Predicting Divorce with 93% Accuracy

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Monday, February 22, 2016.

There are two critical times in a marriage: the first 7 years, and when the first child turns 14. Scientists claim they can now predict divorce 93% of the time looking at these two periods.

I’ve written about studies identifying the causes of divorce before. The theme of the current paper is the predictability of divorce early and later in marriages. In it, the researchers identified four reactions are telltale signs of trouble.

Business Insider reported on the study, and the four behaviors: stonewalling, contempt, criticism, and defensiveness, measured during the span of a 15-minute conversation.

Relying on those signs, researchers could predict which marriages would end in divorce with striking precision. So what do these four behaviors?

1. Contempt

Contempt, a virulent mix of anger and disgust, is far more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. It involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal. This behavior alone is “the kiss of death” for a relationship.

2. Criticism

Like contempt, criticism involves turning a behavior (something your partner did) into a statement about his or her character (the type of person he or she is).

Say your partner has a habit of leaving his used cereal bowl around the house. If you turn that into “Why am I dating the type of person who abandons half-eaten cereal bowls around the house?” Over time, these personal detractions can add up, feeding darker feelings of resentment and contempt.

3. Defensiveness

If you find yourself regularly playing the victim in tough situations with your partner, you might be guilty of being defensive.

Take being late to a cousin’s wedding, for example. Are you the first to say, “It wasn’t my fault!” when you finally arrive? Or do you think it over before you accuse the other person, realizing you probably shouldn’t have taken a two-hour shower when you only had an hour to get ready?

4. Stonewalling

Blocking off conversation can be just as toxic for a relationship as contempt because it keeps you from addressing an underlying issue.

Don’t worry. Occasionally displaying any one of these behaviors – or all of them, even – is completely normal. The Business Insider article is here.