Gottman talks about what leads up to the worst part.
The negative comparison often seals the deal. It can be said in my own head or out loud. Here is what it is- I compare my partner to someone else and the partner loses the comparison. First off, I do not compare the whole person and the whole context. For example, I am not as good a soccer player as Pele, Maradona or Messi. I am comparing my soccer playing ability to their soccer playing ability and I come up short. It is bad enough when I do that to myself. When I do it to my partner, it is even worse. Overall, I believe I would favorably compare; just in soccer, I lose the comparison.
“Why don’t we do ____ like they do?”
“Why don’t you make as much money as Mr. Jones does?”
“How come we live in such a small house?”
“Why can’t you lose weight like your sister did?”
What would be better, would be to compare the relationship to other relationships.
“I am so glad we don’t fight like ______ do.”
What would be best is to stop the comparisons altogether. You are no longer shopping around and comparing.
For example, “If I had married so and so, I would not have this problem” indicates you have not truly committed.
The fear is that you may be looking out only for yourself. It is easy to see how this would kill the relationship.