The four horsemen of the couple’s apocalypse: how to recognize the moment to break up

Not everyone knows how to break up with a person who has been important when it is due, this can happen for many different reasons. Some people are afraid of being alone, others prefer to settle into the situation because they have invested too much time and effort and believe that giving up is not an option, etc. But staying in a hurtful relationship is not good for anyone.

There are many people who report the signs that a relationship is about to be broken, has an expiration date or is already broken, but the members only look the other way so as not to face reality. Knowing exactly when a relationship should end is a difficult task. It depends on the people involved and the situation in which they live. But there is fairly consistent evidence for signs of a relationship breakdown.

When the four behaviors that we will discuss below are presented, there will be a 93% more probability of divorce in a couple. Experts call these behaviors ‘the four horsemen’ and in both married and unmarried couples, they are just as destructive.

The First Horseman: The Critique

The criticism is different from the complaint. Criticism is about the other as a person and not about problematic actions or behaviors.

    • Sample complaint: I do the dishes while you are watching TV on the couch.
  • Review: You are selfish, you don’t think about how I feel when I do the dishes when you should be doing it. You’re a bum. See if you think more about other people and not so much about yourself.

When criticism is present in a relationship, it does not mean that it is doomed to end forever. From time to time, when you are angry, you can resort to criticism. But when it becomes generalized and when it is the only way that problems can arise between a couple, there is a big problem.

If you constantly criticize your partner or feel like your partner is constantly criticizing you, it’s only a matter of time before it turns into something more unpleasant: contempt. The relationship may be salvageable at this point, but it’s a bad sign and should make you consider whether leaving might be a better option.

The Second Horseman: Contempt

We generally show contempt when we treat others with disrespect. We insult others, use sarcasm, imitate them, roll our eyes or make fun of them. We call them names or ridicule them. The purpose of this behavior is to diminish the other , to make them feel worthless.

If you’ve ever been treated with contempt, you know how much it hurts. And treating a partner with contempt shows that you have no respect for that person, their feelings, or their needs. When contempt is present in a relationship, it is a big red flag. It means that the couple has stopped respecting each other as a couple and now they are just trying to assert dominance.  There is no more love or respect left, and animosity and resentment will grow.

If your partner is treating you like this, they are no longer caring about you. If your partner treats you with contempt, ask yourself why you are still by their side. If there is no respect in a relationship, there is little chance that the couple can be saved.

The Third Horseman: Defense

Being on the defensive means trying to avoid responsibility for your actions. We may be defensive by shifting the blame to external situations, but most of the time we are defensive by shifting the blame to the partner who demands responsibility. Here’s an example of a defensive reaction: ‘I feel like our sex life isn’t going well because you’re not paying attention to my sexual needs.’

Being defensive can accompany contempt, as the example above shows. The couple is not listening to the concern of the first partner and is only trying to shift the blame onto them. They do not want to be responsible for their lack of attention to the needs of partners.

In general, humans do not like to be told that they are doing something wrong or that they are hurting other people. We tend to want to think highly of ourselves, and conversations like this threaten our self-esteem … so they are avoided or evaded. However, being in a relationship means navigating the feelings, needs, desires, values, and ambitions of two people; It means being aware that we could do things that can hurt another person, even when we don’t mean it.

Being constantly on the defensive in a relationship is a bad sign. It means that the defensive partner is unwilling to look at his own behavior and adjust it to stop what is hurting the other part of the pair.  It means that the defensive partner treats the other as a simple object to satisfy his needs and not as a person with needs, feelings and ideas of his own.

If your partner is constantly using a defensive attitude or reacting defensively to your attempts to discuss things to improve the relationship, it may be time for you to take a look at your relationship. It may be time to end things … and waste no more time.

The fourth Horseman: the stone wall

When a relationship seems like a stone wall, it is because communication has been completely broken. The stone wall has many different forms: conversations that do not take place, punishments of silence, withdrawal of emotions in the partner, lack of answers …

This rider is the most powerful of all to destroy the relationship because if he has really arrived, it is better to rethink whether or not it is worth continuing with the relationship. This is the feeling when you prefer to do something other than have a conversation or do something with your partner. You only speak when absolutely necessary. When a relationship has reached the stage of obstruction, it is very difficult (although not impossible) to recover. But it should be a very clear sign that maybe it’s time to move on with your life.

Ultimately, it will be your decision to change for the better or stay the same … 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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