The divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has definitely shocked fans and close friends and family. However, although their decision may seem sudden, it could also be that their separation was a long-term process.
Moreover, this has been backed up by Michael McNutty, PhD, who explains that most divorces don’t happen out of nowhere. That is, there are warning signs that a relationship is about to fall apart. He goes on to explain that frequent fighting isn’t one of them. Actually, this is a completely normal occurrence since 69% of the conflicts between partners are going to be ongoing issues.
McNutty has 25-year long experience in treating couples. Hence, the real sign about a relationship is how you and your partner communicate during conflicts. Therefore, take a look at what signs you need to look out for, as well as ways to fix a broken relationship.
- More negativity than positivity
This could mean more criticism and nagging. In fact, according to McNutty, happy couples have 5 positive interactions for every one negative.
- You become overwhelmed during disagreements
The psychology term for this phenomenon is flooding or physical response that takes place when you talk about a problem with your partner. It usually involves accelerated heart rate to sweating and nervous stomach. Unfortunately, discussion concerning your differences becomes even more difficult when this happens. If this is the case when you and your partner disagree, take a break and return to the conversation once you’ve cooled down. Find a way to relax, but never leave the problem unsolved.
- Pointing out flaws all the time
When you spend too much time with someone, even if this is the person you love, you’ll very likely become easily irritated by their actions from time to time. This becomes a serious issue when you begin seeing your partner’s annoying habits as character flaws. Instead of trying to bring your partner down, figure out a more cooperative solution.
A productive conversation cannot take place if you respond with counter attack. For example, if your partner is attacking you for not throwing out the garbage, your natural reaction may easily be: “You’re crazy! I always take out the trash; I don’t know what your problem is!” Since this is often a natural reaction to criticism, try to come up with a more mild response like:” You’re right. I should throw it out more often. I’ll have a reminder on my phone.” Doing this indicates that you are a team, not two separate individuals.
Too much contempt in the form of nasty comments, eye rolling, or disgusted looks are frequent predictors of divorce. Nevertheless, don’t lose hope. Instead, focus on expressing your personal needs and find the positive sides of your relationship.
- The wall is simply unbreakable
When you feel that your partner is not paying attention to you, you might feel as if that person doesn’t care about you, according to McNutty. However, often times, the other interlocutor is overwhelmed by the discussion and doesn’t know what to do. Therefore, find a more approachable way for both sides.
- You’re feeling more single than in a relationship
McNutty explains that frequently, relationships tend to end more by ice, than by fire. Usually, this occurs when all of the abovementioned factors start to add up and discussion about current issues becomes impossible. Unfortunately, people become tired of dealing with each other’s differences, which usually ends in two parallel lives, rather than a unity of two.
All in all, it’s never too late to save your relationship. Gottman Institute studies have shown that 80% of couples, who tried out some of the previously mentioned solutions, had a significant improvement in their relationship. As long as you find a way to solve your issues with a positive outlook, success will follow.