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Impact of the Negativity Dance on your relationship

It's common for couples to experience disagreements and conflicts in their relationship. However, when negative behaviours become a pattern, it can lead to a destructive cycle known as the negativity dance. This cycle can have a significant impact on your relationship, leading to emotional distance, decreased intimacy, and a lower level of satisfaction. I am here to help you explore the impact on your relationship, and ways to break the cycle.

What is the Negativity Dance?

The negativity dance is a sequence that happens between you and your partners, where you both push and pull in your relationship at opposite times to each other. You (or your partner) may withdraw and pull away, which is often met by a need for affection and an attempt to break the cycle. When this isn't met with appreciation the roles are reversed. This is the start of the negative dance.

Left unresolved, a pattern of negative behaviours and communication often develops in a relationship.

Negative behaviours are characterised by a cycle of criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling, where partners become stuck in a negative feedback loop. When the other partner attempts to break this by making an effort they often fail.

The negativity dance can begin with a small disagreement, but when there is an imbalance between getting your needs met and meeting the needs of your partner, it can quickly spiral. This may lead to emotional distance and erode the connection between you both. This further inflames the situation.

The Impact of the Negativity Dance on Relationships

There can be a profound effect of the negativity dance on your relationship, leading to:

  1. Emotional Distance: As negative behaviours become a pattern, they can create emotional distance between partners. Over time, partners may feel less connected and less invested in the relationship.

  2. Decreased Intimacy and Affection: When negative behaviours become a pattern, it can lead to a decrease in intimacy and affection between partners. Small moments of connection can be overshadowed by negative interactions, leading to less physical and emotional closeness.

  3. Increase in Conflict and Arguments: The negativity dance often leads to an increase in conflict and arguments. As negative behaviours become more entrenched, breaking the cycle and finding common ground becomes harder.

  4. Lowered Satisfaction and Happiness: The negativity dance can lower overall satisfaction and happiness in a relationship. When negative interactions become a pattern, it can lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and disappointment.

How to break the cycle

If this sound familiar in your relationship, here are some tips to help break the cycle:

  1. Acknowledge the Pattern: The first step to breaking the negativity dance is acknowledging it's happening. Take responsibility for your part in the cycle and be willing to make changes.

  2. Identify Triggers: Identify the triggers that lead to negative behaviours and communication. Once you know your triggers, you can work on managing them more effectively.

  3. Practice Positive Behaviors and Communication: Focus on positive behaviours and communication. Express appreciation for your partner, practice active listening and be willing to compromise.

  4. Seek Professional Help: If you're struggling to break the negativity dance, consider seeking the help of a couples therapist. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you work to improve your relationship.

Further steps to take

I can help to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship, use some or all of these techniques can help:

  1. Expressing Gratitude and Appreciation: Take time to express gratitude and appreciation for your partner. Recognise their positive qualities and the things they do for you.

  2. Prioritising Quality Time Together: Spend quality time together doing things you enjoy. Make regular time for each other.

  3. Focusing on Solutions: Instead of focusing on problems, focus on finding solutions. Work together to find common ground and compromise when needed.

  4. Practising Forgiveness: Learn to let go of grudges and practice forgiveness. Holding onto resentment can lead to negative behaviours and communication.


The negativity dance can have a significant impact on your relationship, but with awareness and effort, it's possible to break the cycle and cultivate a positive relationship. Focus on positive behaviours and communication, seek professional help if needed, and above all work together to find your solution. everyone is different and what works for you may be an unlikely remedy for others.

I know how challenging relationships can be and how exhausting it is when things don't feel right. It is emotionally draining and you can feel so alone. Don't suffer, if you need support make the first step, and start today, with a no-obligation chat. I'm sure you feel better once you say things out loud

Don't forget to tune into the weekly Podcast Geordie Lass and Doc Sass for all your relationship hot topics and questions,

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