Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Many couples in gay relationships struggle with stopping arguments. But are arguments really something to be avoided?
The country's leading relationship researcher, John Gottman, PhD, has found in his 30 years of observational research that all relationships have disagreements, and even arguments at some point.
Arguments, by themselves, are not correlated with breakup, separation, or divorce. He found that all couples will, at some point during an argument:
criticize one another
get overwhelmed and walk away.
So should gay couples worry about these communication rough spots? Not really, BUT there is one pattern of communication you should avoid: contempt.
John Gottman defines contempt as basically talking down to your partner, like they're a child who has done something wrong. Contempt has over a 90% correlation with separation/divorce.
So what does contempt look like?
Criticism: "I can't believe you dented the car again."
Contempt: <In a condescending tone> "You dented the car again? You mind telling me what the hell is wrong with you?"
You can see in the second example, there's an air of judgement, like you're talking down to someone who's less-than yourself. This pattern is TOXIC to relationships. If you're seeing this pattern, then some repair needs to happen in your relationship, gay or straight. It's often best, initially, to bite your tongue if you think you're going to say something contemptuous. Give yourself 20 minutes to calm down, then try approaching the issue more objectively. There are a few other strategies which work well, which we can cover in future blog articles and web seminars.
Wishing you success,
- Gay Couples Institute