When two people encounter each other, certain negative emotions are certain to keep them away from each other. Disgust, for example. Or hatred.
On the other hand, some relationships still tend to form despite the presence of one certain bad emotion: contempt. It may not be completely obvious in the beginning, but partners tend to realize that their enjoyment with one another becomes less than ideal over time. Why is this so? Why is it so prominent?
First, let’s consider what contempt is. By definition, contempt is an emotion in which you look down on the other person, seeing them as someone of lower value and status. In day to day social interactions, light levels of contempt exist everywhere. It is actually very difficult for one to know if they’re feeling contemptuous towards another person, but it can be observed through their tone of voice and facial expressions (a narrow, asymmetrical smile is a key giveaway).
There can be several reasons for why a contempt-ridden relationship forms. For one, since the people involved tend to have a low sense of self worth, the person feeling contemptuous may experience a confidence boost. In addition, a guy may string a girl along purely for the physical aspect with minimal interest in her personality.
Both parties feel temporarily good about themselves; any contempt that may exist would be cleverly covered up. One may slowly trick him/herself into believing that they actually appreciate the qualities of the other. These temporary positive emotions are what initially carry the affair through, sometimes unfortunately up to marriage where a messy divorce is almost certain to happen.
Whatever the causes are, the effects of contempt are the same. As the temporary pleasures slowly fade away, both sides begin to feel the negativity. Conversations evolve into chores, and honest open words don’t come out due to the defensiveness that builds up. Neither side is willing to work or compromise for the sake of the other, thus collapsing the foundation of any good relationship: communication.
Right from the beginning of an encounter, there must be lasting mutual respect between the two parties. However, what tends to happen is that as the two get to know each other better, opinions and judgments form. As previously explained, it is very difficult to be self aware of contemptuous emotions, but it can be fished out early on.
When assessing your own relationship, you must be brutally honest with yourself and address thoughts you may be uncomfortable with. Why do you want to continue on with it? Are you willing to be completely open to the other person no matter what happens? Do you see yourself as higher than the other, or as complete equals? If you find traces of contempt that cannot be dealt with, take the necessary steps to cut the relationship before it progresses any further and causes unnecessarily painful heartaches.
But on a brighter note, if you find one you harbor no negative feelings towards, don’t let it go. Follow your instincts to tell if your feelings for your significant other are mutual, and pursue it until the very end. If the two of you can avoid the deepest, most painful pitfall in the rough terrain of relationships, it can work out. Relationships completely free of such emotions are incredibly rare, and are what everyone in this world is striving to discover.