Criticism in relationships is incredibly common. Wonder why? All of us in a relationship like things the way we like them. Including how our partners act. We like them not to embarrass us and we like them to talk to us pleasantly. As humans we prefer things that please us. This is entirely normal.
But as someone who is sensitive to criticism, I know how terrible it feels when someone points out what you do not do well. It hurts some of us to our core. We can’t help it, that’s just the way some of us are wired.
Criticizing Your Partner’s Faults Can Be Hurtful
Maybe you have experienced this in your relationship. You might have told your partner what it is that they do that you don’t like or you think should be done differently. We all do this too. But if you are the one who is being told something is wrong with you, well that can hurt.
All of us have pride about who we are and how we operate. This pride is from growing up independent. All humans take pride in their accomplishments, successes and ways of being in the world. But when someone says there is something wrong with the way you are, well you can see how that can hurt.
We Can Request Change without Resorting to Criticism
So, what can be done if we don’t like our partner sometimes? Here are some suggestions. First off if it is something that you really want to change, see if you can tell them why. You will have to tell them in a kind way what happens to you when you see them do the thing you don’t like.
Don’t just snap at them and say, “I don’t like that. Don’t do that.” This can feel like an assault on the person it is directed towards. No one likes to hear that they are not good enough or they displease their partner.
Say something like, “When you leave your socks in the hallway, it makes me feel overburdened because I just have to pick them up. Do you think you might be able to make the effort? I would appreciate it.”
You might be saying to yourself after reading that last paragraph, I am not going to say all that. I just want to get to the point. But you see that when you get to the point of what you don’t like, you do not take into consideration that this information might be hurtful to your mate.
Express Your Needs and Preferences from a Place of Love and Compassion
None of us like the same things. We all have our own history and experiences that we filter our current life though and this makes us all different. So, the things you don’t like about your mate will likely be news for them.
If you care for them, ask them with kindness to reflect that you love them and are not criticizing them. And here’s another idea. You could just learn to accept them for who they are. Now, that would really be ideal.
Communicate with Confidence in Your Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how to communicate more confidently in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you both feel closer, better understood, and more assured of one another’s feelings. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.