Why Always Needing to Be Right Is Bad for Your Relationship
You're bound to be wrong sometimes, and the sooner you learn to admit that, the healthier and happier your marriage will be.
If you pretty much always want to be right whenever an issue, topic, or argument arises between you and your partner, you're far from alone. In fact, wanting to be right is only human nature. Let's put it this way—who wants to be wrong? But wanting to be right can drive a wedge in your relationship when you are entirely incapable of admitting when you are, in fact, wrong, relationship experts explain. "People who have an elevated need to be right (or at least not be wrong) tend to view these categories in a very concrete, black-and-white way where every interaction represents a win-lose scenario," explains Michele Moore, licensed professional counselor, certified coach and relationship expert at Marriage Mojo. "Sometimes, this need arises from a childhood in which someone always felt they were on the losing end or perhaps always got criticized for things they thought were good or right—the need to 'prove' oneself and lay out a case may be something that has become a habit when this isn't even necessary in adulthood." The point of the matter is that always needing to be right can be sabotaging your relationship. Here's why and how.
It stunts the growth of the relationship.
Growth is an important quality in all relationships, and not just in the beginning. "When either individual closes themselves off from learning by always wanting to be right, he or she is no longer growing," explains Mercedes Coffman, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "John Gottman's research showed that couples who stayed together the longest are those who allow each other to be influenced by one another, thus remaining open and able to grow."
It makes one partner feel insignificant.
By adamantly insisting on always being right, you're adamantly insisting that your partner is always wrong, which is hurtful at the very least. "When one partner's opinion or perspective is always considered as wrong, he or she may start doubting themselves, and therefore may become more inhibited in the relationship," says Coffman. "This may sometimes create a bully-type of relationship dynamic."
It makes you feel bad, too.
Though the thought of always being right and coming out on top might sound like a confidence booster, the underlying reasons why you want to be right could quite possibly be making you feel bad. "Always needing to be right often stems from perfectionism, meaning that when you're not right, you're not perfect," explains Heidi McBain, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "If your self-esteem is wrapped up in always trying to be perfect, it can make it very hard for your partner to talk to you about aspects of your relationship that they are unhappy with, as this conversation might harm your confidence level as well."
It may skew the dynamics of your relationship.
You are your significant other's partner, not his or her parent. In other words, you shouldn't be the one telling him or her that he or she is always wrong. Thus, your partner may end up feeling more like a chastised child. In order to start to change this dynamic, McBain recommends learning to becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. "That gray area in your life where there's compromise and seeing things from another person's perspective, even if it doesn't fully align with how you see things," she says.