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Written by: Claire Dinan
This 5:1 "Magic Relationship Ratio was coined by the Gottmans.
If you don't know who the Gottmans are - they are leaders and experts in the field of relationships, famous for being able to predict divorce rates amongst married couples with a 90% accuracy (wild, I know).
Decades of research have led them to the conclusion that the secret to a stable and happy relationship was five (or more) positive interactions for every negative interaction during conflict.
I can already feel you guys bringing out your scorecards.
So let’s address first things first.
Which interactions count as negative and which count as positive?
Hopefully, intuitively, you have a rough idea of what constitutes as positive or negative but we’re going to break it down a little further.
Most negative interactions can be categorised under the following buckets:
The Gottmans call these the Four Horsemen and you can read more about them and how to avoid these relationship pitfalls in our article here.
Positive interactions (yay) are wide ranging but can include:
The good news is that you can start to include positive interactions in and out of conflict that will help counteract these negative interactions and lead to longer-term happiness.
I've put three simple ways you can start tipping the scales in your favour but feel free to do all 3.
Have one more positive interaction with your partner today (it doesn't have to be romantic - it's about practice!)
If you catch yourself engaging in a negative interaction (for me that's often mid eye-roll). Try and implement 5 positive interactions to counteract it (this can be during or after the fact).
The next time you catch yourself about to criticise, stop.
Question yourself on whether the insult is worth the five positive interactions it’s about to negate.
Bonus points if you can turn it into a positive interaction instead.
Can the success of a happy relationship really be as simple as having 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction?
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