What’s Your Gut Telling Your About Your Friend’s Relationship?

There’s probably not one person amongst us who hasn’t speculated on the state of a particular friend’s relationship at one time or another. Whether we’ve sat at a wedding and thought ‘I’ll give it a year’ or wondered why two people who argue so much stay together, chances are we spend more time analysing what’s going on with our friend’s relationships than we do our own. Obviously for most of us, wondering what may be going on with a friend’s relationships stems from caring about them and just wanting them to be happy. If you’re developing your psychic skills then obviously, what you pick up around relationships that isn’t being said is an important part of developing your skills.

Recent studies reveal that what we pick up about a friend’s relationship is usually more accurate than we think as there are certain signs that tell us when a couple is not as happy as they may be letting on. So, if you’ve got that nagging doubt about what’s happening with your friend and his or her significant other – check out the first signs psychologists have identified as possible indicators for stormy weather ahead.

1: Your friend is critical of their partner. Happy couples tend to view their partner through rose-tinted spectacles in some respect no matter how long they have been together. They gloss over their partner’s faults or down-play them. Maintaining a few illusions about our partner is, according to psychologists, a good indicator of a happy relationship whereas criticism or absence of illusions can indicate trouble ahead.

2: Your friend’s friends are splitting up. Divorce or breaking up can be like a cold – it can spread. A 32-year study published in 2013 showed that an individual’s likelihood of divorce increases 75% if a close friend gets divorced, and 33% if a friend’s friends get divorced. While this is not a given, the researchers concluded people may be more likely to consider separating if they have friends who have also done so.

3: Your friend makes a lot more or less money than their partner. Believe it or not, this is still the major source of inequality or dissatisfaction in a relationship. We all know this shouldn’t matter but studies in Sweden show that inequality in earnings can affect relationship stability and the greater the difference between this, the more susceptible the relationship may be to break-up or divorce. Of course, much depends on how both parties view money and whether they believe the person who earns the most calls the shots in the relationship. But when we consider that after adultery, arguments over money is the second highest reason couples divorce, it’s easy to see the link here.

4: Your friend or their partner is defensive. We’d rather not have to witness arguments between our friend and their other half, but sometimes this happens or our friend may confide in us about a recent argument they’ve had. While arguing is not necessarily a sign of an unhealthy relationship, defensive behaviour can be. Psychologists Lannin, Bittner and Lorenz have identified a trait known as Defensive denial, a type of defensiveness which involves making excuses for one’s behaviour and refusing to own responsibility in a problem. They discovered  that engaging in this form of defensiveness is toxic to relationship wellbeing which in turn, fuels other issues in the relationship.

5: An absence of public displays of affection. You’ve noticed your friend and their partner don’t hold hands, touch or kiss in public – ever. No matter how long you’ve been together, little touches and hand holding are indicators of the level of intimacy in the relationship.

6: You just don’t think the relationship will last. Strangely enough it’s been proved that an outsider’s gut feeling about the ultimate fate of a relationship is usually more accurate than that of the participants – as proved by the study published by psychologists Agnew, Drigotas and the aptly named Loving back in 2001. Therefore your gut assessment is usually the right one.

Obviously what we see or what a friend may tell us is only part of the picture as relationships are very complex. Our gut feelings however are usually right and are alerting us not only to potential problems but ensuring we are able to provide support to our friend should they need it. As with any intuitive exercise however, we should tap into its wisdom in our own lives too – so take a step back and see what you gut tells you about your own partnership – hopefully that’s a healthy message.