Relationship Smarts: Part 1
When recovering from a major relationship break-up, what often enters the mind is the question, “Are lifelong partnerships and marriages just a thing of the past and just fantasy?” After all the divorce rate is already over 50% and any marriage after that the percentages just gets higher.
So what creates a lasting relationship?
This is something social scientists often grapple with in their research with 3 big factors currently standing out.
One big factor is creating and maintaining emotional intimacy daily
Social psychologist John Gottman of the Gottman Institute describes emotional intimacy as responding favorably to the connection requests of their partner. He describes these requests can be as simple as looking at a favorite bird flying by to landing a new coveted job. The strength of the connection is exercised fully when the other feels you are equally excited and giving your FULL attention during these requests.
John Gottman studied thousands of couples over 4 decades and found he could predict with 94% accuracy whether straight, gay, rich, poor and with children or not if the marriage or partnership would survive after 6 years.
In a Washington University study with Robert Levenson and John Gottman, couples often fell into two categories called Masters and Disasters. Masters were more often looking towards appreciation and respect with the other. In each others’ presence, they were warm and affectionate and 9 times out of ten creating emotional intimacy whenever a request was made no matter how small.
Disasters had the mentality of the flight or fight response with each other. They were more aggressive, critical, and looking for mistakes constantly with each other. Often when in the mindset of contempt and hostility people see something that is not even there misinterpreting the facts of a situation-twisting and making cynical assumptions of the other. In this category, they only created emotional intimacy three times out of ten. This results in not feeling recognized, valued and loved which breeds resentment and contempt- the #1 factor for breaking-up.
This is especially challenging for some who have felt really used, hurt and wronged after a break-up or divorce. But know if you keep bringing in the past to ANY relationship you WILL create that very scenario in the present and beyond. It is VERY important to learn and remember what you want in a relationship from past partnerships patterns but keep a careful eye out for jumping to conclusions without any REAL substance.
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