On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Thursday, February 3, 2011
Movies, shows and general assumptions held by a lot of people stereotype divorcing couples as people who dramatically fight with each other throwing objects, striking walls and screaming at the top of their voice. It is a natural reaction to conclude that a couple who fights in that dramatic style would end their relationship with a divorce.
A study published by the University of Michigan contradicts the general stereotype. The study of 373 couples over an incredible 16 year span following them from their first year of marriage and into their future attempted to determine the risk of divorce associated with certain fighting styles. According to the study, dramatic fighting was not associated with the highest risk of divorce.
The study concluded quite the opposite that an uneven, calm fighting style actually led to the most divorces. According to the study, when one couple approached the fight with calm, analytic objectivity and the other partner withdrew from the confrontation they had the highest risk of divorce.
Researchers found that the spouse who was attempting to sympathize and relate to the withdrawn partner felt that the other did not care about the relationship. The study found that women who displayed destructive fighting methods actually decreased the behavior over times while men, who generally used less destructive techniques, consistently used the destructive methods throughout the relationship.
The authors of the study admit that there is still a significant amount of information to discover about the complex relationships between men and women, but hope that their study sheds some light on conflict behavior and how it can explain “changes versus stability” in a marriage.
Source: Kansas City Star, “Study: It’s your fight style, not the fight, that may lead to divorce” Amber DiNenna, 1/28/11