9 signs you’re in a relationship with a chronic complainer

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Now, don’t get me wrong, we all like to have an occasional rant.

Whether it’s about bad customer service, line cutters, heavy traffic, or extortionate prices.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, research suggests that getting annoyances off your chest can be extremely beneficial for your mental health.

But here’s the deal.

Some people take it too far. They’re what you call chronic complainers. They never stop!

And if you’re in a relationship with one of these party poopers, it can have a real impact on your well-being.

So how do you know if your significant other is turning into the Grinch?

We’ll help you out – check these nine telltale signs!

1) Their glass is ALWAYS half-empty

Chronic complainers tend to be pessimistic.

You’ll often hear them saying things like “I’m never going to get that promotion.” or “There’s no point even trying because I always fail.”

It’s frustrating, right?

They believe the world is against them and there’s nothing they can do to change it. 

But more specifically…

They have a fixed mindset rather than a growth mindset.

Rather than thinking they can improve with practice and effort, they believe they’re just not good at stuff so don’t even try.

Which leads to another big one…

2) They love playing the blame game

“I didn’t pass Math class because the teacher sucked.”

When something goes wrong in their life, chronic complainers love to point the finger. They NEVER take responsibility or accountability for their own mistakes.

Blaming others is actually a defense mechanism for them.

Let me explain.

Nobody likes to mess up. It can cause embarrassment and anxiety. Blaming others (and being in denial) protects us from the reality of the situation, which helps us avoid stress and unpleasant consequences.

So if you catch your partner shying away from their own mistakes and laying the blame elsewhere, they could be a chronic complainer.

3) They lack gratitude

Of course, I get it.

We all have a ton of things that we want in life.

But people who enjoy complaining often fail to appreciate what they already have.

Sure, neighbors playing loud music isn’t ideal. But, at least you have neighbors! Some people don’t even have basic human needs like food, shelter, and security.

Here’s why gratitude is so important.

Being thankful grounds you and helps put things into perspective. When you practice gratitude on a daily basis it has meditative effects and can create a peaceful, content mindset.

This is, unfortunately, something that chronic complainers fail to realize.

They’re too wrapped up in their own world and tend to focus on how everyone is making THEIR life so difficult.

4) They compare themselves to others

If you hear your significant other spouting phrases like “That’s not fair!” or “How did John afford that brand new Tesla?” they may be a bit of a whiner.

Here’s the thing.

We’re all on our own individual journey. Our material possessions, status, and money are just the result of our attitude, work ethic, luck, and goals in life.

So comparing yourself to others, in the moment, without looking at the journey, doesn’t make much sense.

But chronic complainers can’t get around this.

They obsess over what others have when they should be focusing on their own life goals.

And if you call them out on it…

5) They don’t take criticism well


Rather than listening to feedback and making some changes, chronic complainers tend to get defensive (sometimes aggressive) when faced with the harsh truth.

Here’s the bad news.

It actually stops them from learning and can create a negative spiral which is hard to snap out of. They moan, get criticized, causing them to moan even more.

This leads nicely to our next point.

6) They focus on problems rather than solutions

Not only do chronic complainers obsess over problems, but they also completely overlook any kind of solution to the issue.

I would actually go one step further and say…

They’re unwilling to find solutions.

After all, it’s not their fault they’re stuck in traffic and now late for their important appointment. Hint: Maybe they should have left earlier to account for delays.

And there’s more.

Chronic complainers repeatedly grumble about the same problems without making any changes.

It’s Einstein’s definition of insanity:

“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

7) They’re draining to be around

All these negative traits can be toxic, especially if you’re in a romantic relationship with a chronic complainer.

Don’t get me wrong, you love them and want to be there for them. But there’s only so much you can take!

You have to think about your own mental health too.

And it’s not so obvious.

You won’t notice straight away. But listening to a chronic complainer every single day will slowly but surely take its toll.

Perhaps over months (or even years).

And it’s not just YOU that feels this way…

8) People start avoiding them

If you notice friends, work colleagues, or even family members avoiding them, it’s probably because of their killjoy vibes.

But here’s the thing.

People generally don’t like conflict (especially friends and family), so they’ll make vague excuses rather than be direct.

“We’re really sorry, but we already have plans tonight.” or “We can’t tonight, but let’s catch up soon!”.

If it happens often, it could seriously harm their social life.

9) It’s my way or the highway

And finally, I’ve got one word for you (that best sums up a chronic griper).


No matter how many people criticize their buzzkill behavior, or no matter how much evidence is presented, they just won’t budge on their views.

And this is where it gets tricky.

Because if you’re close to them, it can start to put a serious strain on your relationship.

After all, compromise is paramount if you want things to last.

If you recognize some of these signs in your own partner, it’s time to address the situation ASAP.

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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