You're Not Imagining It—Contempt in Relationships Is Definitely a Thing

Kelly Dawson

At some point, everyone will be in a relationship that isn't working. Sometimes the reasons are easy to figure out—long distance, an age gap, or conflicting goals, for instance—and other times the exact issue is tough to peg down. But before you overthink your way into possible negative scenarios, or worse, break off a bond that could bounce back, take note of this advice from Dr. Fran Walfish, PsyD, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist: "The first thing to go in a relationship is communication, and the second sure sign of distress is a decrease or disappearance of sex," she says.

As long as you're openly talking with your partner, the problems that naturally arise shouldn't feel like big mysteries. But if you do feel dumbfounded and your other half has gone silent, there may be a chance of contempt. "Contempt is a unique issue in a relationship because it is generally rooted in unexpressed anger that festers and grows into seething disdain," Dr. Fran notes. 

Clearly, this is not a fun aspect of love, but it's something to be aware of as you give your heart to someone else. Pour yourself a glass of wine, because we're asking Dr. Fran to describe what to do next.

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