It’s easy to fall into certain thought patterns when you're with your partner, but they can cause a lot of unnecessary distress in relationships. It’s important to recognize when you’re doing it and try to shift your thinking toward more helpful, solution-focused thoughts. Try keeping a record for a week and see what triggers these thoughts. Next to the thought, write an alternative thought that will help you respond to situations better.
1. Black and white thinking.
Limiting your partner to just “good” or “bad” prevents the opportunity to see that you can love on a continuum. When your partner forgets to do something, you become infuriated, and whatever compassion you had goes out the window.
2. Jumping to conclusions.
Also known as fortune-telling or mind reading, we’re all guilty of it. Before hearing your partner out, you automatically jump to conclusions, then dwell on what you think you know is truth.
You blow things way out of proportion when they aren’t actually a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
You shrink important things by ignoring or downplaying them. Maybe you slipped up and said something that you know was really, really hurtful during an argument. When your partner expresses how it made him feel, you act like he's the one making a big deal about it and he should “just get over it.”
5. “Should” statements.
Without acknowledging your own or your partner’s limitations, you set high demands with unrealistic expectations. It’s not uncommon for you to feel like the other person in the relationship should be more affectionate, should pay more of the bills, or believing that you should just put up with it.
Rather than acknowledging that your partner made a mistake, you drop labels like “jerk,” “loser,” or “failure.” Or maybe you’re having trouble admitting that you made a mistake and you label yourself as those things. “I'm always running late, I’m such a idiot.”
You're constantly taking things too personally when they aren't about you. You're always on the defensive, believing that your partner's every move is directed towards you.