11 interesting personality traits that may predict divorce

When you’ve people-watched as much as I have, you start to see trends that mean you can more easily predict the way that people might act in the future. I’ve found that this is particularly true for relationships. 

For example, if someone’s cheated on three girlfriends in a row, it doesn’t take a genius to predict that they might do it again with their fourth. If someone’s relationships never make it past the six-month mark, it’s a pretty good guess that the next one will be a short-term relationship, too.

I’ve found that it’s particularly easy to spot whether a marriage is going to last or whether the newlyweds are taking the first step down a path that will lead to divorce. And so with that in mind, let’s take a look at 11 personality traits that might predict divorce.

1) You’re egotistical and self-obsessed

People who are egotistical and self-obsessed tend to do badly with interpersonal relationships in general, and so they should consider themselves lucky if they’re able to get married in the first place. It’s rare for them to find someone who’s willing to put up with them.

As you can imagine, that means that when they do find someone, it’s usually just a matter of time until their partner decides that they’re better off without them. Relationships are supposed to be a partnership, and marriages even more so.

For marriages to work, each partner needs to be willing to invest in the other. This also means that they need to put their own ego and self-obsession aside and to acknowledge that they’re not the only one who’s important.

2) You’re a liar

We all lie from time to time, but most of us only go with little white lies like when we tell a friend that we’re too ill to go out drinking when we actually want to stay at home watching Netflix.

That’s why I’d argue that there are different kinds of lies, from the small to the serious. If you lie about the serious things, that’s going to get you into trouble and undermine your partner’s faith in you. Doing this once or twice is bad enough. If you make a habit of it, they’re going to leave.

The issue that I find is that if someone’s a liar, they’re unlikely to ever change. I’ve also noticed that if someone lies about one thing, they’re likely to lie about another.

That means that if someone regularly tells made up stories about their adventures, there’s a good chance that they’ll also habitually lie to their partner.

3) You avoid arguments

Arguing with a partner can actually be a good thing. True, most right-minded people don’t actually like to argue, but they still serve an important purpose in our society, as well as in our relationships.

The idea is that arguments are a little like a release valve that stop your relationship from building up pressure and then suddenly imploding. I once heard it described as being like a water butt in a garden, which has a little tap that you can open up to let some water out before it overflows.

Of course, if you’re arguing all of the time then that could be a sign that you’re not well suited as a couple, but the occasional argument here and there is healthy for your relationship.

If you avoid arguments altogether and refuse to tackle conflict, you risk building up pressure until the marriage explodes and divorce becomes inevitable.

4) You’re a flirt

phrases to erase from your vocab for healthier relationships 1 11 interesting personality traits that may predict divorce

Marriages are all about loyalty, and your partner needs to know that you’re loyal to them and that you’re not going to cheat on them with a third-party. Even open marriages come with rules that you’re expected to obey.

A lot of people argue that flirting is harmless and that there’s nothing wrong with married people flirting, but it’s a hard disagree for me. I see it as breaking the unwritten rules of relationships and marriage.

Let’s put it this way. If someone’s the kind of person who’s willing to flirt with people, they’re more likely to take the next step and to do more than flirting. And cheating on your spouse is perhaps the quickest way there is to make them file for divorce.

5) You don’t take responsibility for your actions

A lot of people who flirt (and who cheat) are also unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. Instead of admitting that they’ve done wrong and asking for their partner’s forgiveness, they’ll try to invent reasons why it wasn’t their fault.

For example, if they stay out late drinking and come home drunk at three o’clock in the morning, they might blame their friend Dave for encouraging them to stay out instead of accepting that it was their own choice to do so.

The thing about accepting responsibility for your actions is that it displays a certain amount of emotional maturity.

It’s hard to say whether it’s this inability to accept responsibility that leads to divorce, or whether it’s just that those who don’t take responsibility are also more likely to have low levels of emotional intelligence.

6) You’re constantly defensive

I’ve noticed that people who don’t take responsibility for their actions are also often defensive. They think that they’re in the right in any situation, in part because they refuse to take responsibility for any wrongdoing, and that means that they’re constantly defensive.

Occasional defensiveness is fine. If you’re accused of something that you didn’t do, it stands to reason that you’re going to want to defend yourself and protest your innocence.

But it’s a bit like the boy who cried wolf. If you protest your innocence even when it’s clear that you’re guilty, people will stop believing you.

If you’re constantly defensive in your relationship, it’s a sure sign that you think that you never do anything wrong and that your partner is finding fault for no reason. It stops you from acknowledging issues and taking steps to fix them.

7) You’re impulsive

Occasional impulsivity can be a good thing, because it can help you to keep your relationship fresh and to ensure that you and your partner go out and do new things and have new experiences. That in itself can help to prolong your relationship.

But if you’re over-impulsive and you can’t control yourself when it comes to your impulses, that’s when you’re likely to start having problems.

For example, I have a friend who was supposed to be going to a wedding reception with his partner but who ended up going to a concert with his friends instead because he impulsively bought himself a ticket.

Ultimately, impulsivity is fine, but only when it serves your relationship. If it starts to cause problems between you and your loved one, or if those impulses run counter to what’s best for your relationship, you might want to find ways to combat that impulsiveness before your partner files for a divorce.

8) You’re hyper-critical

We’re all critical to a certain extent, but as with the impulsivity that we just talked about, if you’re too critical then it’s only going to lead to arguments. And the interesting thing is that this applies both to criticism that you have of your partner and to criticism that you have of yourself.

If you’re hyper-critical of your partner, they’re going to feel as though they can’t do anything right. You’re going to wear down their self-esteem until they realize that they’re going to need to divorce you for the sake of their mental health.

If you’re hyper-critical of yourself, you’re going to annoy your partner and bring them down, and there’s also a risk that they’ll start to believe you. There’s only so many times you can tell your partner that you’re a loser before they start to think “maybe they’re right”.

9) You suck at communication

relationship with someone who lacks emotional depth 11 interesting personality traits that may predict divorce

I get it, communication is hard. I struggle with it too, and a lot of people find it weird that I make a living with words and yet I still suck at using my words to communicate with my significant other.

For me, I think the important thing is that you’re making an effort and trying to communicate with your partner.

As long as your partner knows that you’re trying, they’re more likely to forgive you for any miscommunication.

Still, the worse you are at communication, the more likely it is that you’ll find yourself heading for a divorce. That’s because communication is the cornerstone of any good relationship, and if you’re not able to communicate with your partner then they’ll eventually leave you for someone who can.

10) You’re afraid of commitment

If you’re afraid of commitment then you’re unlikely to get married in the first place, given that it’s essentially the highest form of commitment that there is. Still, you’d be surprised by how many people who are afraid of commitment still end up getting married.

As you can imagine, married life rarely suits them, especially when their partner moves on to talk about starting a family or planning for retirement. This can quickly lead to people having cold feet and wanting out of the relationship.

The interesting thing about this personality trait is that while the other traits generally lead to your partner initiating a divorce, this one can lead to you being the one to start the process. Either way, the end result is the same.

11) You’re resistant to change

As human beings, we’re all resistant to change to a certain extent. That’s why we have the stereotypes of older people being slower to adapt to new technologies, because they’re stuck in their ways and prefer to stick with what they know.

At the same time, change is a constant, and it’s something that we can expect to continue throughout the entirety of our lives. We all have to adapt to that change, and if we’re resistant to it then it’s going to make our lives a lot more difficult.

We also all change as people, and so it’s important for us to acknowledge that. We need to accept that our loved ones are going to change over time and to embrace and accept that change.

If we resist it, we’re going to push them away as they age and change as people.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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