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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Researchers can predict divorce where telltale signs exist

University psychologists and researchers have reported certain factors that exist in a relationship that are telltale signs of a probable divorce. A study that looked at 79 couples over a 14 year period identified four general negative behaviors that were associated with a probable divorce. The study did not apparently include any couples in Georgia, but the universality of the conclusions and later follow-up studies indicate that the findings apply here as well.

One type of behavior on the list is criticism. The tendency to constantly criticize the other partner is a sure sign that things are not well. It’s also a kind of thinking that places the critic in a superior position, which stimulates even deeper resentments by both parties. It goes against most modern psychology, which teaches that judging others is taboo.

Defensiveness is another emotional response to the other person that indicates poor communication, lack of trust, and distorted thinking. Always finding excuses and playing the victim is a sign of a fizzling relationship. Defensiveness signifies insecurity toward oneself and uncertainty about the partner’s good intentions.

Another flagged negative behavior is stonewalling. It involves putting up an impenetrable wall of apparent isolationism and refusing to engage in discussions. Stonewalling can create an escalation of emotions if the other person views it as a rejection, and an uncaring, insensitive refusal to try and discuss problems.

The mother of all negative emotions for predicting divorce is contempt, according to the studies. This is a mixture of anger and disgust that goes beyond simple frustration or upset. Contempt views the partner as an inferior object, and obviously leads to constructing a wall of bitterness, resentment and perhaps even abuse. Whether you live in Georgia or elsewhere, the researchers believe that the presence of these dynamics means certain divorce, whether now or some years down the line. If caught early and both parties act with sincere self-reflection in extended counseling sessions, there may be a resolution in some cases.

Source:, “4 behaviors are the most reliable predictors of divorce“, Erin Brodwin, Jan. 30, 2015