This Behavior Ends More Relationships Than Any Other

Ever give your partner the silent treatment when you’re upset? There’s no doubt this hurtful emotional response is something many of us have tried. But new research says that this is an impulse we're going to need to curb if we want to have a healthy and successful romantic relationship.

A recent analysis published in the journal Communication Monographs found that this type of behavior (and the patterns that develop from it) is one of the most emotionally damaging conflict interactions that can occur in a relationship.

The meta-analysis compiled 74 studies, examining information from 14,000 participants, with data spanning from 1987 to 2011. The findings showed that not only is the “demand-withdraw” behavior very damaging to relationships, but also found that the pattern is extremely difficult to break.

As lead author Paul Schrodt, a professor of communication studies at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, told USA Today:

Shrodt says that frequently, it's men who give the cold shoulder in a heterosexual relationship.

The study found that in relationships where these types of emotional weapons were frequently deployed, couples experienced less relationship satisfaction and intimacy, greater anxiety and even experience physical side effects such as erectile dysfunction.

We all have our demons, but luckily, in great relationships, there's plenty of room for healing. Recognizing these patterns may be a first step towards making your good relationship incredible, or towards finding the partner of your dreams.

Hear what this couples therapist has to say about destructive behaviors in relationships:

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