Pyschology Today: This Is the ONE Trait Can Make or Break Relationships

According to Psychology Today, there's a particular trait that can make or break relationships. Is it trust? Passion? Jealousy?

According to the research they cite from Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Northwestern universities, a term psychologists call "emotional regulation" is the most important factor when it comes to successful relationships. The idea goes like this: Every relationship is guaranteed its ups and downs. When there is a fight or a negative emotion lobbed from one person to the other, a high level of emotional regulation will allow you to prevent it from snowballing into something worse. Someone with lower emotional regulation might become spiteful, and throw even harsher negativity back at their partner. Before long, the relationship explodes.

Relationship AdviceIn other words, instead of trying to understand the other's perspective and find a way to de-escalate, it becomes all about "proving" that they're wrong and you're right. It's a primitive state many people go into to protect themselves emotionally, but it does relationships no favors. So how do you become better at emotional regulation?

Psychologists say one of the keys is simple mindfulness. Recognizing when you're becoming contemptuous is the first step. Then, after gathering your emotions, you can try to de-escalate the situation instead of attacking your partner and trying to prove that you're "right." Focus on the original issue and responding to the arguments calmly, rather than attacking the arguer. It can help to avoid terms like "always" -- "you always do this," et cetera -- as these tend to escalate arguments and trigger defensiveness. Try to share your feelings without being judgmental of theirs, and to look actively for compromises.

Relationship Communication TipsIn relationships, anger or perceived mistreatment can lead to the other person reciprocating the hurtful word or action. This creates a cycle of anger that gets bigger and repeats, eating away at relationships. Healthy, mindful, compassionate communication is the key. Without it coming from both partners, your relationship can't succeed. But with it, love truly can conquer all.

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