Are you guilty of it?
When it comes to fighting, you really should try to fight nice because things said in anger can sometimes never be taken back. In fact, there’s even a psychologist’s guide to the three things you should never say to your partner and general relationship advice for women that include the most common problems we all experience in a relationship – but what is the final line when it comes to getting a divorce?
It’s contempt. Yes, that moment when you roll your eyes or hiss under your breath and your initial annoyance breeds into that ugly feeling of contempt.
According to couple’s counsellor and researcher, Dr. John Gottman (author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work) who was interviewed for Women’s Day, contempt is the most detrimental feeling you can experience in a relationship.
What is contempt?
It’s that feeling above annoyance which pretty much turns into disgust and that’s incredibly unhealthy. It can make you angry, negative, tense, aggressive and when you’re feeling contempt, you lose all sense of humour or creativity that could help shape the argument into more of a conversation. Basically, it’s bad.
Anger is better
A ‘heated’ discussion is better than no discussion. And, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re on the road to divorce because anger can often mean dialogue – but it only really works if the making up is more powerful than the argument itself.
Signs of contempt
Rolling your eyes, sneering, passive aggressive comments or lifting your upper lip in disgust are all cues of contempt and are rude because they signal superiority over someone else.
So, what can you do? Try not to idealise your partner and have unrealistic expectations of them and learn to see cues of contempt in yourself and in your partner so you can try and squish them at the get-go because really, where does being passive aggressive get any of us!?