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How to Stop Being Rude to Your Partner: Why We Do It, Impacts & 20 Tips

We often take our anger out on our partners because they’re there, but everyone should learn how to stop being rude to your partner.

How to Stop Being Rude to Your Partner

If you came looking for this article or simply stumbled across it, you may think it is self-explanatory. You want to learn how to stop being rude to your partner, so stop. Right?

Wrong.

It sounds simple to just be nice and respectful to your partner. But when you share your life with someone, tensions run high. Rudeness happens.

It is often easier to be rude to your partner than a complete stranger. Why? Because you trust each other. This is the same reason we fight with our closest friends, siblings, and even parents. You know that no matter how rude you are, they will still be there. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

When someone is with you every day and you are upset for any reason, you can take out those frustrations on them because it is convenient. You usually know how they’ll respond, and it can become the norm.

Being rude gets old. Rudeness isn’t just a part of a relationship. It can get out of hand quickly. Rudeness happens but when that turns into disrespect, it is no longer something you deal with but something that takes over. [Read: 36 signs of disrespect in a relationship that reveal a lack of love & respect]

Why You’re Being Rude to Your Partner

If you know you’re being rude to your partner, good job. You’ve already admitted it. That is hard to do. No one wants to admit such a thing, but that is the first step in stopping.

Now, how did you come to realize you’re being rude to your partner? Did you pick up on it yourself? Was your partner upset? Have you been fighting? [Read: How to tell what your partner feels and learn to read their mind]

Before you can stop being rude to your partner, figure out what causes it in the first place. You probably weren’t actively trying to be rude, but it happened for a reason and that will keep happening if you don’t get a handle on it.

Are you stressed and taking it out on your partner? Are you resenting them for some reason? Or are you trying to push them away?

Even if you stop yourself from being rude to your partner when things come up, it will be difficult to control if you don’t know what’s causing it. Stopping without addressing the cause is only a temporary fix. [Read: Signs of indifference in a relationship that predict a real drift]

So, before you take steps to watch your behavior and stop yourself from being rude to your partner, think about why it is happening.

Are you rude when you get home from work after a bad day? Are you rude when they make a mistake or when you don’t have control? Do you let little things get to you more than they should? Are they being rude to you first? [Read: What does it mean to be vulnerable and share your true thoughts with others?]

Are you actually upset with your partner and think they deserve to be treated that way or do you feel bad about it? Considering all of this is what will help you get to the root of the problem so you can work on what is giving you a temper and leading you to being rude to your partner.

This can be something you need to work on alone or maybe it will take time and communication with your partner. Maybe you both need to work on how to talk without being rude, even when you’re upset.

Here’s a look at potential reasons that might explain why you’re being rude to your partner, and keep in mind, understanding these reasons is the first step in learning how to stop being rude to your partner.

1. Stress and Emotional Overload

You know those days when it feels like everything’s piling up? Picture this: you’ve got a thousand tasks on your plate at work, and to top it off, your officemate Nate decides your breakfast looks tastier than his and helps himself.

You finally get home, only to find your dog has chewed up your new shoes. It’s like the universe is testing your patience. Then, you see your partner, and without even meaning to, you snap at them over something trivial.

This isn’t really about your partner or how you feel towards them; it’s the stress and emotional overload from your day spilling over. It’s like your patience has been worn down to a nub, and they just happen to be the nearest outlet. [Read: How to reduce stress: Fastest hacks to a calmer & happier life]

2. Unresolved Personal Issues

Our brains are wired to respond to trauma in a variety of ways, often without us even realizing it. When you have unresolved personal issues, like past traumas or ongoing challenges, they don’t just vanish into thin air.

Instead, they can lurk in the background, influencing your behavior. This is because trauma can alter the way your brain processes emotions and reactions.

So, when you find yourself being irritable or rude to your partner, it might not have anything to do with them or their actions. Instead, it could be your brain’s trauma response kicking in, pushing you into a defensive mode.

The reaction is a form of self-protection, a way for your brain to guard against perceived threats, which, in reality, might not be threats at all. It’s like an overzealous security system misinterpreting everyday interactions as potential dangers. [Read: Emotional shutdown: What it is, why people feel it & how to help them]

3. Communication Patterns Learned in Childhood

If, as a child, you frequently observed your mom and dad being casually rude to each other – maybe they often used sarcasm as their go-to form of communication or didn’t shy away from blunt remarks – it’s possible that you’ve internalized these patterns.

Growing up in an environment where such communication is the norm can deeply influence how you perceive and engage in interactions. It’s like your family’s communication style gets hardwired into your own. [Read: Toxic family members: Signs and reasons to cut them off for good]

So now, in your adult relationships, you might find yourself replicating these same patterns, not because you intend to be rude, but because it’s a familiar way of communicating. It’s almost like a reflex, something you do without thinking.

This is because those early years are crucial in shaping our understanding of how relationships work and what ‘normal’ communication looks like.

4. Influence of Past Relationships

If it’s not your parents’ influence, then your past romantic relationships might also be playing a role. Think about it – if rudeness was a recurring theme in your previous relationships, whether it came from you or was directed at you, this can leave a lasting imprint.

It’s like your past experiences set a certain communication ‘template’ that you unconsciously carry forward.

So now, in your current relationship, you might catch yourself falling back into these familiar patterns. Maybe it’s snapping in frustration or using a sarcastic tone more often than you’d like.

This isn’t necessarily because you want to be rude, but because it’s a behavior you’ve become accustomed to. It’s an ingrained response that feels ‘normal’ to you, even if it’s far from ideal.

5. Feeling Underappreciated

When you feel like your contributions to the relationship are going unnoticed, it can lead to feelings of frustration. These feelings might manifest as rudeness towards your partner. [Read: Feeling unappreciated? 31 satisfying quotes to empower you to move on]

You’re not necessarily trying to be mean; rather, it’s a way to vent out your feelings of being undervalued. Making a sarcastic comment or responding with impatience often happens as an involuntary reaction to these emotions.

6. Power Dynamics

In some relationships, rudeness can stem from an imbalance of power. If one feels powerless or dominated, rudeness might be a way to assert some form of control or push back against the imbalance.

7. Lack of Emotional Skills

It’s a common scenario where someone simply does not know that they’re being rude. What might come off as rudeness could actually be a struggle to express feelings in a more effective and sensitive way.

In some cases, people might not even realize their words or tone are perceived as rude. It’s like speaking a language fluently but not knowing the cultural nuances that change the meaning of words.

If you haven’t learned to navigate your emotions and communicate them properly, your attempts might unintentionally come off as rude. [Read: How to develop empathy and master the art of growing a real heart]

8. Misalignment of Expectations

Sometimes rudeness arises from a misalignment of expectations between you and your partner. You might have certain assumptions about how things should be done or how your partner should behave, and when these expectations aren’t met, it can lead to frustration and, subsequently, rudeness.

This is especially common in relationships where there hasn’t been a clear discussion about each other’s needs, habits, and preferences.

For instance, you might expect your partner to know how you like certain things done around the house without explicitly communicating it.

When they don’t meet these unspoken expectations, you might respond with irritation or sarcasm. This situation often arises not out of intentional disrespect but from a lack of understanding about each other’s perspectives. [Read: Unrealistic expectations in love we want to believe but shouldn’t]

9. Habitual Behavior

In some cases, rudeness might have become a habit. This is especially true if there have been few or no consequences for this behavior in the past.

10. Mental Health Issues

Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or personality disorders often contribute to behaviors that can be perceived as irritability or rudeness.

For instance, someone grappling with depression might react more sharply than usual, not out of disrespect but due to an underlying sense of frustration or hopelessness.

Anxiety, on the other hand, can heighten a person’s sensitivity to stressors, leading to seemingly abrupt or defensive responses. Personality disorders, depending on their nature, can also influence behavior patterns, sometimes resulting in more confrontational or irritable interactions. [Read: Why we need to break down the stigma of mental illness]

How to Stop Being Rude to Your Partner

Rudeness toward your partner usually isn’t purposeful. You aren’t intentionally being mean or hurting their feelings, yet it happens.

This can be due to stress, hormones, or deeper issues. Working on the cause is the best way to stop being rude to your partner, but it can take time.

Whether you choose to go to therapy, journal, confide in a friend, or communicate with your partner, your repetitive behavior isn’t likely to change overnight. While working on the deeper problem, there are other things you can do in order to stop being rude to your partner. [Read: Reasons why a guy is generally mean to his girlfriend]

1. Flip the Situation

When you’re rude to your partner, it may just seem like normal bickering. Maybe you feel like it is just part of being a couple and dealing with everyday stressors. But, rudeness does not come with the territory.

How would you feel if it was your partner being rude to you? Would you just put up with it and shrug it off or would it get to you? Maybe you start to feel bad about yourself. Would you confront them?

Think about how your partner feels when you’re rude. Loving them should remind you that they don’t deserve to be treated that way.

2. Don’t Accept it

Admitting you’re being rude to your partner is hard, but that doesn’t mean you should accept it. Accepting it means you’re okay with how you’re treating them. But they probably aren’t.

Just because you’re in a committed relationship doesn’t mean they must put up with your rudeness. It is easy to be rude to people we are so close to because we think they’ll never leave, but that just isn’t the case. If you accept that behavior from yourself, it will only get worse and drive your partner away. [Read: Annoying things most people hate about other people]

3. This Isn’t You

Some people defend being rude to their partner by saying it is just them being themselves. That is just a copout. This is a form of manipulation.

If your partner has told you just to be yourself and be comfortable, and you twist that into it being okay for you to be rude, you’re just plain wrong.

It is never okay to be rude to your partner. Even being 100% yourself around someone doesn’t give you a pass to be rude.

4. Love Isn’t Always Enough

I’ve been giving dating and relationship advice to people for years, and I cannot count how many times people have said, “But we love each other.” People believe that all wrongdoings can be forgiven and forgotten as long as love is involved.

That is just not the case. You can love each other more than words describe, but love isn’t just between you as a buffer for any rudeness or bad behavior. Love is something that needs to be tended and cared for with respect. Just because you love each other doesn’t mean your rudeness doesn’t matter. [Read: How to be a better person and grow into a kinder human]

5. Try Role Reversal

When it comes to understanding how to stop being rude to your partner, this is more of a therapy technique, but it works.

Whenever you feel yourself on the verge of losing your temper or saying something rude, switch roles with your partner. Have them talk to you as if they are you and vice versa.

This will help you see the situation from the other’s perspective. You’ll better understand where your partner is coming from and see your situation from another side. [Read: How to stop stonewalling in a relationship before you lose something precious]

6. Reflect on the Impact of Your Words and Actions

A key step in learning how to stop being rude to your partner is to regularly reflect on the impact your words and actions have on them. Take a moment every day to think about your interactions.

Reflect on yourself: “Did I say something today that could have been hurtful? How did my partner react to my comments or behavior?” This kind of self-reflection helps you become more aware of the moments when you might be unintentionally rude.

7. Ask Them to Call You Out

Being rude isn’t something you usually plan to do. When you are rude to your partner, it often comes out in the heat of the moment. You may also be saying things that you think are constructive, but they take as rude.

Rudeness isn’t affected by its intent, but its effect. That means if your partner felt you were rude, even if you didn’t mean to be, you were.

If you want to do better, ask your partner to let you know when you say something they don’t like so that you can learn and do better. [Read: Things you need to eventually talk to your partner about to be happy]

8. Develop Self-Awareness

Begin by observing your own behavior. Ask yourself, “Am I often sarcastic, dismissive, or impatient with my partner?”

Recognizing these patterns is the first step towards change. Self-awareness allows you to catch yourself in the act and gradually shift your behavior.

9. Practice Active Listening

Active listening isn’t just about tuning into what your partner has to say; it’s also about being mindful of your own tone and approach.

When you’re fully engaged in listening, it involves both absorbing the words of your partner and being aware of how you’re responding. You’re not only hearing their message but also checking how you sound when you reply. Are you speaking in a calm, open manner, or are you perhaps sounding a bit sharp or dismissive without intending to?

By focusing on both the content and the tone of the conversation, you create a more empathetic and respectful dialogue.

It’s about giving your partner your full attention, which means not just listening to their words but also being conscious of your own responses. [Read: Ways to be a much better listener in a relationship & read their mind]

10. Implement a ‘Pause Strategy’

When you feel the urge to snap or say something harsh, pause. Take a deep breath and count to ten.

This brief moment can help you gather your thoughts and respond more kindly. It’s amazing how a short pause can change the tone of an interaction.

11. Communicate Needs Clearly

Sometimes rudeness stems from unmet needs or frustrations. Instead of letting these fester, communicate your needs clearly.

For example, if you need some alone time, explain this to your partner in a calm, respectful way, rather than snapping when you feel overwhelmed. Consider the difference in impact between hearing, “I need some space right now to clear my head,” versus a rude remark borne out of frustration. [Read: 34 signs of disrespect in a marriage that reveals a toxic & mean partner]

The first approach, stating “I need some space,” is clear and respectful, allowing your partner to understand your needs without feeling attacked or belittled. In contrast, a rude comment, no matter how small, can create unnecessary hurt and misunderstanding.

12. Engage in Stress-Reducing Activities

If stress is a trigger for your rudeness, find ways to manage it. This could be through exercise, hobbies, or relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Reducing your overall stress levels can have a positive impact on how you interact with your partner.

13. Seek Feedback

Ask your partner how your behavior affects them. This can be eye-opening and can help you understand the impact of your words and actions. But remember, receiving feedback is just the first step, acting on it is what really matters.

14. Set Relationship Goals

Together with your partner, set specific goals for how you want to communicate and treat each other. These goals can act as a guide and reminder of the kind of relationship you both aspire to have. [Read: Couple goals: 58 fake & real ideas you MUST add to your relationship goals]

For instance, you might agree to a goal of sharing at least five kind words or compliments with each other every day. This could be anything from appreciating something they did to expressing affection or admiration.

15. Use ‘I’ Statements

Instead of saying “You always…” or “You never…”, which can come off as accusatory, use ‘I’ statements. For example, “I feel hurt when…” This helps in expressing your feelings without blaming or being rude to your partner.

16. Create a ‘Cool-off’ Ritual

When tensions rise, having a pre-agreed ritual to cool off can be incredibly helpful. This could be something like taking a short walk, spending a few minutes in silence, or even temporarily leaving the room.

What this does is provide both of you with a necessary break to gather your thoughts and emotions. It’s a way to step back from the heat of the moment, allowing any immediate frustration or anger to dissipate.

By implementing this ritual, you’re giving each other space to calm down, which is often crucial for preventing a small disagreement from escalating into a larger conflict.

17. Regular Check-ins

It’s essential to regularly check in with each other about your communication. During these check-ins, ask each other, “How are we doing? Are we treating each other with respect?”

Sometimes, in our minds, we might think everything’s going great, but there could be instances where we’ve said something inadvertently rude that hurt our partner. We often don’t realize the impact of our words or actions until someone points it out. [Read: The power of words in relationships can make it or break it]

18. Acknowledge and Apologize

When you are rude, acknowledge it and apologize sincerely. This shows your partner that you’re aware of your behavior and are working on it.

Remember, apologies should be about acknowledging feelings, not just excusing actions. [Read: 28 heartfelt ways to say you’re sorry & apologize to someone you love]

19. Practice Gratitude

Showing gratitude to your partner can really change the game in your relationship. Like, if they’ve unloaded the dishwasher or picked up coffee for you, throw them a genuine “Thanks, that was awesome of you.” It’s about recognizing the cool stuff they do, big or small.

Doing this also tunes you into the good things happening around you. It’s like upgrading your relationship’s vibe to be more positive and appreciative. Plus, it gets you both into this habit of spotting and valuing the little things. This way, your relationship stays fresh, connected, and, frankly, just feels better for both of you.

20. Seek Professional Help if Needed

If you’ve tried everything but still can’t seem to stop being rude to your partner, it might be time to seek some outside help.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we need a bit of extra support to really get to the root of the issue. That’s where a therapist or counselor can come in handy. They’re like guides who can offer you personalized strategies and insights based on your specific situation.

The Impact of Rudeness on Relationship Health

It might just start with a little snide comment or a sarcastic answer, but in the long run, these small acts of rudeness can accumulate and have a profound impact on the health of your relationship.

1. Erosion of Trust

Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship. When rudeness becomes a regular occurrence, it can start to erode this trust.

Your partner might begin to question your respect for them and doubt your commitment. Trust, once broken, can be incredibly hard to rebuild. [Read: Trust issues in a relationship: 22 whys & ways to get over it together]

2. Increased Conflict

Rudeness often begets more rudeness. If you’re regularly snippy with your partner, chances are they’ll start responding in kind.

This creates a cycle of negativity, leading to more frequent and intense conflicts. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill, growing bigger and more destructive with each turn.

3. Emotional Distance

Over time, constant rudeness can create an emotional gap between you and your partner. They might start to protect themselves by withdrawing emotionally, leading to a lack of intimacy and connection. Have you ever felt distant from someone because of the way they spoke to you? That’s what happens here.

4. Decreased Self-Esteem

Continuous exposure to rudeness can take a toll on your partner’s self-esteem. They might start to feel unworthy or unloved, wondering if there’s something wrong with them. This can lead to deeper issues like depression or anxiety.

5. Communication Breakdown

Good communication is key in any relationship. Rudeness interrupts effective communication, making it hard to discuss issues constructively.

Instead of solving problems, you end up creating more, leading to a feeling of being stuck or hopeless in the relationship. [Read: When the love is gone: What causes it & 29 secrets to bring back the love]

6. Physical and Emotional Stress

Being on the receiving end of rudeness can really take a toll on both your body and mind. Think about it: Have you ever asked someone a simple question and, out of nowhere, they hit you back with a rude, demeaning response? That kind of interaction can leave you feeling stressed out and upset.

This kind of stress isn’t just about feeling bad in the moment. It can actually manifest in physical ways. We’re talking headaches, trouble sleeping, or even more serious stuff like heart problems. It’s like your body’s way of saying, “Hey, this isn’t okay.”

7. Impact on Intimacy

Rudeness can dampen the feelings of romance and attraction between partners. It’s hard to feel close or intimate with someone who is constantly rude.

The lack of intimacy can lead to a dissatisfying relationship both emotionally and physically. [Read: 32 fun ideas to build & grow intimacy in a relationship and feel more loved]

8. Creating a Negative Environment

Constant rudeness can create a negative, hostile home environment. This isn’t just bad for the couple but also for anyone else living in the same space, like children. It sets a poor example and can affect their emotional development.

9. Reduced Support System

In a healthy relationship, your partner is often your primary support system. However, rudeness can weaken this support.

It becomes harder to turn to each other in times of need, leading to a sense of isolation and loneliness.

10. Potential for Escalation

What starts as mild rudeness can sometimes escalate into more severe forms of disrespect or even verbal abuse. It’s important to nip these behaviors in the bud before they grow into something more harmful.

Build a Relationship Based on Mutual Respect and Kindness

Pause for a second and think – why would you want to be rude to someone you love? This question can be a powerful starting point in your journey toward positive change. Remember, being rude isn’t just about the words you say, it’s about the respect and love you show or fail to show. [Read: Intentionally hurting someone you love: Why we do it & how to stop]

It takes a lot of self-discovery and practice to relearn how to stop being rude to your partner if you’ve made a habit out of it, but it is possible. It might require you to dig deep into understanding your emotions, triggers, and perhaps even past experiences that have shaped your current behavior. It’s about building a relationship based on mutual respect and kindness.

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Samantha Ann
It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding a wonderful relationship, I have decided to...