9 behaviors your partner is secretly judging you for

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Most of us think of our relationships as our safe spaces, places where we can be our true selves without having to hide or compromise.

That’s sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

In reality, though, most relationships are growing and developing and may not be ready for complete and total openness.

Instead, they’re still home to negative feelings and behaviors that get in the way of bliss.

And judgment is one of the biggest issues hidden deep in so many relationships.

When your partner judges you, they’re essentially saying to you that you’re not good enough or it’s not OK to be yourself.

The person doing the judging is usually doing so because they feel insecure. The person who’s being judged is made to feel unworthy and not good enough.

Judging each other can really destroy a relationship, whether it happens openly or covertly.

Do you think this might be happening to you?

If you feel this way, it may be because of these nine behaviors your partner is secretly judging you for.

1) Your phone use

If your partner is secretly judging you for anything, your phone use is probably it.

This happens when you use your phone a whole heck of a lot, and it makes your partner feel ignored and annoyed.

Have you heard of phubbing? That’s snubbing someone by using your phone when you’re supposed to be listening or paying attention to them.

It can be a real pet peeve to partners who remember a time when you were really attentive and into them.

Can it go the other way?

Of course – your partner might also secretly judge that you’re not on your phone enough. For them, this means that you’re not contactable enough, too slow to answer texts for their liking, and not very available.

If only we could find some healthy middle ground with phone use!

2) Your self-care routine

Believe it or not, one of the most common areas that people judge their partners on is their self-care routine.

This generally happens because one of you is doing a whole lot more than the other.

Whoever is doing a lot more usually thinks their partner is not doing enough to care for their hair, face, skin, body, etc. They might judge your partner as lazy or even slobby.

On the flip side, the person doing a lot less might think their partner is going way overboard, spending way too much time, and spending too much money. They might see this behavior as a vanity project.

3) Your work ethic

The ideal work-life balance is different for everyone.

Some people love their jobs and feel like they’re a hugely important part of who they are. They may almost never stop working or being on call, and this can seem like way too much to their partners.

Other people are after the rewards that hard work can bring, so they work incredibly long hours and never take a day off. Their partners might secretly feel that they’re incorrigible workaholics.

On the other side of things, you have people who do as little work as possible. They feel like doing the bare minimum they need to do to survive is all they want to invest in their work.

They want to have free time to enjoy life and are happy to trade low-income for this valuable commodity.

Their partners, though, may judge them as lazy and unmotivated.

Once again, it all depends on your perspective.

4) Substance use

Here’s one of those behaviors that I’m sure you expected to be on this list.

I can tell you that alcohol and cannabis use can be huge bones of contention in relationships.

It’s pretty easy to see why.

I met my ex at a nightclub. We were both out having a good time and getting pretty tipsy.

We had fun together, and because of how we met, we often went out to clubs together – it seemed to be something we had in common.

However, I was also older than her and really starting to feel like I was over and done with that lifestyle. Finally, I decided to stop drinking altogether.

She, on the other hand, continued right on with almost nightly partying.

Then, as you can guess, things started to go south. I think she was secretly seeing me as some sort of puritanical prude or stick in the mud. I have to admit that I judged her behavior as self-destructive and counter-productive.

In the end, we split up, and these secret judgments definitely had a lot to do with it.

5) Rewarding yourself

If you need to motivate yourself, rewards can be extremely useful.

You might tell yourself, “If I go for a jog this evening, I can have a glass of wine,” or “When I get this big project done, I’m treating myself to a new phone.”

Sound like a good idea?

Your partner might not totally agree.

The thing is, jogging makes you fit and healthy – isn’t that reward enough in itself?

Or how about that project – does the money you made on it actually even cover the cost of the new phone?

Sometimes, our partners might see our self-rewards as signs that we’re not self-motivated enough. They might even view our treats as selfish because they’re not taken into consideration in the whole process.

6) The company you keep

There it is. You were waiting for this one, weren’t you?

That’s because you know as well as I do that partners love to secretly judge each other on who they spend time with outside of the relationship.

Your partner might have beef with someone, and although you don’t share it, they might disapprove of you spending time with that person.

They might just dislike some of your old friends and have a hard time understanding why you still like them.

Well, it’s no secret that this kind of judgment can really cause damage to a couple. It’s almost always based on jealousy or disapproval, and those aren’t the kinds of feelings you want in your relationship.

7) Avoiding conflict

Different people have different styles when it comes to conflict

Some like to run at each other and lock horns, fighting until they work something out.

Other people let things bubble and boil away under the surface, then suddenly let their issues out explosively.

Some people are extremely level-headed and able to discuss their contrasting opinions without getting worked up.

And then there are people who avoid conflict, preferring to let things go or ignore issues rather than confront them.

If this is your conflict style, however, your partner might think that you’re avoidant or even scared to stand up for yourself.

This is especially the case when they are far more confrontational than you are.

8) Avoiding responsibility

We all have responsibilities in our lives, but they come about in two very different ways.

On the one hand, we accept the responsibilities that are thrust upon us by our situation in life, like caring for our elderly parents or maintaining our homes.

On the other hand, many responsibilities are sought out or added to our lives by choice, like joining a volunteer organization or deciding to become a rescue dog parent.

There’s no prescribed amount of responsibility you need to take on in your life and people take on more or less as they see fit. 

Many people don’t want to burden themselves with lots of extra responsibilities (which is why I’ll never have a swimming pool!) and just want life to be laid back and easy.

However, their partners might secretly judge them on this basis. They might think their motives are lazy and selfish instead of just a tendency to be carefree.

9) Spending that money

I knew you were expecting to see this one on the list so I thought I’d save the biggest issue for last.

Money is one of the biggest sticking points in any relationship, so it’s no wonder that your partner might secretly judge your financial behavior without you knowing.

They might think you spend way too much and worry that you’re going to bring yourself, and possibly them, financial ruin.

Or they might think you’re tight-fisted and stingy as Scrooge McDuck. They might want you to pay for more or take on a bigger share of the bills.

Our partners often judge us for spending money without thinking or, conversely, thinking way too long before making any purchase.

Either way, this judgment can be a real issue in your relationship that might not stay secret for long – it usually leads to fights!


These nine behaviors your partner may be secretly judging you for can become huge issues in your relationship.

If you feel like secret judgment bubbling below the surface like a festering boil, it may be best to address things head-on. Lance that boil before it grows and explodes on its own.

15 ways an emotional manipulator will use your kindness against you

If you truly want to move forward in life, say goodbye to these 11 attachments