9 Toxic Thought Patterns in Relationships

When you and your partner began your relationship, you never pictured it turning sour. Any relationship can get complicated with time because life isn’t always easy. Sometimes family or financial stressors disrupt the love you share and other times it’s your thoughts.

Thoughts happen instantaneously, so it’s easy to slip into habits that hurt your relationship. If you want to make serious change and get those romantic butterflies back again, read about these nine toxic thought patterns in relationships. You may recognize some of the behaviors and learn how to undo the damage.

1. Automatic and Exaggerated Conclusions

When your partner does something, you jump to automatic conclusions that are over the top. They could spend five extra dollars outside your budget on groceries and you get upset because you worry they’ll bankrupt you both.

2. All or Nothing Assumptions

Arguments start because you assume your partner is always doing the wrong thing. They can never do anything even partly right. Assumptions are a sign that you should learn to stop overthinking, so your mindset doesn’t get in the way of letting your partner explain their side of the story.

3. Constant Negative Labels

Do you ever say things like, “You’re so lazy,”  or “You’re selfish,” to your partner? Those labels stand in the place of their name, which can make you forget about their positive attributes over time. Refraining from using negative labels will help you both have constructive conversations when an issue arises.

4. Assuming They “Should”

No one’s a mind reader, but sometimes one partner assumes the other should know their needs without them saying it out loud. Although sometimes you can pick up on behaviors and preferences in long-term relationships, maintaining this assumption will always be disappointing.

5. Emotional and Defensive Bailing

Emotions can make people uncomfortable, so when an argument happens, you bail when things get tense. You may claim that your partner’s emotions are impossible to handle so they feel like they’re at fault. It’s crucial to never run from your feelings and learn from them instead.

6. Playing the Blame Game

No matter what your partner does, you blame them for something bigger. They might forget to move the laundry to the dryer, so you say, “This is why my life is so terrible!” Their one mistake isn’t ruining your life — the blame game is.

7. Assigning Imaginary Motives

Anyone can ruin a relationship if they get in the habit of assigning motives. Maybe your partner gets home late from work, so you assume it’s because they’re cheating on you. There’s no real evidence of this, but the assumption will cause bitterness in your heart that makes it difficult to listen and love your partner.

8. Setting Disillusioned Expectations

Idealized expectations aren’t healthy when you set them for your partner. You want your partner to be more romantic by surprising you with gifts, but they have a different love language that they’d rather use instead. You’ll always be disappointed if you expect your partner to be someone they’re not.

9. Focusing on Criticism

You’re quick to criticize what your partner doesn’t do, but you never affirm what you love about them. Not recognizing their positive attributes can make you forget them and introduce unnecessary tension that highlights their faults instead.

Identify and Avoid Toxic Thoughts

Now that you know the nine toxic thought patterns in relationships, you can identify which ones you struggle with and avoid them. It will take daily work to reverse these habits, but every effort will improve your relationship and restore the love you feel you’ve lost.