n 2019, the American divorce rate hit a fifty-year low, with only 14.9 out of 1000 marriages ending in divorce. This accomplishment, however, was short-lived as in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused global divorce rates to skyrocket, with one popular online divorce-form provider reporting a 34% increase in purchases in Spring 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. Peter Sandhill, a personal development workshop leader, life coach, and counselor believes that for couples to more successfully maintain their relationships, they need to be able to recognize the most common “bad habits” that lead to divorce. As an experienced counselor, Peter Sandhill will share what he believes are the most common reasons for breakups and how each action can directly affect a relationship.
Withdrawing During Arguments
One of the most common issues couples struggle with is conflict resolution; however, recently, psychologists have found that how we communicate during these arguments may be more important than actually resolving them. In 2015, Baylor University’s Keith Sanford, Ph.D., published his study on the correlation between partners who withdraw during arguments and feelings of apathy towards the overall relationship. According to certified relationship coach Lesli Doares, 67% of disagreements in a relationship do not need to be resolved; however, the remaining 33 percent, if not resolved, can end the relationship. This 33% of disagreements can be categorized as “dealbreakers,” and if one partner withdraws from these conversations, it can result in a breakup.
Refusing to Compromise
Most relationships have difficulty with compromise as many parties report seeing compromise as “losing” an argument and giving up their individuality. However, in a healthy, strong relationship, compromise is seen as the conscious choice of accepting their partner for who they are. In order for a relationship to last, both parties need to accept that they cannot be in control all of the time and should not expect control over their partner.
Having Contempt for Your Partner
According to American psychological researcher and relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, having contempt for your partner or seeing your partner as inferior is one of the most prominent “kisses of death” for any relationship. During his research, Dr. Gottman surveyed couples on how they responded to specific behaviors such as contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Next, Dr. Gottman measured perceived relationship satisfaction and found that actions associated with contempt were more than 90% effective in predicting divorce. A study published by the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2010 supported this theory and found that couples who show contempt for each other within their first year of marriage were more likely to divorce before their 16th wedding anniversary.