Use of these words could mean you are headed for a divorce, the study says

Nobody enters into a long-term relationship or marriage believing that it will one day end. And whether there is a lack of communication, an increasing number of arguments, or simply not being on par on important issues, it can still be difficult at times to know when a breakup is imminent. But according to a new study, not only can you say you’re getting divorced, but the specific words you use when talking about your relationship can also help. Read on to see if there are linguistic red flags in your love life.

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The latest research comes from a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in February. Using the r / BreakUps subreddit, a team of researchers analyzed the language in 1,027,541 posts by 6,803 Reddit users a year before and a year after the announcement of their breakup.

The results showed that three months before their separation or divorce, users began to speak differently – in particular, they became more personal and informal, and were more likely to use different words and pronouns such as “I” and “we”. The team also found that the changes were observed in both the person who was dumped and the person who initiated the breakup.

“These are signs that someone is having a high cognitive load. You think or work through something and become more self-confident. ” Sarah Seraj, the study’s lead author and graduate student in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement. “Sometimes the use of the word ‘I’ correlates with depression and sadness. When people are depressed, they tend to focus on themselves and cannot relate so much to others. “

Woman takes off wedding ring

The study also found that such changes were still noticeable in other user discussions across the site, with changes peaking on the day of the breakup and slowly decreasing over six months. According to researchers, the shift towards more informal language means a decline in analytical thinking, while their discussions also showed an increase in cognitive processing – an indicator that someone is going through a difficult time.

“It seems that people are still unaware that a breakup is about to happen, it’s starting to affect their lives,” Seraj said, adding that the anonymity of many Reddit users makes it more likely that they will be authentic and personal online are. “We don’t really notice how often we use prepositions, articles or pronouns, but these functional words are being changed in a personal upheaval that can tell us a lot about our emotional and psychological state.”

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A man and woman sitting in bed during the coronavirus lockdown, with the man showing an angry expression on their faces as the woman turns away.

While other issues may be afoot, experts say the results show how many people spend reasonable time pre-empting the idea of ​​a separation or divorce that may manifest itself in our way. In some cases, “there is evidence that you broke up with your partner weeks before the actual end of the relationship”. Gary Lewandowski Jr., PhD, a professor of psychology at Monmouth University in New Jersey who was not involved in the study, told CNN.

Other important language warning signals may be more obvious, such as poor speaking or complaining about your significant other in person or on social media. But even minor changes like using more confident words like “I,” “I”, and “mine” when talking about relationship decisions are a sign that you’ve already made up your mind to end things, says Lewandowski.

Conversely, people in a good relationship tend to see themselves as indistinguishable or intertwined with their significant other. “When you speak ill of your partner, you are essentially speaking ill of yourself,” Lewandowski told CNN.

Man comforts excited father

The researchers also find that, from changes in the words they used in posts, they could tell when users were going through other major emotional upheavals in their lives, even though they were more subtle than those going through breakups or divorces.

“Research points to the far-reaching effects of personal upheavals on people’s social world,” the authors write. “Analyzing subtle shifts in pronouns, articles, and other almost invisible words can reveal the psychological effects of life experiences.”

The researchers also emphasize the importance of their findings, saying the information can help better understand people’s coping strategies while they are going through a severe breakup. “What makes this project so fascinating is that, for the first time through technology, we can see how people experience disconnection in real time. The implications for this research are far-reaching. ” Kate Blackburn, PhD, a co-author on the study and a research fellow in psychology at UT Austin. “Basically, it gives you, me, and ordinary people some insight into how loved ones can respond over time to the end of a romantic relationship.”

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