Photo by Devon Divine

Everybody has the urge to criticize their partner every now and then.

That’s perfectly normal and understandable.

But it’s important to remember that too much criticism will hurt your relationship in the long run and that there is a more productive alternative!

Here I’ll be covering three reasons why being too critical of your partner does more damage than good.

#1 Constant Criticism Is Highly Demotivating

I know this might seem counter-intuitive. Most people tend to believe that being hard on others is a good thing. That a person needs “tough love” in order to stay motivated and strive towards their goals.

In reality, this kind of attitude mostly backfires. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships.

For example, my mom used to be really critical of my dad’s vacuuming.

She used to constantly get on his case about not doing it CAREFULLY ENOUGH.

They used to fight about this all the time when I was little.

By the time I was in my twenties, my dad abandoned ALL EFFORTS at trying to EVER help to vacuum the house.

In fact, through her criticism, my mum has successfully managed to alienate my dad from MOST of the housework and consequently had to do it ALL BY HERSELF.

I noticed that the fights over household chores seem to be a very common problem amongst my friends too.

They all seem to share the same dynamic. The guy’s cleaning is never good enough, hence he gets demotivated and stops doing it at all.

Doing household chores is not the only area that might be negatively affected by too much criticism. The same principles can apply to any behavior of your partner that you keep on reprimanding.

“You work too much, eat too much, game too much. You never make time for me”

The list can go on and on…

Does that mean that you have to just swallow all your needs and never voice a single complaint?

No, by all means, NO!

It is perfectly NORMAL to have particular needs and be unhappy with the way our partner does certain things.

What I’m saying here is that being critical of your partner won’t get you the results you desire.

In fact, it is most likely to have the OPPOSITE EFFECT.

#2 Criticism Creates Resentment In Relationships

On top of getting you the opposite of the desired effects, constant criticism will inevitably create some lasting damage to your relationship.

Every time you criticize your partner about something, you might be discarding their efforts to make you happy.

I know what you’re most likely thinking: “Whaat? But my partner clearly doesn’t care about making me happy?!”

But what if he/she does try just that they’re not doing it the way you’d need it?

Your partner bringing dirty dishes to the kitchen and putting them on top of the dishwasher might be a genuine attempt to help you out with the household chores.

I know to you it might seem like a job halfway done, but to them, it just might be the furthest they dare go…

Maybe their mum used to scold them all the time for putting things WRONG into the dishwasher? And now when they open that dreaded door they just feel lost and overwhelmed.

You don’t know what is going on in their heads.

People rarely do things out of bad intentions. Yet we are all so quick to believe the worst about our partners…

Discarding your partner’s effort, even the smallest ones, will make them resent you for it.

Resentment is a very common problem that inevitably arises in all long term relationships.

It’s like a bag of garbage tossed into a corner. Initially, it doesn’t cause any problems, but as time goes by, the pile gets bigger and bigger and eventually begins to smell…

Every time you shoot down your partner or mock and minimize their efforts that pile of resentment inevitably is growing.

The resentment might not be an issue for the two of you right now, but it is bound to become a big problem in the long run.

That’s why it’s a good habit to choose your words carefully and try to voice your criticism in more delicate ways to minimize the damage.

#3 By Trying To Control Your Partner’s Behavior, You Make It Impossible For Them To Change

Why do we have an urge to be so critical sometimes?

I know from my own personal experience, that me being overly critical happens when I have the need to CONTROL the situation and create a VERY PARTICULAR outcome.

Everybody gets overly critical sometimes. Everybody has areas that make them freak out and get triggered when things don’t go according to plan.

So you know, no judgment there. I get it…

For example, I’m a really difficult person to bake with. I need to follow recipes TO THE GRAM.

Yet Gabriel still sometimes bakes with me. He is a very patient man… 😍We actually have fun backing together these days.

You see, we used to fight about baking and cooking together because I’d try to CONTROL EVERYTHING and he would get annoyed because of it.

But we talked it through and managed to figure it out.

Now he understands my unreasonable urge to control things and I understand that I’m being a bit crazy and blowing things out of proportion.

It turned out that I needed to stop trying to make him do things my way, in order for him to be able to willingly do things my way. Kinda Ironic… 😝😅

By trying to control your partner through criticism, you’re taking away their freedom to give you what you need willingly.

In conclusion, as you can see criticism causes more damage than good in relationships. Positive reinforcement really is the way to go!

Don’t hesitate to voice your complaints though, get your partner to hear you out.

Choose your words more carefully and try to be more delicate towards them.

And remember, you don’t need to control your partner in order to get what you want. They are most likely willing to give it to you.

What is your experience with criticism in relationships? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments section.


Karolina Bartnik