WCML 013: Criticism in relationships

In this podcast we answer a question from “T” about handling criticism in her relationship:

I know you’re clearly very good at communication in relationships and I have a question. I’ve been with my partner for 5 and a half years. We’re in our mid-twenties and we’re both women. For years, I’ve felt she criticizes me – mostly when it comes to chores and things like that. I can handle a little, but eventually I started to constantly feel anxiety about what “I’d do wrong” next.

At the beginning of our relationship, I tried just taking it and trying to minimize it. That didn’t work. So for the last few years, I’ve just constantly tried to always use good communication when I feel she’s done something wrong and I need to tell her – to try to show her how I like to be “criticized”. Of course, there have been moments of me saying that it hurts, please stop, etc. etc. But it continues.

The reason it is so frustrating is because this is not an abusive situation. I’m over the moon happy and in love with this woman and have zero doubts about our relationship, longevity, equality, or compatibility. I just want to not feel anxious about my partner’s reactions to me – it’s not all the time and can be rather rare, but enough to make me wonder or be on edge about if “this” will be the issue that she criticizes, you know? I know I can’t change her but I do want to hopefully learn how to communicate better and to control my reactions to her reactions (so meta).

What can I do? When compared to other parts of our life, I know it’s a communication issue/difference. What can I do/say to change this?


  • Is it the usual error or not?
  • Is it a communication issue or a needs-not-being-met issue?
  • H.A.L.T.
  • the voodoo doll
  • “The key to communication is communicating.” -Kyeli
  • being on the same team

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