets her way or that she controls you.
But she needs to feel like her opinions matter.
When you include her in making big decisions she like you’re a team respects your leadership more and becomes your biggest cheerleader.
Of course, you won’t agree on everything but you’ll both be able to manage those differences with more love and respect.
5. Solve Solvable Problems
Not every problem will get solved.
In fact, over 65% of arguments in intimate relationships never get resolved.
This may seem dire, but accepting it actually makes things easier.
So focus on the problems that do have solutions and approach those situations with calmness, love, and respect.
That’s what you want too, right?
6. Overcome gridlock
When it comes to the reoccurring issues that cause arguments, try to remember it’s about having a productive conversation not necessarily solving the problem.
Sometimes, it’s more about temperament than the issue. Watch part one for more on temperament.
Gottman believes gridlock comes from unrealized dreams, which can be complicated.
However, I believe it may also be a couple isn’t ideally compatible in terms of values and beliefs.
Regardless, if you want to stay together and have the best chance of happiness you handle it the same way.
Start calmly, try to undercover the root of the issue, look for areas of flexibility within yourself, and end calmly.
Your goal should be more about trying to understand your partner not trying to resolve the issue.
7. Create shared meaning
The most common way couples create shared meaning is by creating a family.
But what about those who either don’t want or can’t have children or aren’t there?
You can create shared meaning in other simple ways.
Shared meaning can come in the form of shared goals like planning a holiday together.
Or having certain spoken or unspoken but mutually agreed upon roles within the relationship.
Maybe you figure out where you want to go and what you want to do together and she’s the vacation planner.
Sharing physical or emotional intimacy can create shared meaning, too.
Relationships are a lot of work, but when you’re with the right person and both of you are trying your best to make it work, they’re worth it.
You’ve got a best friend and team MATE and life can be so much more fun and fulfilling.
If you’ve wanted to know why your relationship is doomed and how to fix it, there it is.
Go forth with new knowledge, courage and hope!