Sometimes, the end of a relationship hits you like Hiddleswift hit Calvin Harris. Other times, it creeps up every time you’re super-mad at your S.O. Since all relationships are different, they end for a variety of factors and communication styles. However, research by The Gottman Institute found that four communication styles, in particular, can accurately predict the end of a relationship. Scroll on to find out if these are happening in your own relationship.

1. Criticism. The Institute points out that criticism, in this case, is different than complaining. The difference between the two is that a complaint is about something specific your partner did, whereas criticism is an attack on who your partner is in general. Criticism is so deadly to a relationship because it causes one party to feel assaulted by the other.

couple fighting

2. Contempt. Contempt means disrespect toward your partner, which can manifest as sarcasm, ridicule or being mean in general. According to Dr. John Gottman’s research, contempt is rooted in negative thoughts about a partner and is the single greatest predictor of divorce. Yikes!

3. Defensiveness. Unlike the other two factors, defensiveness is one most humans can’t avoid. However, excessive amounts of blaming your partner or turning a negative situation on them can leave no room for them to participate in the relationship. When one partner feels like they don’t have any control over conflict, they’re more likely to give up.

4. Stonewalling. The opposite of getting defensive is stonewalling, which is shutting down from an argument or interaction completely. This method of communication is much more subdued than the others, but can build up over time.

According to the Institute, the best way to avoid these behaviors is to notice them in action and talk about them with your partner.

How do you maneuver and avoid these communication styles? Let us know @BritandCo.