The Four Horsemen of Relationships...

Relationships can be really tough. Even when you think you are in a smooth sailing relationship, big decisions come up and sometimes it can be hard to hear your significant other out in certain situations. In order for your relationship to survive hardships, you need to be receptive, calm and get your point across without being nasty. Relationship experts state that there are four horsemen that all successful relationships must do without. If you and your S/O are doing these four things, experts believe your relationship won’t live to see another Valentine’s Day.


Criticism is defined as verbally attacking someone else’s personality or character. When you are constantly telling your partner that they are not good enough or that they are always doing something wrong, this is considered negative criticism. However, not all criticism is bad. For example, rather than telling your significant other that they are stupid for not remembering that you had scheduled a date night for that upcoming Friday, there are a couple of other options that get the job done in a nicer way.

Try these out...

  • I feel like if we both make an effort to write our plans down in a planner we will have less difficulty with our schedule.
  • When you forget our plans, I feel discouraged.

By placing the emotions on yourself using the word “I” rather than “you”, the person you are speaking with will have less to be defensive about. This is an awesome way to get rid of any current criticism talk in your relationship.


Contempt is a bit more deep rooted than criticism. Contempt involves diminishing another person's self worth to the point of psychological abuse. If your partner is badgering you to the point of psychological abuse, it is never a good idea to stay. A pattern of abuse can become physical and be detrimental to the other people you love as well as your own well being. If your partner is bringing contempt into your relationship the best thing to do is back away and gather yourself with the proper space you need.


When people truly have issues changing their ways and only see things black and white, there is a sense of defensiveness that can form in the relationship. Defensiveness is defined as reversing the blame and victimizing yourself. Defensiveness can be broken and fixed using therapeutic techniques. Sometimes it is essential to take a step back when you or your partner are feeling defensive and come back to solving the problem a little while later. You do not want to ignore your issues, but it is important to tackle the problem when both parties involved are calm and collected. Another tip that can help with defensiveness in an argument is writing down the way that you feel and the issues you are having while also writing down the things you can change to better yourself for your partner. If you and your partner write up a page with these points clearly made, it can be easy to come to an agreement, or at least see things from each other’s point of view.


In my personal opinion, stonewalling is the most challenging type of horsemen to deal with. Stonewalling is defined as withdrawing as a way to avoid conflict which shows separation. Stonewalling goes beyond just ignoring the problem. Stonewalling becomes avoiding your partner all together and not facing any of the emotions you have towards your partner or the situation you are in. As the person on the other side of stonewalling, there are a few pointers you can implement in order to make your partner see that you are wanting to communicate effectively with them. Try these out:

  • Make eye contact
  • Tell the person you would like to have a conversation when they feel ready
  • Remind yourself that this behavior is not your fault
  • Compose yourself and take care of yourself
  • Prepare for the implications when your partner decides to open up

I hope this information will be deemed helpful by some of you who might be in a tough situation with your partner. It is important to note that I did list some ways to help with the four horsemen if they were to come up. However, if any one of these things become pattern, this is considered an abusive relationship and you should seek the help and guidance you need in order to get out of the relationship and get back on your feet. If you ever need anything you know I am here for each and every one of you!

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