Marriages Fail When Couples Get Stuck In These Two Toxic Relationship Dynamics

Gwyneth Paltrow split from her husband, Chris Martin, in 2014. They 'consciously uncoupled' after 10 years of marriage. Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

While new research shows that getting and staying married is one of the best things you can do for yourself, it's an unavoidably complex and difficult endeavor.

Take it from Peter Pearson, therapist and co-founder of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California.

"In all marriages, you have so many interdependent interactions, from roles and responsibilities in the house to emotional and sexual aspects of the relationship," he tells Business Insider. "Your future is really tied to each other in so many ways."

But that shared future can go off course if couples get stuck in an unhealthy pattern of behavior.

"That's when they come to us," Pearson says.

He says that 60% of the couples who come to his practice are stuck in one of two toxic dynamics: conflict-avoidant and hostile-dependent.

Each of these dynamics isn't much fun to be in, for very different reasons: 

A conflict-avoidant dynamic is defined by fear
"For both people, the emotional risk of speaking up outweighs the potential benefit of bringing things up to the surface and working through them," Pearson says. As a result, "you contort yourself to be acceptable to your partner so they won't reject you or leave you," he says. "Each person compromises their wishes, their desires, their identity — the things that make them themselves."

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