Save Your Relationship

Why You Need to Stop Blaming Your Partner

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One of the most unhealthy patterns that can emerge in a relationship is the blame game. Sadly, it happens far too often. It is destructive and if the cycle isn't quickly stopped, can end up causing a painful breakup or leading a couple straight for divorce court.

If you find yourself often blaming your partner for the problems in your relationship, you are not alone. While blaming is never constructive, it is also human nature to want to assign responsibility for mistakes, problems, flaws, frustrations, etc to someone else than own it ourselves.

Don't get me wrong, there are certainly occasions when your partner really messed up and caused significant problems in your relationship. But even in those situations, pointing a finger of blame or making him or her responsible for your feelings or reaction is not appropriate, no matter how justified you feel.

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You are responsible for your feelings, not your partner.

You are also responsible, to a much more significant degree, for how your partner treats you.

Now, before you react to that statement, let me explain further. We teach people, whether consciously or not, how to treat us. For example, if you tolerate disrespect from your partner, you are "teaching" him that it is okay for him to treat you that way.

If you refuse to tolerate it, he will either stop (if he wants to stay in a relationship with you) or he will continue and experience the consequences (of you ending the relationship). Does that make sense?

So, when you blame someone for your feelings, your mood, your anger (e.g. "You make me so angry!!"), your unhappiness in the relationship, or the problems in your relationship, you are basically saying, "I am not responsible for any of these things".

In other words, you are playing the victim. And victims make lousy relationship partners. And when you play the victim, your partner will have a difficult time respecting you. Sadly, that will only make the cycle worse.

Blame is defeating for both of you. It creates a rift and makes good communication difficult. Have you ever tried to have a productive or meaningful conversation with someone who was blaming you for something?

That's how your partner likely feels with you. If he or she withdraws or puts up walls in response, you only have yourself to blame.

Blaming can also make you sound holier-than-thou. You are giving the message that you are without fault or above reproach. Any relationship expert will tell you that when there are problems, you both have some responsibility.

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Blaming also only takes into consideration your feelings, wants, or needs. In a relationship, it is never only about you. Situations involve both of you, and you need to step back and consider your partner's feelings, desires, and needs as well. If you don't, you are being very selfish.

Blame also indicates that it is your partner's responsibility to fix whatever the problem is. Healthy relationships don't work that way. When problems arise you need to work on them together.

Next time you feel the urge to blame your partner, ask yourself what part you may have played in the situation. What could you have done differently? What could you do now to make things better?

Last of all, put yourself in your partner's shoes. How would you feel if he or she was constantly blaming you for everything?

Blame can easily become a habit. If it has become one for you, take some time and consider what it is that you get out of blaming your partner? What's the pay off? There is one, or you wouldn't do it.

If you don't want to destroy your relationship, make it a point to stop yourself when you find yourself pointing the finger of blame at your partner. Ask your partner to call you on it (gently but firmly) when you do play the blame game.

Any habit can be broken, but you must make a conscientious decision to do so and be willing to do the work involved. You will have a much happier relationship if you do!

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