The third horseman is Defensiveness. Defensiveness happens when one or both partners don’t listen to one another’s concerns, but rather they meet any concerns with attacks of their own. So, again, if one partner says, “I was upset that you left dirty dishes in the sink,” their defensive partner’s response might say, “Well, you made a big mess in the kitchen last week, too.” Defensiveness tends to make conflict get worse, not better.

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