Dubbed “the horsemen of the relationship apocalypse”, these are the four things lovers do when they’ve got one foot out the door.
The relationship argument; often, viewed as the cul-de-sac, the end destination of a fractious discussion. The trick, according to the teachings of John Gottman, is in learning not how to avoid arguments, but rather, how to argue properly. Which is indeed the most savoury of pickles. The good doctor’s institute have outlined a re-education of the four fundamentals of relationship verbals, appropriately labelled The Four Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse.
Now, to those who possess any or all of the following four traits, and actively use them, prepare for relationship rapture:
1) Criticism of your partner’s character instead of their actions, i.e.: “You’re so stupid” versus “That thing you did was stupid”. Keep your criticism in context, otherwise, you’re going to have a bad time.
2) Forming a defence through defensiveness, colloquially known as “shifting the blame”; defensively planting reasons of x being why you did y, instead of the actual reason, z. For applied use in popular culture, peep game at this mid-1990s RTA video some of us still remember. It wasn’t Jessica’s fault.
3) Contempt, or: How I stopped listening and started to love the putdowns. This could easily be summed up in one trite sentence: don’t be a dick – and that goes for everyone. Contempt is ugly. Everyone is upset and feelings have been trampled upon, but, unleashing pain for pain’s sake is the pits of us, and a short traipse away from the relationship glue factory.
4) Stonewalling. The stonewall is effective, shutting yourself off from the conversation, withdrawing yourself from the barbs and truth. It’s effective for avoiding a cul-de-sac, and seemingly effective in ending everything.
All of this seems obvious for the victim or antagonist of failed romantic conquest. So where next?
Well, it’s like writer Mark Manson says: “I think when people talk about the necessity for “good communication” all of the time (a vague piece of advice that everyone says but few people seem to actually clarify what it means), this is what they mean: be willing to have the uncomfortable talks.”