Advertisement

Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Heidi Klum and Seal Separating: Why the Timing Isn’t Surprising

Another celebrity couple decides to split.

If you haven’t heard, Heidi Klum and Seal announced their decision to separate for “irreconcilable differences” after seven years of marriage involving four young children. Heidi Klum told reporters that she and Seal had grown apart. Honestly, I was sad to hear this but not surprised given the timing of the breakup. We can predict these type of divorces from long term research data on couples.

What was not a surprise was the timing of the divorce. According to martial researchers, Gottman and Levenson, the most critical periods for divorce to occur are at the seven year mark and when the oldest child in the family reaches age 14 (may be related to a low point in martial satisfaction in terms of life course).

Advertisement

Heidi and Seal are at that 7 year mark where more than half of all divorces occur.

When we pick apart the data that came from these longitudinal studies, we find some interesting factors that predict divorce and may be operating in the Heidi -Seal marriage.

1) Couples who are negative during conflict during those first seven years, are more likely to divorce.

2) Couples who are disengaged and lack positive emotions in conflict discussions and day to day connecting, are more likely to divorce in later years.

These two findings help us understand why some marriages grow apart. Usually these couples have experienced problems for six years and finally cannot contend with the negativity and emotional distance. In fact, failed relationships are very influenced by the way  partners dialogue over conflict. Here are 5 points to keep in mind:

Advertisement

1) 96% of the time, the way a discussion begins, predicts how it will end. And interestingly the research shows that when the wife starts the conflict in a harsh way, it doesn’t go well.

2) The path to divorce is clearly documented–criticism, defensiveness, contempt and then stonewalling. This is the road to growing apart.

3) If one partner cannot repair the damage with conflict, the other feels flooded and pulls away.

4) Divorce becomes a path when partners recall the past in a negative way.

5) Partners who cannot calm down during conflict and soothe themselves have relationship problems that often lead to emotional distance–a predictor of divorce.

So maybe what we learn from this recent celebrity separation is that the seven year itch is real; That couples must attend to the way they dialogue around conflict; That staying positive in your relationship is critical; That repairing damage is necessary: And that growing apart can be prevented with couple counseling when partners are willing to work on issues.

Advertisement

 

For marital help, check out my book I Married You, Not Your Family (and nine other myths)

 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Valerie

    When children are involved every effort should be made to put them ahead of their own selfish self. There are those periods but they can be worked at.Too sad for the four children.
    Hopefully Seal will be an active parent, and that they will be civil if they decide to Divorce.Boys require a male figure

  • Pingback: Heidi Klum and Seal Separating: Why the Timing Isn’t Surprising | Dr. Linda Mintle

Previous Posts

Is Avoiding Conflict a Bad Idea?
Mary and Bill are arguing again. Mary hates how she feels when conflict happens. She wants to retreat, run or hide, or simply  avoid. Too often, she chooses to avoid, but is this a good idea? For the most part, NO, at least when we are ...

posted 7:00:19am Feb. 12, 2016 | read full post »

How God Helps With Relationship Insecurity
Like many people, you may have been hurt in a relationship because of trust violations. Or maybe growing up, you couldn't trust those around you to keep their word or treat you kindly. As a result, you struggle with insecurity. Don’t despair. ...

posted 7:00:53am Feb. 10, 2016 | read full post »

The Warning Signs of Family Stress
The Jones family has been under a great deal of stress lately. Dad's corporation is downsizing and jobs may be eliminated. Mr. Jones could be one of those jobs. Mrs. Jones' mother passed away suddenly, leaving a deep vacuum of support and help. ...

posted 7:00:19am Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

A Super Bowl Outcome You May Not Like
Super Bowl week! Yes, we are obsessed with the game. And part of that obsession includes our Super Bowl menu. But what if I told you that your menu and eating habits are influenced by the game. Super Bowl  has an eating outcome you may not ...

posted 7:00:32am Feb. 05, 2016 | read full post »

Conflict? Who Should Make the First Move?
Hannah hadn't spoken to her mother for a month and the tension between them could be cut with a knife. It was Saturday morning and Hannah was contemplating picking up the phone and making a call. She wanted to resolve the problem. But here ...

posted 7:00:31am Feb. 03, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.