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Divorce and your interaction ratio

No marriage is perfect. You and your spouse are going to disagree. You are going to fight. You are going to have negative interactions.

So, how do you know if the disagreements and arguments are just a natural part of your marriage, and how can you tell if they mean the relationship is falling apart and it is headed for divorce? According to some marriage experts, they say that the key thing to look at is the ratio of positive and negative interactions.

If you have a happy marriage, they claim your ratio should sit at about 20 to 1. For every negative event that happens -- fighting over the budget or the children or what to do for the holidays -- you should have about 20 positive interactions. In general, when you talk to your spouse, you expect it to go well. You do not have unrealistic expectations that you'll never fight, but it's not that common.

If you have a "conflicted" marriage, your ratio drops to about 5 to 1. That's still more good than bad, but the bad is far more common than it should be.

When you're close to splitting up, the ratio falls even farther and hits 0.8 to 1. That's virtually the same. You have slightly more negative interactions than positive ones. This does not mean every conversation is an argument, but it may feel like it. Those negatives tend to stick with you a lot longer than the positives.

If you get to this point and decide to get a divorce, make sure you understand all of your legal options.

Source: Today, "9 warning signs you may be headed for a divorce," Bela Gandhi, accessed June 15, 2018

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