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Behaviors Linked to Divorce in Washington, DC

Many people find themselves questioning the strength of their marriage from time to time.  Sometimes it is more than merely questioning.  While it’s hard for outsiders to know the state of your marriage, according to a recent news article from Business Insider, researchers have identified four behaviors that may reliably predict when a divorce is in the future.

One of these behaviors involves texting during an argument with one’s spouse.  Researchers from the Gottman Institute conducted a study involving 79 married couples over the course of a 14 year period.  This was followed by another study involving nearly 400 married couples.  When a couple is fighting and one spouse takes out his or her smartphone and starts texting, this is known as stonewalling. Stonewalling involves refusing to engage the partner in a heated argument.  This can include texting, walking way, or otherwise ignoring the other spouse.  While nobody likes to fight with his or her spouse, even this form of communication can help work out issues affecting a marriage.

Another behavior, which may signal a divorce is coming is known as contempt.  This is likely the most serious of the four behaviors indicated in these studies.  Scientists say contempt occurs when one spouse sees another spouse as being beneath them. An example of this can involve a couple arguing over normal everyday things.  When one spouse does something, or fails to do something, in a manner the other spouse thinks was a mistake, the healthy thing would be to listen to why this purported mistake was made and try to see the other person’s position.  If you would rather just label the other spouse an idiot rather than listening to his or her side, this is showing contempt for that person, and is a major indicator a marriage may be in trouble.

The next behavior identified in these studies is criticism.  While some criticism is going to be present in any marriage, when one spouse turns a behavior into a blanket statement of their spouse’s incompetence, and otherwise personally attacks his or her spouse, criticism can grow to a point where a person examines whether he or she should have ever married the spouse in the first place. 


The fourth and final predictor of divorce was defensiveness.  When you make a mistake, and your spouse is upset with you, do you consider the possibility he or she may be correct, or do you quickly assume the role of a victim.  Are you thinking to yourself it’s not your fault, and the other person is being irrational for being angry?

As a Washington, DC divorce attorney, I hear from people who have decided to end their marriages for a variety of different reasons.  Some would appear to be more serious reasons than others.  However, regardless of the reason for wanting a divorce, when your marriage gets to a certain point, and trying to work things out at home, or seeing a marriage counselor has failed, making a brave decision to end the marriage and move on with your life may be the best thing for everyone involved.

If you live in Washington, DC and have decided to get a divorce, contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a full and confidential consultation by calling 202.596.5716.

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