News You Can Use: Headed for Divorce? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

News You Can Use: Headed for Divorce?

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HONOLULU, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Statistics on divorce aren't very uplifting with nearly half of all marriages ending. Malika met with the experts to pin point the "signs" you may be headed for divorce.

Do the littlest things irk you, are you always on edge? These could be tell tale signs you're headed for divorce. Have you heard of the four horseman of the apocalypse, depicting the end of times in the new testament? It's used as a metaphor by researcher John Gottman to describe communication styles that can lead to the end of a relationship. Dr. Krystyna Aune is a professor of Communicology that specializes in interpersonal communication. She explains, "One of the first signs that you might see of a kind of disengagement of a relationship is criticism. So you find yourself being more critical thinking more about the differences between you and your partner."

That's the first horseman. The second is truly corrosive to a relationship. Contempt, or even disgust. "It's absolutely a sign that there is really serious trouble in a relationship so if you find yourself rolling your eyes at your partner and saying ugh, what a jerk or what a dummy or worse that is really, really problematic in a relationship," said Dr. Aune.

The third horseman to watch out for is defensiveness. "You find yourself reacting to maybe what might be innocent comments in a defensive manner," explained Dr. Aune. Stonewalling is the fourth and final horseman. "You're not really there, you might be there physically but you're not there emotionally cognitively psychologically really just going through the motions and withdrawing from your partner and your interdependent activities," she says.

If you recognize any of the horsemen in your own relationship, it could be time to make some changes. "Some couples have great success with intervention and couples therapy. You might check yourself and say gosh. Why am i doing this? Is it stress that's going on? Is there some reason why I seem to be taking out maybe negative emotions onto my partner?" said Dr. Aune.

She also says arguing, in and of itself, isn't problematic. It's how you argue. Bringing character or personality flaws into the argument is a problem. "Arguing can be very healthy so long as there isn't criticism and contempt of the partner during the interaction. A calm and even heated discussion so long as it's about the issue and not about the partner," she said. Relationships are tough, but hopefully these tools can help.

Click HERE for a link to the Communicology Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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