10 Negative Thought Patterns That Ruin Perfectly Good Relationships

Don't let the lows override the highs in your relationship.

Last updated on Mar 09, 2024

Woman thinking negatively Marco Testi | Unsplash, Jacob Lund | Canva

It's easy to get caught 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.

Toxic thought patterns will leave you feeling stuck. You'll feel like you have no way out, but that's untrue. Learn to look at your options and make good choices for you and the relationship.


RELATED: The One Emotion That's Destructive To Marriage

Here are 10 negative thought patterns that ruin perfectly good relationships:

1. Making a big deal of something small

Sometimes, the small things 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. That's why it was left out. This is also known as "choosing your battles." Not everything needs to be an argument.



2. Believing the worst

This is where you think 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, avoid labeling your partner's best friend as a "loser" because you don't like them. Try to find evidence 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."


RELATED: 10 Tiny Habits That Separate Good Couples From Great Couples

6. Making 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.

Relaxing on a blue ice-frozen lake with snow and cracks in winter

Photo: LL_studio via Shutterstock


7. Acting entitled

Believing the same rules apply to others don't apply to you is a recipe for disaster. For example, you believe 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. Expecting everything to be "fair"

This is unrealistic. A good example is when you watch your child all day on Saturday, so 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 in a way that benefits you both instead of trying to do an arbitrary exchange.

RELATED: 10 Small Love Deposits To Fill Your Partner's Emotional Bank Account

9. Clinging to your point of view

You need 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 think without telling them? This is a quick way to upset you both. They're not a mind-reader. You need to state your wants and needs to set reachable goals. Try not to beat yourself up for using these cognitive distortions. We've all used them. The good news is you can rewire your brain and use thought patterns to better serve you.

Start by changing one negative pattern in your relationship.


It can be small like you 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 critical to set time aside for your relationship. Many couples go through highs and lows in their relationship. You aren't alone.

RELATED: If You Don't Drop These 10 Mindsets, You'll Never Find Love

Lianne Avila is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA. Her work has been featured in Psych Central, BRIDES, and Prevention.