Will Your Relationship Last? Part I: How to Predict Relationship Success

Posted by on Dec 13, 2019 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on Will Your Relationship Last? Part I: How to Predict Relationship Success

A lot of times people will blame breakups on money, in-laws, the kids, etc. But the truth is that what couples fight about is not what predicts whether a relationship will last. What you really need to pay attention to is how a couple argues to determine relationship success. Conflict is unavoidable, and it’s not what you argue about but how you argue that can make the difference.

John Gottman, a researcher who studies relationships and how they work, has identified three styles of conflict:  avoiding, volatile, and validating. Which particular style you use doesn’t matter; you and your partner having the same style is what ultimately predicts relationship success.

Avoiding Couples

Couples with an avoidant style value separateness and having their own space. They prefer to peacefully coexist with one another and have calm, pleasant lives. There also tends to not be much, if any, intense physical passion in these types of relationships. Not surprisingly, these couples will try to avoid having arguments with one another as much as possible. If there is distress, then they will attempt to create distance between each other rather than face the conflict.

Volatile Couples

Not surprisingly, volatile couples have a fair amount of conflict in their relationships that can erupt often; however, they don’t just simply display anger all of the time. They are also capable of showing intense love and affection for one another as well. Volatile couples do place a high value in honesty. Neither partner has any qualms about sharing their thoughts and feelings with one another, whether they are good or bad. These types of people tend to be independent and believe a lot in individuality. They have to have their own personal space. Yet, volatile couples are also very passionate about one another too. They may argue a lot, but they also have ways of reconnecting again after the conflict is over. 

Validating Couples

By validating couples, compromise is the name of the game. These types of couples will seek o work out their problems together. Even in the middle of a conflict, they will still continue to demonstrate that they value one another’s perspective. Validating couples put a strong emphasis on “we.” They see themselves as part of a unit and place greater importance on working together as a team than on individual goals. These couples also tend not to have a lot of personal space. In fact, they often complete each other’s sentences, share in common activities, and appear to be “joined at the hip.”

Predicting Relationship Success

So which type of style is better for predicting relationship success? Remember, individually it doesn’t matter which type of argument style you use; one style is just as good as another. What matters is whether you and your partner share the same style. If you are in a relationship with a partner who shares your same style, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The odds are in your favor that your relationship will be long-lasting and successful. 

But what if you are reading this and discover that you and your partner don’t share the same style? This doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed to fail. Please read on to the next article to learn what to do if you and your partner have a conflict mismatch.

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