9 Thoughts You Shouldn't Be Having About Your Partner, No Matter What
Believe it or not, thoughts like "I hate you" are common, and not all that problematic in a relationship. They're usually just your brain's way of blowing off steam when you're annoyed. There are some thoughts you shouldn't be having about your partner, though, because they are more indicative of an unhealthy situation than some inner grumpiness.
When I worked as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I learned the difference between just regular old negative thoughts, and the thoughts you really need to pay attention to. And there's a pretty big difference. For example, if you thoughts are triggered by annoyance or anger, you're usually fine. If your thoughts are motivated by fear, thought, then you need to dial in and pay closer attention to what's going on in your relationship.
Check out these thoughts you really shouldn't be thinking when you're in a healthy, happy relationship, and then compare them to your thoughts to see where you line up. You might find (with relief) that you're just reacting in a normal human way. If you do find that your thoughts point to something unhealthy, you can always get advice from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They're not just for escaping abuse. They can answer all types of relationship questions, too.
1. I Need To Get Home So You Don't Get Mad At Me
If you're always thinking about how you need to hurry up and get home because your partner is going to be mad at you, then you might be in a controlling situation. In healthy relationships, one partner isn't always living by the other person's schedule. They're allowed to come and go, see family and friends alone, and even occasionally just have some alone time. It's OK to think this occasionally, like if you know your partner is making a special dinner and you're taking forever at the gym, but you shouldn't be thinking this on the regular.
2. I'm Going To Be In Trouble For That
Your partner is just that, a partner. They're not your parents, or any other type of authority figure. If you're always worried about getting in trouble with your partner for little things, like living your life, not doing laundry, forgetting to buy milk, texting someone, or speaking your opinion, that's a red flag for an abusive situation. It means you probably have an imbalance of power and control. You should not spend your life worrying that you're constantly making your partner mad. You should feel free to make decisions, to leave the house, to have friends, and even to make mistakes.
3. You Probably Won't Let Me
If you have to ask permission to live your life, that's not cool. Sure, in long-term relationships, you have to agree on things, like big purchases, but you don't have to ask permission for the little things. If you do, there could very likely be something controlling or abusive going on. You should feel, on the whole, like you can do whatever you want, and you shouldn't always worry that your partner won't like it. A true partner wants to support you, not rule over you.
4. You Didn't Mean It
File "they didn't mean it" with "they're just stressed" or "they were drunk" and you have some thoughts that sound more like justifying bad behavior than anything else. While those statements might be true, they don't excuse abusive behavior. If you're always thinking about how your partner really is a good person and really does love you, even though they occasionally hurt or belittle you, then you have to face the fact that you're in an abusive situation. Abusers aren't always monster-like figures. They can be people we love, who are often good to us. That doesn't make it OK.
5. You'd Be Lost Without Me
We all feel like we'd be lost without our partner's sometimes, especially when they help us our or pick up our slack. But it's not really true. Healthy people might not enjoy being without their partners, but they'd survive. If you're always thinking about how your partner would literally die without you, especially if they've said they'd kill themselves if you left, you're flirting with danger. This is often little more than a manipulation tactic to keep you under their control.
6. You're All I Have
Your partner shouldn't be the only thing in your life, or your sole purpose for existing. If you feel like your partner is all you have, is your only friend, and is the only one who loves you, it's possible your partner has deployed a sneaky trick of abusers where they isolate you from your family or friends. They either move you far away, or they find reasons (usually involving drama so they don't look like the bad guy) to slowly cut others out of your life. It's worth thinking about. If that's not the case, then it's time to make some friends or find a hobby outside of the relationship.
7. I Don't Deserve You
I just told my partner "I don't deserve you" yesterday. But I meant it in a "you're really sweet and wonderful" kind of way. I didn't actually mean that I didn't deserve her. If you think you don't deserve your partner on a regular basis, and you actually mean that you don't think you deserve them, there's probably something up. Like low self-esteem. Like abuse that wears you down and makes you question your worth. Like a partner who makes you feel like you don't deserve happiness. You do deserve happiness, and these types of thoughts are worth exploring, maybe even with a counselor.
8. I Don't Want To Be With You
Sometimes you get in a rough patch, and you think "I don't really want this relationship anymore." Then it passes. But if you're thinking you don't want to be with your partner on a regular basis, it probably means you don't want to be with your partner. You should never ignore these types of feelings just because you have a family, a house, or you've been together forever. If you're regularly thinking you're unhappy and you want to go, then it's time to go.
9. It Could Be Worse
I wanted to end on this one, because it's something I heard a ton. People weren't happy with their relationships, but they were always thinking, "It could be worse. They could hit me" or, "It could be worse, at least they make good money." These are not good reasons to stay in a relationship. You should stay in a relationship because you want to. Because it makes you feel happy and fulfilled and supported most of the time. Because you want to build a life and a true partnership. Not just because it's not that bad. You deserve better.
If these are the types of thoughts you're having, it's time to take a hard look at your relationship, talk to some friends, see a counselor or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for advice. You'd be alarmed at how quickly unhealthy relationships can turn violent and how quickly violent relationships can turn deadly.
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