While it’s impossible to predict the success or lack thereof a relationship by any one factor, that doesn’t stop people from wanting to be able to pinpoint why a couple got divorced on one specific reason. However, researchers have found that couples who engaged in these four behaviors are much more likely to get divorced.

Contempt and criticism are the first two, and they often go hand in hand. Contempt is when negative feelings, resentment and bitterness go too far. People feel contempt for things and other people they consider beneath them, and this moves the marriage away from an equal partnership. Expressions of contempt may be making sarcastic remarks about the person or refusing to consider his or her needs. Criticism is when someone associates a person’s behavior with one’s character, such as saying someone is lazy or stupid for forgetting to put away the laundry.

While having disagreements is a part of any relationship, if couples engage in defensiveness or stonewalling during these arguments, this also could be an indication that they are more likely to get divorced than those who practice positive communication. Defensiveness is associated with refusing to accept any kind of responsibility for an action, and stonewalling is refusing to communicate with the other party at all. This is also commonly referred to as the “silent treatment.”

So how does having this information help you if you’re already divorced? Behavior patterns that happened in the marriage are also likely to continue after the divorce. Recognizing these behaviors for what they are is the first step toward working to change them and have a more peaceful coparenting arrangement in Colorado.

Source: Business Insider, “4 behaviors are the most reliable predictors of divorce,” Erin Brodwin, Feb. 17, 2016