6 situations where it’s okay to criticize your partner

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Just because you might love someone doesn’t mean they’re perfect.  

People need feedback to grow. 

Relationships should be about making each other better, about encouraging one another to live up to their potential. 

As long as we come from a good place and aren’t inherently mean-spirited, sometimes constructive criticism is necessary in a relationship.

So if you feel the need to criticize your partner here and there, don’t fret. You may well be in the right. 

Here are six situations where your criticism of them is valid.

Let’s dive in! 

1) There are health and safety concerns

We should all be able to let our guard down and have fun. 

But if your partner is taking it to the extreme, and their vices have become detrimental to their own health and safety, calling them out on it is the right move. 

Maybe they’ve been drinking to excess and making irresponsible decisions, smoking like chimneys, or eating junk to oblivion. 

The key is moderation. 

Too much of a good thing will invariably chip away at your mind and body. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a period of a few months where I was drinking too much.

My mindset was: the world is going to shit anyway, I might as well enjoy myself. 

In addition, my business was failing, so to cope with the anxiety, I’d self-medicate with my pals Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. 

Booze provided me with a quick and easy escape from the stresses of Covid. 

Understandably, my live-in girlfriend could only take so much. 

After one too many mornings waking up to me looking like a disheveled, morose wreck, hungover and demoralized, with minimal recollection of the evening before, she told me that my binge drinking needed to stop. 

She feared for my health

She said that my eyes were perpetually bloodshot and I was losing too much weight, too fast. 

It was dangerous, she claimed.  By her somber tone, I knew she wasn’t kidding around. 

This is all the motivation I needed to get back on track. 

From that moment on, I went cold turkey, not touching alcohol until I was sure I was mentally and emotionally prepared to handle it, a process that took nearly a year. 

2) They make bad financial decisions 

Sometimes, we get too caught up in our own habits to see things objectively.

We often need someone who cares about us to tell it like it is. 

Money is always a contentious topic in a relationship; discussing it can be so uncomfortable we might avoid it altogether. 

If, however, your partner is consistently making poor financial decisions, like recklessly spending and racking up debt on a shared credit card, this situation needs to be rectified.

As Jay-Z said: “If you can’t buy it twice, you can’t afford it.” 

If you have a shared goal of buying a house or a car, saving up for your kid’s tuition, or simply are struggling to pay your bills, then irresponsible fiscal decisions ought to be called out and sacrifices should be made.  

Don’t feel bad to give them a piece of your mind. 

Doing so isn’t just reasonable, it’s necessary.  

3) There are parenting differences 

If you and your beau have children together, being on the same page in terms of parenting styles is critical. 

This might be the first rule of Parenting 101. 

Your partner may want the best for your kid, as you do, but their means of achieving that might severely differ from yours. 

Maybe they spoil your kid too much, maybe they take them to McDonald’s too often, or maybe they’re overly strict, or too abrasive. 

Whatever it is, the reality is that they share that child with you, so if you notice that their technique needs tweaking, they should be open to it. 

And vice versa. 

4) There’s a lack of communication 

My ex and I were horrible communicators. 

We both grew up in dysfunctional households where emotional expression was sorely lacking, where avoidance was the default, go-to move during times of strife. 

Hence, whenever we’d go through issues or get into fights, there was rarely any resolution, we’d just sweep things under the rug, mutually allowing our resentment to grow and hope for the best.

Unhealthy, I know. 

One day, feeling our union was destined to fail, I bit the bullet and decided to talk, starting off with: “Look, I know we both hate communicating. But this is something we have to do if we want our relationship to survive.” 

This initial plea was met with resistance, even defensiveness, but after a few hours passed, I had gotten through to her. 

She realized I meant well, that my criticism of our relationship was a good thing, not a personal attack.  

Though we ended up later breaking up for other reasons, I’m still proud of the strides we made as a couple. 

I think we’re both better, wiser people (and better partners) as a result of that ordeal. 

5) They aren’t doing their share of chores 

Nobody wants to be in a one-sided relationship

Suppose you let your partner consistently get away with sitting on the couch scrolling through Instagram while you do all the housework.

In this case, this is just enabling and encouraging their bad behaviors. 

So by staying silent, you, in a way, are complicit in creating a lop-sided dynamic. 

It’s your duty to speak up, to let them know that this unfair status quo isn’t sustainable and that you won’t put up with it.  

A bit of constructive criticism to promote fairness and balance can go a long way. 

6) Their behavior is affecting your friendships 

If your partner’s behavior is embarrassing around other people, then setting them aside and letting them know is a good idea. 

Maybe your partner is overly mean, sarcastic, or belittling to your friends and it’s affecting your relationship with them. 

Maybe your partner is a drunken mess, and their belligerence, aggression, or sloppiness humiliates you in public. 

Maybe your partner is too distant, rude, or standoffish around your family and therefore rubs them the wrong way. 

Regardless, if your partner’s behavior is out of line, this warrants criticism.

Remember, you are partners, equals, co-pilots; you shouldn’t have to babysit them when you’re around other people. 

Either they take steps to shape up, or you start heading towards the exit sign. 

Final words 

As we’ve gone over earlier, the importance of communication in a relationship cannot be overstated. 

In all of the above situations, as long as you communicate with earnestness, genuine concern, and kindness, you’re doing the right thing. 

Avoid blame and judgment. When it comes to criticism, it’s all about delivery and nuance. 

Ultimately, the goal of criticism in a relationship should be to encourage, not to hurt or control your partner.

And if they aren’t willing to put up with your well-meaning feedback, then consider that a possible sign to move on. 

Life is short, you want to be with someone who not only appreciates and respects your perspective but is willing to grow and evolve with you too. 

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