I discovered the four stages of "Relationship Decay" by accident. After many trial-and-error
And at first, I thought they were just flukes. That these four stages of your relationship were all in
So, I did some digging...
And I came up with this astonishing fact: Even though Bliss, Switch, Drift and Death's Door were
named by me, there's been research to back them up for DECADES! I was just the first to piece it
To share with you my Relationship Rewind system and not share the research, too, would be
overlooking other people's amazing achievements. So on this page, I'll show you what science
has discovered about Rewinding your relationship:
figure 1. Bliss just doesn't feel good, it's also scientific! There are actual neurons in the human brain (called 'mirror neurons') that are responsible for the emotional mirroring in Bliss.
This is the stage in your relationship where EVERYTHING is perfect! Your love is strong, the sex is great and your partner just seems perfect for you. (This is the time when you're bragging about your love to your friends, your family and anyone who will listen. It's also the time you're happiest together, and the hottest together, romantically...)
The Research Says...
Psychologists call this phenomena "emotional contagion". It is a psychological and physiological process – a transference of emotion that can occur from mimicking body language. Or someone else's facial expressions. Put simply, if your partner does it, you'll do it. And when you do it, you'll feel it.
Elaine Hatfield, a professor at the University of Hawaii, had college students watch a test subject describe very happy - and very sad - events. And then recorded what emotional impact these stories had on the listeners.
Not surprisingly, the listeners felt the same way the story teller felt. But why?
Hatfield says, "People tend to experience emotions consistent with the facial, vocal, and postural expressions they adopt." And when they listened to the speaker, they adopted his or her facial, vocal and postural expressions. You do the same when you're with your partner.
figure 2. An artists depiction of 'emotional mirroring' in Bliss. When you feel something around your partner, the mirror neurons in her brain will 'read' your emotional cues and make her feel the same feelings back to you.
So how does this relate to your relationship? Well, when things are going right, and your partner is in love, both of you feel "Blissful" about each other. Because the more in love your partner feels, the more it reflects on you, and vice versa.
But the second something "Switches" or changes, YOU can feel it, deep in your bones. As if the emotional change happened in you. Thanks to these mirror neurons.
figure 3. Psychologists say that a 'break in relationship values' is often a major factor leading to breakups, and it's believed that this same break in values marks the onset of 'The Switch' stage.
This is the stage in your relationship when something "changes." Suddenly, you see your partner as a real person, with real flaws. And you may even recognize they've made some very real mistakes. You're still cool together, and you have sex sometimes, but it feels like you've got to chase your partner for affection... when once, your partner chased YOU down for love.
The Research Says...
The more we see someone around, the more we accept them as a "good, likable person." This is the verdict of researchers Moreland and Beach. Who conducted a study on The Mere Exposure effect in 1992.
During their study, they introduced four fake students to a large college course. Each of these fake students - who looked the same and even dressed the same - attended the course a varying amount of times. Some always went to the class. And some never showed up at all.
At the end of the course, the researchers asked the regular classmates which fake student they liked best. Obviously, they chose the student who came to class the most.
The kicker? None of the fake students interacted with a real student at all!
So what made the more active fake student more likable? That's the Mere Exposure Effect. Which essentially says the more you're exposed to someone, the deeper you bond with them, emotionally.
And this makes perfect sense in relationships. It's why relationships go from awkward to Blissful. Because you see your partner so often, you're bound to fall in love with them.
figure 4. Richard Lee Moreland and Scott R. Beach, respectively.
However, a study by Norton, Frost and Ariely, conducted in 2007, gives the Mere Exposure Effect a darker twist...
In their study, Norton and his team decided to challenge the accepted belief, "the more you know about somebody... the more you're going to like them." And they did this in a really clever way:
Since Mere Exposure says the more we see someone, the more we like them... then the more information we have about someone (instead of just more TIME spent with them) should help us like them EVEN MORE!
Yet in their study, they discovered the more you know about someone, the less you like them! The more information test takers were given about each of the test subjects, the less they liked them - the lower they rated them.
figure 5. Before The Switch happens, the more time you spend with your partner, the deeper they fall in love with you. Unfortunately this theory is null and void after 'The Switch' takes place.
Norton and his colleagues hypothesized this is because the more you find out about someone else, the more likely you'll discover something you just don't like about them. And vice versa.
When it comes to your relationship, these two studies PROVE what every couple already knows: As you spend more time together, your bond grows deeper and deeper. Until one day, you dig up "dirty laundry"... whether it's a dark secret, or something more innocent. Maybe just the fact your partner bites his or her fingernails.
Whatever it is, something changes in the way you view your partner. And this over-exposure fights Mere Exposure - turning your partner against you. You feel this because of your Mirror Neurons.
And now, your relationship is firmly in the Switch stage...
figure 6. Drift happens when your partner has labeled you as 'bad' in their mind. This is called 'Attribution Bias'. Once you are labeled as bad, almost everything that you do or say will be seen as coming from a 'bad' intention. See figure 7...
Drift is when your partner pulls away from you, either emotionally or physically or both. I call it "going cold." You'll notice there's way less sex, talking to her seems to take more "effort" on your part and you start to feel angry... jealous... mistrustful... envious...
… And all the other negative emotions which destroy an otherwise healthy relationship!
The Research Says...
Common sense would tell you, if you dislike just one thing about your partner... you can always just focus on the good parts, right? Well further science proves this isn't the case.
Because our brains can't process everything about everyone, all the time. There's just too much information to handle. So we "color" our new information with what we already know.
Psychologists call these the "Positive" and "Negative Effects." And they're a form of "Attribution Bias."
Basically, once we've labelled someone good or bad in any way, this label effects the rest of their traits. It's why Bliss is so easy to fall deeper and deeper in love during. You've labelled your partner GOOD! With no flaws!
So any negativity you come by is dismissed as "just a quirk" or "something cute he or she does."
However, once you stumble across something strong enough to break The Mere Exposure effect... whether it's a dark secret or just the hair which broke the camel's back... there's no turning back:
figure 7. 'Attribution Bias' is the reason why most people never escape from the Drift Stage... Everything you try to communicate only turns your partner off more! That's why it's so important to Rewind FIRST, before it spirals out of control!
A fourth study on The Mere Exposure effect found our Negative Effect for someone "cascades" uncontrollably. Put plainly, once we find something we don't like (which in psychological terms is simply something dissimilar - or not the same - as us), your relationship is all downhill from there.
Because even things your partner used to like about you, are now reexamined. Using this new Negative Effect. Which causes the Drifting - the cold and distant relationship, which often ends in a break up or divorce.
Worse - if you try to chase your partner down during this Drifting period, you may force them into the worst relationship stage of all
figure 8. Death's Door is when: 1. Your partner has decided that you are 'bad' 2. So it's critical to remove you from their life. 3. They have taken significant action to do so.
This is the stage in your relationship where your ex has ACTIVELY made a move to shut you out of their life. Not only have you broken up, your partner has tried to push you away, as well. This is the ultimate low point, in any relationship.
The Research Says...
Let's look at the reason your partner would take an ACTIVE STEP towards kicking you out of their lives. And we'll find out reason buried deep in the sections of your brain responsible for addiction... the same sections triggered by a down and out junkie:
Straight from the Journal of Neurophysiology: Researchers at Stony Brook University had 15 brokenhearted men look at a picture of their ex. And then try to complete a math problem. While researchers monitored their brain activity.
Another study, this time conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, used a functional MRI scanner to examine subject's brain activity. They used it on subjects who had recently gone through relationship trauma. And they were examined while thinking about their exes.
Both had similar results: Certain sections of the subjects' brains lit up. And these same active areas also fire in cocaine addicts, who were going through withdrawal.
figure 9. During a breakup, MRI scans show the SAME areas of the brain are affected as if the person is going through a drug withdrawal!
The verdict? It seems love is comparable to a drug addiction. Because it activates the parts of your brain associated with motivation, reward an addiction cravings.
Put simply: When you lose someone you love - even if it was your choice - even THINKING about them feels like kicking a habit. With the shakes, the depression and the constant guilt, too.
So your ex-partner found a way to cope with the pain. In fact, it's the same way MANY junkies take to "stay clean": They simply made it "impossible" for them to get another fix.
They took a step out of your life, for good. In an effort to feel better about themselves.
While this is a dramatic step - it doesn't have to be the last one. Especially if you two were meant for each other. But you were pulled apart by other psychology like the Mere Exposure and Negativity Effects, above.
To reverse your situation, all you need to do is Rewind your relationship. Remind your partner why you two are such a good fit, in the first place.
The only way - and the best way - I know how to do this is explained in great detail, in this free video / letter: