Four Signs Your Relationship will Fail


There are four clear signs that your relationship will fail.

Did you know that the quality of our closest relationships have the biggest impact on our lives? Satisfying close relationships will make you happier, healthier and even wealthier! So it is so important to keep them healthy!

If you want to do a health check on your relationship, simply look at the way you talk to each other. Because there are four ways that you could be communicating with your partner that will cause the death of your relationship!

That may sound dramatic but research by the Gottman Institute over the past 30 years found that is true.

In fact, Professor John Gottman can tell with more than 90% accuracy which couples will work out long term and which won’t.

The way you communicate with each other is key to creating lasting love.

From my extensive experience, I can tell you that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. In fact, research shows unless you change these ways of communicating it is likely to end your future relationships as well.

These four behaviours are best avoided in all relationships. Oh, and If you are single, it is important to work on healthy communication so you don’t spoil a new relationship.

Let’s look at the behaviours that will end a relationship and their solution.

Four Behaviours that will Kill Your Relationship

1. Criticism

Criticism is a common way of talking for many people. You may even feel like it is just a way of getting your partner to do something you want or to do it better. However, criticism rarely works and has a detrimental effect on the relationship. In fact, Gottman found that criticizing your partner, being judgemental and overly critical is the first sign that a relationship will fail.

Solution – Rather than criticise your partner use constructive comments.

2. Defensiveness

It may feel natural to want to defend yourself when you are attacked, however, it is the second sign that your relationship can fail. Why? Because it gives your partner the idea that you are not hearing what they need to tell you. It is a subtle way of not taking responsibility for your actions in the situation. What you are actually doing is reacting to the complaint as if you are the innocent person/victim. Your partner will take this as a message that you don’t care about what they are feeling or what they have to say. In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Gottman says ‘You’re saying, in effect the problem isn’t me it’s you’.

Solution – It may take practice but it is important to listen to what your partner has to say. You need to be able to accept responsibility for your part of the issue, even it if you only played a small role. When you are able to do this, you will create a healthy relationship.

3. Stonewalling

Men tend to use this type of communication more than women do.  Stonewalling is when you don’t listen to your partner, instead, you shut down and emotionally withdraw yourself from the problem and the situation.  You may feel like you can’t deal with what they are telling you and feel the need to shut down (stone wall ) but this isn’t a healthy way to communicate. Stonewalling doesn’t allow the conflict to be resolved.

Solution  – Be clear that you need to walk away to calm down but that you will come back and deal with the situation. Otherwise, it can become the elephant in the room because unresolved issues rarely go away. Everyone has a pattern of dealing with conflict that they use. Don’t allow your emotions to rule you, rather be responsible for your own emotions. It is important to be able to learn to let go of your anger and negative emotions so you can be constructive in your communication. This is how you build a healthy relationship.

4. Contempt

The first 3 types of communication happen even in healthy relationships. Contempt is quite different and can be a symptom of an abusive relationship. Contempt is when you put someone down in a way that you treat them like they are beneath you.

Contempt will show up in your relationship as insults, sarcasm and acting like you are better than your partner. Gottman’s research found that having an air of superiority was the biggest predictor of a breakup or a divorce. “[Contempt] is poisonous to relationships because it conveys disgust. It’s virtually impossible to resolve a problem when your partner is getting the message you’re disgusted with him or her,” says Gottman.

Solution – It is important to build a relationship full of appreciation and genuine support. Make it a rule that you NEVER give or accept contempt. I know it can be all too easy to communicate sarcastically and even make sarcasm a way of life, that you don’t even realise you are doing it. Too many true things are said in jest or with sarcasm,! Instead, learn to ask for what you want and need in a way that can be heard. Resolve to make the choice to quit sarcasm and replace it with sincere communication.


Being able to talk in a healthy, positive way is the secret to a long-lasting relationship. Conflict is inevitable; however, it is how you deal with it that matters. Make the agreement to take personal responsibility for your actions and never use these four toxic ways of communicating.

I also want to add that research has found that happy couples give each other five positive messages/interactions for each negative message/interaction.

Just remember the 5:1 ratio so you can create a successful relationship.

Finally, remember you don’t need to do this alone! I am here to support you create the happy relationship you have always imagined.

Debbie x

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