10 Negative Thought Patterns That Ruin Perfectly Good Relationships

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10 Negative Thought Patterns That Ruin Perfectly Good Relationships

It's easy to get caught up in your thoughts, but what your mind says is not always true. This is known as "cognitive distortion," and it causes negative thought patterns that can ruin a perfectly good relationship.

Couples do this all the time. They get stuck in old thought patterns that negatively impact their current relationships. Don't let past negative patterns hurt your healthy relationship.

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Toxic thought patterns will leave you feeling stuck. You'll feel like you have no way out, but that's not true. Learn to look at your options and make choices that are good for you and the relationship.

Here are 10 negative thought patterns you might be stuck in that have the potential to ruin your relationship.

1. Making a big deal of something small.

Sometimes the small things really are small things. When your partner leaves out a smiley face on a text, don't read into it. They may have been in a hurry and that's why it was left out.

This is also known as "choosing your battles." Not everything needs to be an argument.

2. You assume the worst.

This is where you think that your action will have a negative outcome.

Your partner may not do things the way you do, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. Deciding something will go wrong at the start never has a good ending. Have an open mind and stay positive.

3. Labeling at first sight.

For example, stay away from labeling your partner's best friend as a "loser," just because you don't like them. Try to find evidence that they aren't a loser.

Putting negative or mean labels on people and things will make your partner feel defensive. It creates emotional distance in the relationship and makes it harder to connect.

4. Refusing to enjoy yourself.

Do you see having fun as a waste of time or unproductive?

Spend time laughing together and enjoying the little things. It will help bring you closer as a couple.

5. Blaming others.

Every time something goes wrong in the relationship, you blame your partner. This will cause resentment.

Remember, a relationship is about the "we," not the "I."

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6. You make your partner responsible for your feelings.

You need to be able to self-soothe when you're in a relationship. Take a bath, read a book, watch a comedy, or write in your journal. This will take the pressure off of your partner.

You're responsible for your actions and emotions — not your partner.

7. Acting entitled.

Believing the same rules that apply to others don't apply to you is a recipe for disaster.

For example: You believe that because you worked all day, you can come home and make a mess in the kitchen and leave it for your partner to clean up. This is not OK.

8. You expect everything to be "fair."

This is unrealistic. A good example of this is when you watched your child all day on Saturday, and therefore your partner should watch the child all day on Sunday.

This will cause resentment. Life isn't fair, you need to learn to cope and discuss ways to share your responsibilities together in a way that benefits you both, instead of trying to do an arbitrary exchange.

9. You cling to your own point of view.

You need to be able to see a problem from your partner's perspective.

Ignoring your partner's emotional needs or complaining that your partner is too needy when they express their needs is a selfish way to think. It will make your partner feel invalidated and drive you both apart.

10. Having unrealistic expectations.

Don't "should" yourself or your partner. Do you frequently expect your partner to know what you're thinking without telling them? This is a quick way to upset you both. They're not a mind-reader.

You need to state what your wants and needs are and set reachable goals.

Try not beat yourself up for using these cognitive distortions. We've all used them. The good news is you can rewire your brain to start using thought patterns that will better serve you.

Start today by changing one negative pattern in your relationship.

It can be small. Catch your partner doing something right in the relationship, rather than something wrong. This will help show appreciation.

It's also important to spend quality time together. Yes, this means you need to do something romantic.

Start by telling your partner five things you appreciate in them. Make them genuine. It's important to set time aside for your relationship.

Many couples go through highs and lows in their relationship. You aren't alone.

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Lianne Avila is a marriage & family therapist helping couples in San Mateo, CA. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website where you can subscribe to her newsletter to learn more about her services and expertise.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.