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Whenever my husband calls out my name, I cringe because I expect him to disparage me about something. It could be the littlest thing.


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I do stupid stuff like that: I'll call my wife from the road, send her pictures of glaciers. Votes: 1. A man likes his wife to be just clever enough to appreciate his cleverness, and just stupid enough to admire it.

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Age I'm 41 years old
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Should you break up with your partner?

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It's a difficult choice, but science may be able to help with your decision. Does your partner constantly criticize you? Did any cheating take place? Do you have different religious or political values, and you're unsure whether that will be challenging to deal with later on?

The research world is brimming with studies on relationships, especially on those that don't work out. Here are 12 telltale s that you might want to consider when you're thinking about ditching your ificant other. This means more than occasionally griping about some unwashed dishes; this one is about "constant criticism of the person, instead of the action that you'd like to have changed," said Stephanie Coontz, a historian at The Evergreen State College in Washington and the author of "Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage" Penguin Books, These damaging criticisms take an action and attribute it to a person's entire personality.

Calling it quits

For instance, if your partner doesn't pick up his socks off the bedroom floor, it would be damaging to attribute this perceived carelessness to his entire personality and feelings toward you. Criticism is one of the so-called "Four Horsemen of the apocalypse," a term coined by John Gottman, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington and co-founder of The Gottman Institute, who researches conflict in married couples.

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If your partner engages in any of the Four Horsemen behaviors and doesn't change, despite sessions with a counselor or discussions with you, then it may be time to head to splitsville. If your partner is rolling his or her eyes and not in a cute way at things you say and treating you with disrespect, then they're treating you with contempt. For instance, calling a partner "stupid" isn't healthy for any relationship.

If this behavior doesn't change, it may be time to wave goodbye for good. If you bring up a concern with your partner, but your partner becomes defensive, things can quickly go south. Sometimes, your so-called sweetie may resort to "cross complaining," or "whataboutism" — which is when the other person doesn't respond to your concerns but instead introduces a new complaint as a retort.

For example, you might say, "Hey, it bothered me when you dumped your dirty laundry on the bed. The last of the Four Horsemen is stonewalling. The term basically means that the person withdraws from the interaction, in effect stonewalling instead of participating in the conversation. If your partner stonewalls when you bring up issues that are important to you or your relationship, that's a red flag that tells you that perhaps it's best to end things.

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The official term is "intimate partner violence," which can happen any time there is an act of physical aggression or violence against a romantic partner that is deed to cause harm and is unwanted by the partner, Slotter said. There are multiple types of intimate partner violence, according to Michael Johnson, an emeritus professor of sociology, women's studies and African and African American studies at Penn State.

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One of those types is intimate terrorism, or violence deed to control and manipulate a partner. Another type of physical abuse is situational couple violence, in which partners resort to minor but still harmful violence when a conflict gets out of hand.

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Like physical abuse, emotional abuse can take a toll. Psychological abuse can involve insults, belittling, constant humiliation, intimidation such as destroying thingsthreats of harm and threats of taking away children, according to the World Health Organization. Moreover, psychological aggression is a predictor that a person will later use physical aggression when lashing out against their partner, a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found.

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So, take care of yourself, and dump your ificant other if you're being emotionally abused. Do you and your partner follow different religions? Or is one of you a spendthrift and the other a cheapskate?

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Or do you hold diametrically opposed political beliefs? All of these potentially explosive issues can affect whether we see ourselves as similar or dissimilar to our partners, Slotter said.

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When you first meet a potential love interest, "the more similar they are to us, the more we tend to like them," Slotter said. This holds true for everything from hobbies to demographics to, yes, religious and political beliefs.

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If I perceive my partner as like me, that's a big satisfaction for me in the relationship. It's all about how you perceive your partner, Slotter said.

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Usually, couples become more alike over time, but our perceptions of our partners can also change in the long run. And if you feel that your partner is more dissimilar than similar to you, then it could be time for a deep conversation, or maybe even a Dear John or Jane letter.

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What if one person wants to settle down, and the other wants to keep their options open? Again, this harkens back to how similar or dissimilar you are to your partner. If one person wants to take coupledom to the next level and the other resists, they have dissimilar long-term goals, and that can be problematic, Slotter said. It also shows unequal commitment, she said. The person who is less invested in the relationship usually has the most power in the relationship.

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In other words, the less invested person can usually get away with more than the committed person. Generally speaking, that's not good for relationships, and "it does tend to be associated with relationship termination," Slotter said. That's because the less committed partner might get frustrated that the other person is trying to increase their commitment. Or, because the committed partner is fed up with the less invested partner "kind of hemming and hawing and sitting on the fence," Slotter said.

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Granted, if your partner cheats, first you have to decide if you want to stay together. If you do want to give it another go, know this: If someone cheats, there is a higher likelihood that he or she will cheat again, Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington and co-author of "The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples" Harmony,ly told Live Science. However, most cheaters have one or two affairs, Schwartz said.

It's only a small minority who are serial cheaters and cheat their entire lives, she said. No couple is an island. After getting married, newlyweds often have to deal with external stressors, such as financial strains, complicated in-laws and parenting demands, if they decide to have children. If couples are unable to cope with these external stressors, that puts them at risk for divorce, according to research by Lisa Neff, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Current : 1. Live Science. Laura Geggel.