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As we start 2014, it is important to assess our relationships. Intimate partners impact our well being in a tremendous way. It’s essential that these relations are healthy and satisfying. In this article, I describe ways to improve an existing partnership or decide whether it’s time to move on.
John Gottman, a famous couples researcher, found that happy partners have an 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. Those with more than 20% negative exchanges are bound for breakup. For example, in analyzing partner interactions, Gottman would watch for cues such as eye rolling, interrupting, and giving the silent treatment as key indicators that a relationship is bound to fail. Although it is difficult to assess in your own relationship in terms of the 80/20 rule, one way to examine the overall quality is to keep a daily diary. You can implement a rating system to indicate how well the day went, assigning a number out of 10 with comments to contextualize the score. After each week, reflect on your notes to identify problem areas.