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What is your partner’s emotional bank account looking like?

Oct 24, 2018

The concept of an emotional bank account has been talked about by many relationship experts.  It is the idea that between partners (or actually between anyone who has an emotional relationship such as parent/child etc) there is an account like a bank account you would keep your money in, but it is for all that stuff you can’t actually physically touch – like actions and words.  When you do something kind or say something loving you make a deposit in the emotional bank account and when you do something negative like harsh words or cold silences (or even bigger hurts) you make a withdrawal.

Sounds fair enough but here’s the catch – unlike money which is dollar for dollar equal, that is you take a dollar out you only need a dollar to put back in to get back to the same balance.  With emotion, research has shown you need a minimum of 5 acts of kindness to counter 1 negative.  So you can criticise your partner 20 times a day but you would then...

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Pull Down Those Defences!

Jul 18, 2018

We develop defences to protect ourselves from all kinds of real and imagined pain that we have experienced over our lives. How impenetrable they are will be related to just how much we have had to defend ourselves in the past. Part of the attraction in the early stages of romantic love is that “falling in love” makes us feel like we don’t need our defences anymore. We feel we have finally found someone with whom we can be totally ourselves and our defences come down. As the relationship moves on, inevitably reality creeps in and our partners reveal themselves to be human after all and with being human comes the capacity to disappoint and cause pain. And the defences come back out again.

Defensiveness is one of John Gottman’s “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. The others are criticism, contempt and stonewalling. These Four Horsemen, if present in a relationship are the strongest predictors of relationship demise.

Defensiveness looks different for...

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