We all have needs, practical and emotional. Although many of us strive to be independent, we’re also interdependent on the people closest to us, especially our partners—and that’s how it should be. Healthy couples find ways to balance one partner’s needs with the other’s, so that both people’s need for support, connection, autonomy, love, etc., get met most of the time.
But there’s one form of need that’s almost always poisonous in a relationship: the need to be right.
Yes, it feels good to be right. We all like feeling informed and competent; we all like having things go our way. But liking being right isn’t the same as insisting on it.
When you push for things to be done a certain way, or demand that your partner admits fault or agrees with you, that’s a recipe for disaster. Because when it’s all about you being right, your partner feels like he or she never gets to be right. She feels she doesn’t have an equal say in how things get done. He feels that his perspective doesn’t matter.
The result: Resentment builds. Your partner will either give up and shut down (which frays your emotional connection) or get frustrated and determined to be heard (leading to more conflict). Over time, you may grow apart or become so angry with each other that one of you decides to end the relationship.
So, tempting as it is to be right, it’s more important to be loved. There’s more than one way to load the dishwasher, pay the bills, play with the kids, or view the world. Your partner’s way is just fine, even if it’s not your way. Do your best to let go of being right. Instead, figure things out together…or just love your partner for the unique, different-from-you individual he or she is.