Most of us walk around making judgments all the time. Some of them are necessary while others we use to make ourselves feel better, reducing others just to feel superior. This kind of negative judgment usually happens when we don’t have good self-esteem or a positive self-image and we will do anything just to feel good about ourselves. When we love and respect ourselves, we don’t feel the need to judge others. Often, a lack of self-esteem and self-love can be seen in how judgmental we are about others, especially our loved ones and our partners. Feeling judged by our partner is damaging because not only do we value their opinion of us, we also tend to be emotionally “naked” with them, believing that however they view us must be true. However, most of the time, judgmental behavior tends to have a lot more to do with the person who does the judging than the person being judged.

It is no surprise that judgment is one of the main causes of divorce and a major relationship destroyer. It can create such a wide distance between partners that their relationship problems might become  unresolvable. Judgments can deeply damage a relationship and it is extremely common, as it is rare to find someone who loves unconditionally.

Judgments can be both positive and negative. Most of us believe that when we judge someone, we are just criticizing them by suggesting something negative about them. However, judgment can also be the approval that we frequently use with other people around us. Someone may say that positive judgment hurts less than negative judgment, but the truth is that any type of judgment hurts. Mother Theresa once said that when we judge others, we have less time to love them. Judging all the time requests constant effort and focus that, in the end, absorb our energy and makes us feel uncertain of who we are and whether we are worthy of being loved, or are capable of loving others. Our judgments make us waste time thinking about what we say or do while our partners may become self-conscious and strive continuously for our approval, making themselves feel inadequate.

Judgment in relationships.

Without question, judgment can be the most damaging aspect of relationships. Most of the time, one partner makes the judgments, and the other receives them. Any type of judgment, whether positive or negative, may be expressed or silent. In any case, when it goes uncontrolled, it will do damage and the relationship will suffer. Intimate relationships where people are living together take the biggest hit from the ongoing judgment, and many of them don’t even consciously know that they are judging each other.

When people hold onto judgments for years, they cannot identify them and don’t distinguish them because they have become a part of them. For example, some people were raised in families where they were ridiculed and judged harshly. As they grew up, they never came to understand that what was done to them was wrong. This is the way they learned, and this is what they are now doing to other people.

To better understand how judgment works in relationships, we need to mention two important things: First, each of our judgments is an expression of a rejected part of ourselves. Second, every judgment is an unconscious vulnerability that we are unable to communicate.

How to overcome judgments.

First, put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Whether positive or negative, rethink whether judgmental thoughts should be spoken or not. If you are honest with yourself, you will see the possibility that these thoughts are your effort to change your partner. Second, be open and avoid deciding whether what your partner does is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. What your partner does is their own business. Third, acknowledge that your partner is entitled to their own opinions, beliefs, and behaviors, just as you are. By being judgmental toward your partner, you are implying that you are better than them. Build communication with your partner and let them feel safe within the relationship. Understand that they don’t need your approval; you just need to give them unconditional love.

Next, become conscious of your habit of judging and stop expressing your judgmental thoughts. Being judgmental does not help the relationship; it may help you feel superior for a short time, but in the long term, it will damage your relationship.

Keep in mind that many people are not conscious of their judgmental behavior because this is how they were taught growing up. A step to change is to notice your judgmental thoughts as they arise. It’s a good idea to write these thoughts down and see how often you have them. Understand that you cannot stop your thoughts, but you can stop expressing them. Rather than analyzing them, just notice them and move on. With practice, you will take control of your thoughts and have the chance to stop being judgmental.

Finally, understand that your partner can live just as well without hearing your judgmental voice.

It takes time and practice to learn to stop being judgmental in your relationship. Instead of trying to suppress emotions and thoughts, let them come out in a therapeutic environment. Start trying to work together with your partner and a relationship coach to transform yourself and your relationship. By replacing your judgmental behavior with unconditional love, you can begin to promote a connection and love in your relationship.

Relationship coaching and judgments.

Some days, you feel confident and capable, and other days you may feel that you have low self-esteem and you are uncapable of being loved. Relationship coaching can help! Here are some ways you and your partner will benefit from relationship coaching:

1) Learn to identify and understand the source of your defensiveness and judgmental behavior.

As mentioned earlier, low self-esteem is connected to judgmental behaviors. Most of us will act judgmentally if we feel that our self-esteem is at risk or if we feel inferior to others. To protect ourselves, we judge our partners to create a temporary feeling of superiority. Working with a relationship coach, you can start to understand the source of these insecurities and how that root cause is still affecting you today.

2) Process negative experiences and trauma in a safe environment.

Relationship coaching offers you the chance to talk about and process some of the traumatic experiences that left you hurt. You will learn that hurtful actions are just a way for you to compensate and improve your self-esteem and will learn ways to stop.

3) Learn to recognize “I am right” thinking patterns.

When you start noticing these thinking patterns, you can learn ways to control and modify your thoughts, and instead of judging your partner when you think they are doing something wrong, you will learn that others have the right to an opinion. Soon, you will be able to express your thoughts via constructive communication.

How do I approach my partner about relationship coaching?

If it feels like your relationship with your partner is not working, you may be considering relationship coaching to sort through your problems. You might be wondering, “How do I suggest relationship coaching without upsetting my judgmental partner?” Relationship coaching is a big deal for some people, which means it could be a sensitive topic for both you and your partner. If you are unsure of how to approach your partner, follow these simple tips to help you discuss relationship coaching with your partner:

Assurance. Judgmental people cannot handle rejection well and they go into defensive mode to protect themselves. Just letting your partner know out of the blue that you are considering relationship coaching can trigger a reaction. It is important for your partner to feel secure in trying relationship coaching. You need to reassure them that seeking help does not mean the relationship is ending. You can also reassure your partner by focusing on the positive outcomes of relationship coaching rather than the problematic issues of your relationship. One way to create a feeling of safety is to discuss the problematic areas of the relationship with your partner and show them that you would like to solve these problems. Furthermore, many people, like your partner, may be afraid to be judged, which could be the reason your partner may feel uncomfortable with relationship coaching. You can ease this concern by explaining to your partner that the relationship coach’s goal is to heal the relationship, not to blame anyone for the issues within it.

Be open to relationship coaching. If you feel anxious about relationship coaching, you can expect your partner to feel the same. It is important to be open with them and make it clear that relationship coaching is meant to be an attempt for both of you to be open and improve your communication and connection as a couple. Hear your partner’s concerns and show some vulnerability and your own eagerness to change. Furthermore, listen to your partner and be empathetic to their opinions.

Generally, seeking relationship coaching can be difficult for anyone in any situation, especially for those who struggle with being judgmental. When it involves your partner, you need to consider their thoughts and opinions, but do not let fear keep you from talking to your partner about relationship coaching. Don’t give up; a relationship without judgment is one that is healthy and loving.