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Also, once the process of contempt, defensiveness and avoidance begins, small incompatibilities can become magnified as spouses pursue other interests as an alternative to conflict.
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Predictable patterns of marriage breakdown There is no single reason why a relationship begins to break down.
However, once a relationship does start to break down, there is a predictable sequence of events that tends to occur.
Acting on this belief, spouses often try to resolve their conflicts by repeatedly stating and restating their respective rationals during disagreements.
Gottman calls this final stage, "Stonewalling", perhaps after the image of a partner hiding behind a stone wall designed to protect him or her from further assault.
All couples have conflicts from time to time, but some couples are able to resolve those conflicts successfully or 'agree to disagree', while others find that they are not.
As we observed earlier, it is not the number or intensity of arguments that is problematic but rather whether or not resolution of those arguments is likely or possible.
Unfortunately, there is no way to love your partner when you are hiding behind a wall to protect yourself from him or her.
The "four horsemen" breakdown sequence plays out amongst the backdrop of partner compatibility.When this is the case, stating and restating one's position is based on a mistaken premise and can only cause further upset.