The concept of contempt, especially in Massachusetts marriages, is quite difficult to identify and address. It’s undeniable that no relationship is perfect. Every relationship and marriage have conflicts, and contempt often manifests in subtle ways.
However, the commonality in these arguments is the fact that there are known reasons or causes. When it comes to feeling contemptuous towards your significant other, things can get tricky.
If you want to know more about contempt in marriages and romantic relationships and how to fix contempt in a relationship, just read on!
A research study by Dr. Gottman reported that contempt is one of the biggest causes of divorce and separation.
Therefore, it’s very clear that feelings of contempt and contemptuous behavior towards one’s significant other need to be identified and worked on at the earliest.
Meaning of contempt in the context of romantic relationships
So, what is contempt in a relationship? The simplest way to explain contempt in relationships is when you communicate with your significant other in a way that ridicules them.
When a partner is using cynicism and sarcasm to ridicule and attack the other partner, it is contemptuous behavior. However, the ridiculing happens in a subtle, indirect, passive-aggressive manner.
The subtle nature of contempt is what makes it so difficult to identify and confront. Simply put, it is the opposite of being respectful towards your partner.
Examples of contemptuous behavior in relationships
To understand how to fix contempt in a relationship, you need to know some common examples and signs of contemptuous behavior.
What does contempt look like? Contemptuous communication is a mixture of verbal and non-verbal communication. Some signs include:
- Derisive humor
- Calling insulting names like an ugly, loser, fat whale, etc.
- Facial expressions like sneering, raising the upper lip, eye-rolling, etc.
- Disdain towards one’s significant other
To learn how to fix contempt in a relationship, first, take a look at some of these examples of contempt in the context of relationships:
- “You’re such a fat, selfish pig! All you do is cook for yourself and eat! What happened to cooking for me, huh?!”
- “Are you insane? Who drives like such a crazy person, huh?! Have you lost your freaking mind?”
- “You know why you’re always late? Because you’re thoughtless!”
Now that you know about the signs and examples of contempt in a relationship let’s take a look at some of the major consequences of contempt before learning how to fix contempt in a relationship.
Here are some more examples and signs of contempt in relationships that you can check out:
Consequences of contempt
When you’re feeling contempt towards your significant other and acting on it, there can be several upsetting consequences. And why does this happen? It’s because there’s a prominent difference between constructive criticism and contemptuous communication.
If you understand the outcomes of contempt, understanding how to fix contempt in a relationship becomes easier.
Contempt has the power to make a romantic relationship or marriage feel unsafe for the recipient of contemptuous behavior. The relationship begins to feel like a battlefield. Instead of perceiving the relationship as a haven, it begins to feel dangerous to the recipient.
Why does this happen? It’s because signs of contempt in a relationship can make your significant other feel inferior and unworthy. Contempt has the power to severely hurt the recipient’s feelings.
If you feel like your partner is being contemptuous towards you, it might be a power move on your partner’s end. The need for control, power, and superiority might be what causes feelings of contempt.
Unfortunately, if you let this continue, it can have a massive impact on the emotional bond between the two of you.
Your relationship might feel like a space where you constantly have to protect yourself and defend yourself. It might feel like you’re constantly trying to avoid criticism and walking on eggshells at all times.
The idea of meeting your partner at the end of the day doesn’t seem appealing to you anymore because you’re constantly in defense mode.
Is it possible for a romantic relationship to recover from contemptuous behavior?
Although contempt has a strong negative power in marriages and romantic relationships, there are a lot of scopes to correctly identify these behaviors and fix them.
As long as you know about the signs of contempt in a relationship, you have the power to work with your partner to fix this issue. Letting things get out of hand can, unfortunately, break your relationship.
This happens because if you’re a recipient of contemptuous actions and behavior, you might stop being your authentic self.
So, now that you know all that there is to know about the meaning, signs, examples, and consequences of contempt, let’s delve into how to stop feeling contempt and how to fix contempt in a relationship.
Top 10 ways to fix contempt in romantic relationships
Contempt can be detrimental to the relationship. Here are the most effective ways for how to fix contempt in a relationship:
- Understanding your darker side
One of the very steps to overcoming contempt in a relationship is to look at yourself. Look deep inside of your behavioral tendencies if you are feeling contemptuous. It takes a lot of courage to truly look within yourself and understand how you behave.
Some people are more prone to behaving contemptuously, such as those people who others often call “mean.” Other types of people include those who are quite haughty, frequently use sarcastic wit, and are passive-aggressive.
- Direct communication as a replacement for contempt
As mentioned earlier, if you are being contemptuous towards your beloved, you are using cynicism and sarcasm indirectly to subtly ridicule your partner. Therefore, it is not a direct form of communication.
When it comes to learning how to fix contempt in a relationship, working on your communication with your partner is pivotal.
Any healthy relationship is built on a foundation of direct and open communication. So, it’s actually better to express your criticism directly instead of confusing your partner.
- Change your feelings by looking for positives
Now, this suggestion is easier said than done. This point basically says that you have to work on your negative feelings and replace them with positive feelings for your partner.
Having an optimistic outlook can help you in your endeavor to change your feelings and, in turn, save your bond with your significant other. One of the most common causes of contempt is a negative outlook towards your lover.
Therefore, through therapy, you can try to work on your feelings and, in turn, modify your outlook, so you see your partner in a positive light.
- Revisit your past
This is one of the easiest ways in understanding how to fix contempt in a relationship. Take a walk down memory lane and focus on all those fond memories you’ve shared with your partner.
It can be the first time you met your partner, a funny conversation you had, a special night of love and intimacy with your beloved, your honeymoon, an adventurous date night, and so on.
- Cultivating a culture of appreciation
This point talks about the work you have to put in for healing contempt in relationships regularly. Overcoming negative feelings is not something that can happen overnight.
Having a positive outlook and mindset is not enough. It has to be supplemented by creating rituals with your partner wherein you appreciate the bond you share with your beloved and celebrate your relatives.
This can take many forms, such as planning weekly date nights, taking a bath together, taking a day out of the month to go to a spa, watching movies together, catching up every evening after work, planning regular vacations together, and so on.
These good habits can open your eyes to the wonderful person that is your beloved and why you chose to be with her. It will show you the beauty of commitment.
- Complain, but don’t criticize
How you say what you wish to say has a big impact on how your partner receives and acts on that information. It also affects how your partner will feel when they listen to you.
So, instead of indirectly criticizing, finding a healthy way to present your grievances to your partner is very important when it comes to learning how to fix contempt in a relationship.
- Empathy is key
It might happen that a lot of the time, you criticize your partner without even understanding the reason behind why your partner did what they did.
Therefore, it’s important to be able to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and think about how and what you would’ve done. That is called empathy.
- Identify the causes for contemptuous feelings
Contemptuous feelings and behavior don’t just manifest out of thin air. There are a lot of causes for behaving in such a manner. You have to do some soul searching and look within yourself.
Find out the reasons why you feel and behave the way that you do. Is it because you have this unfulfilled need for power, or are you feeling disrespected? Are you feeling disappointed? Identify the causes.
- Listening is important
Criticizing without even giving your partner the chance to speak can in itself be bad for your relationship. A big part of communicating directly involves listening to your partner. If you want to be heard, you need to listen to your partner too.
- Balancing your expectations
This is another point that requires you to introspect. If you feel like you’re being disappointed or disrespected, is it actually because you have very high expectations or unrealistic expectations from your relationship?
If you want to save your relationship and value your partner, you have to balance your expectations from your significant other and the relationship.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.