There are so many different factors that can contribute to divorce from incompatibility to infidelity. But there is one thing that experts say tends to get overlooked — personality traits. There are certain personality traits that can be great predictors of divorce.
“I’ve noticed many different personality traits that played a hand in causing a divorce like narcissism and selfishness,” Melissa M. Breyer with The Hive Law, Divorce Lawyers in Atlanta tells Bustle. “When people come to me, it’s obvious that each party is so focused on how they’ve been wronged instead of listening to how they could potentially fix the issue.” That’s why she says most divorced couples tend to lack the ability to communicate and simply listen.
The reality is, divorce can happen to any couple regardless of the personality types involved. We all have traits that are great for relationships and ones that aren’t. As Mary E. Ramos, fivorce and family law attorney at Ramos Law Group, PLLC, tells Bustle, the “bad” traits shouldn’t be seen as a personal failing, but as something to be worked on with your partner.
“I hope that couples who perceive these traits in themselves or their partner can identify and work through them together for the ultimate benefit of their family,” Ramos says.
So here are some interesting personality traits that may be able to predict divorce, according to experts.
1. Conflict Anxiety
It may not always seem like it, but fighting with a partner can be a sign of a healthy relationship. According to Breyer, it shows that the two of you are comfortable enough to talk about things when one of you feels wronged. “We’ve somehow trained ourselves into thinking that fighting automatically means that we’re no longer a good fit,” she says. “But in reality, it’s necessary and it lets us know when things are running as they’re supposed to be.”
Too little of it and too much of it are signs that things may be wrong. When you shy away from expressing yourself, Breyer says you’re only “backlogging” the issues you may have, which is unhealthy for you and your relationship. “In the end, it will have to come out, and when it does, it’ll be years worth of pent up resentment, sadness, and disappointment,” she says. And this can ultimately lead to divorce.
2. The Inability To Accept
Narcissism is one personality trait that both Breyer and Ramos agree can predict the likelihood of divorce. One of the key traits of a narcissist is a tendency to place blame on everyone but themselves. According to Ramos, they’re often unwilling or unable to accept even partial responsibility, which can prolong conflicts and breed resentment. “I’ve seen this get to the point where a judge will need to decide who is truly at fault during divorce proceedings,” she says. “If you want a healthy relationship, learn to accept responsibility.”
If someone is always focused on themselves and doesn’t show empathy towards their partner, minimizes their partner’s feelings, or crosses boundaries, psychotherapist Laura Dabney, M.D., tells Bustle, that will likely increase their risk of getting a divorce. These traits show that the individual puts themselves and their needs above their partner’s. “Narcissistic personality traits are hard to get through if you do not know how to deal with them,” Dr. Dabney says. “That would be a trait that could lead to more marital issues.”
- Pathological Lying
Pathological liars will constantly bend the truth and will work hard to defend it. According to Ramos, some even believe their own lies. “This is particularly damaging in tandem with narcissistic tendencies, because such a person will go to even further lengths to avoid responsibility for their actions or apologize for them,” she says, which can lead to severe issues in a marriage.
- Closed Off To Communication
It gets said a lot, but communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. According to Ramos, a person who can’t or refuses to talk openly about their feelings with their partner, or who doesn’t make their partner feel comfortable doing so, is less likely to have a healthy relationship. Because issues cannot be discussed, or problems worked through, it can be hard to keep this kind of relationship going.
“Being down on yourself for comedic effect has almost become a staple in today’s humor,” Breyer says. “But when it tips from casual joking to constant badgering of yourself, then that tends to drive a wedge between couples.” In order to be in a healthy relationship with another person, you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself. It’s not an ideal dynamic for one partner to expect that the other will always build them back up. “This toxic imbalance eventually drives the partner away from my experience because they end up completely and totally drained from trying to deal with everyone’s issues all at the same time,” she says.
7. Overprotective And Overly Nurturing
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being nurturing and protective of your partner. But when you start treating your partner as a child as opposed to your equal, that’s when things can go south. “I’ve met husbands and wives who’ve explained that while their partner’s constant need to ‘baby’ them was sweet, it eventually lead them to feel insignificant, childish, or even incompetent,” Breyer says. It’s nice to feel loved and cared for. It’s not as nice to feel belittled and smothered. “When your teammate constantly treats you like a child, that nurturing can look a lot less warm and fuzzy and much more annoying,” she says.
Again, any couple can breakup regardless of the personalities involved. Although a certain trait may not be the ultimate deciding factor for ending a relationship, knowing which personality traits are the greatest predictors of divorce can help you to better work things through with your partner