Everyone talks about how marriage depends on good communication and that once communication breaks down, divorce is likely. However, a psychological researcher named John Gotman has a different opinion about the likely cause of most divorces: an inability to resolve conflicts.

According to Gotman, couples need to be able to resolve their conflicts, or they will find themselves quickly reaching a point of despair in the relationship. It happens like this: The couple is in conflict, but neither spouse has a way of resolving that conflict without causing injury or damage to the relationship. As such, this allows the conflict to persist and avoid discussing the matter – which ultimately becomes a giant elephant in the room. That’s when “despair” sets in.

The inability to resolve conflicts could be a reflection of both sides of the marriage having “conflict avoidance” tendencies. It could also be the result of one side of the marriage using bullying tactics or arguing to the point that the other side becomes submissive. What happens is that the couple loses respect for one another and a gradual withdrawal from intimacy ensues as they submerge their differences.

There are so many reasons why couples divorce. No matter the cause in your particular case, if you’ve already come to this decision, it’s not likely that there’s anything you can do to repair your relationship. Therefore, if you’re ready to bring your marriage to a close, you might want to investigate strategies to dissolve your marital union in a way that’s respectful, speedy and cost effective for both of you.