3 behaviors that frighten love away, based on relationship science
It’s better to know upfront how to avoid as much heartbreak as possible.
It can be terrifying to enter a relationship in hopes it goes well. As you know, starting a relationship requires a lot of risk.
Of course, you earn trust with time, but you do have to take risks along the way and test to see if this is a relationship you want to continue, or if this person’s right for you as a spouse.
We’re baffled when it doesn’t work out, or we assume we know exactly the reason and avoid that in the next relationship to then see it happen all over again.
Regardless if you’ve been single several times or you’ve been with your partner several years, there will be times you feel unloved. The moments of despair. Or moments you want to trash the coldness and just feel close and connect.
It’s been said on TV, “There’s no secret to a happy marriage. If there was, it would’ve already been hacked.”
All those years of research uncovering the secret to a happy marriage in our generation is a godsend but we have the Luck Followers with megaphones. They think romantic and committed love is based on luck, and there isn’t a a clue anywhere that can prove otherwise.
Even 10 years ago we didn’t have some amazing relationship science about love. But we do now. Let’s not allow it to be silenced.
It’s better to know upfront how to avoid as much heartbreak as possible.
Wouldn’t you want to know in the year 1615 that not washing your hands could lead to life-threatening or deadly diseases caused by bacteria? Aren’t you happy we know now?
Same thing with relationship science. It’s real and hopefully we’ll soon all be happy to know.
When people learn about it they respond in 2 ways.
In one way it seems too boring. Like how my nephew responds to when I answer his question about managing my finances. I tell him, “I make an annual and monthly budget and make sure I save enough for my spending and saving.” He’s unimpressed. It’s too much of a commitment. It’s not easy and quick.
The other way is to absolutely appreciate the education and run with it. There are those couples that you give them the tools and they get to work with them right away. They treat it like something useful. As if they were given a car and they start driving it right away, without hesitation. You break down how to process feelings with their partner so they feel understood and validated, and off they go.
The important first step for you now is to become aware of it. Digest the information and then apply it.
The 3 Behaviors that frighten love away
1. Emotional distance
There’s always some buzz around “keeping the mystery,” or your partner will lose interest. But in fact, research shows that because of the mystery they lose interest — when there is vagueness there’s distance.
The argument is that in order to have an erotic and passionate love life, you must be mysterious and not get too emotionally close, or be too friendly—or even worse, cuddle.
Again, research has shown otherwise. Emotional connection allows for better intimate sex, where you can feel comfortable in your skin and still have fun.
Supposedly, emotional distance is to keep the mystery, but the price is connection and intimacy, because intimacy is not just physical.
When we’re vulnerable and share personal things, our brain responds to it the same way it responds to food and sex. And most of the time it’s contagious. So your brain feels intimate when you’re vulnerable with each other, sharing things you wouldn’t share with anyone else — just between the two of you. Research says, couples who share with each other more, like each other more.
Keeping the mystery almost means staying as strangers, but how can you rely on a stranger?
In our work, we’ve routinely found couples to be less satisfied with each other and go their separate ways when they don’t share enough personal things with each other and try to maintain a high level of mystery.
2. Non-Infidelity Betrayal
Ever heard about those marriages that ended in divorce that had nothing to do with someone cheating?
They say no one was terribly horrible but it was just an accumulation of little things.
Apparently, there’s a more common way to feel betrayed and it’s a poison you can easily mistake as a small inconvenience. No, it’s not the pile of garbage or overflowing laundry basket.
It’s the daily withdrawal and negative interactions that show how selfish we can act, how cold we can be, and how unfair we can treat our partner. Essentially, looking for our own self-benefit, regardless of how sabotaging it can be for our partner’s needs.
It’s when a couple is engaged in constant negative interaction, and persistent negative thoughts about our partner as selfish, or only out for themselves, unsupportive, or even dismissive of our own needs. The fundamental issue isn’t about communication or problem-solving skills, but about trust for each other.
This betrayal can take many different forms: Putting our career (or other relationships) ahead of our romantic relationship, sharing intimate troubles with others that our partner would find uncomfortable if they knew, not bringing things up or lying in order to “keep the peace,” negatively comparing our partner to better choices (physically, intellectually, emotionally, you name it), withdrawing affection and intimacy, disrespecting and belittling our partner, or breaking a promise our partner asked of us to trust us.
The difference between a thriving and a failing relationship isn’t about what the conflict is, or even how conflict is handled, but how much trust there is.
3. Acting with ego
The most basic fact a couple should know is what causes a divorce, and there are 4 main predictors of a failing relationship. One of them is the worst of all!
It’s called contempt.
A quick google search will tell you contempt is: “the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration.”
Remember the last time you rolled your eyes at your partner? Or when you corrected them in a mocking tone? Maybe you accidentally ridiculed them about something you’re more educated about. This is how we behave with contempt.
If you’ve been on the receiving end (of being corrected, disregarded, or rejected because your partner is frustrated with you once again), you’re probably not too eager to show affection immediately after. We don’t blame you!
Look, we all have ego. We are all good at something and we’re all capable of sneering.
Then again, we’re also capable of self-control.
Contempt has been coined as cancer for a marriage by the prominent researcher in the field of relationship science, Dr. John Gottman, and he insists it should be outlawed.
Sadly, it’s not only happening within couples, but also on social media, between a parent and child, and between colleagues. I don’t want to say we live in an age of contempt, where we accept a reasonable amount of disrespect towards each other, but Sebastian Junger, explains in his book, Tribe, how destructive it is to our society. Amazing book by the way.
Now, you might be asking: What do I do instead?!?!
Here’s how to fight these frightening behaviors and replace them with ones that captivate love and intimacy. Try them on for size.
A lot of times issues sneak up on us until we realize it is an issue. Even our feelings our hard to name. So it’s difficult to be completely up front right away with what is bothering us. I’m sure you’ve found yourself realizing why you were bothered after the fact. And that’s part of growth, right.
As we become more aware of ourselves, we can then share ourselves with the person we love, and begin to understand each other as we take into account what can hurt the relationship.
What better way to avoid what harms your relationship, than by knowing exactly what that is?
Originally published at www.lovesavvyclub.com on October 27, 2017.