Nitpicking In A Relationship (31 Tips To Stop Nitpicking)

Last updated on October 24, 2022 by April Maccario

All relationships start the same way, with lots of butterflies in our stomachs and blindness to our partners' faults and annoying habits. Our hearts skip beats, and we smile every time they are near. 

It is a great feeling which, sadly, never lasts for too long. After this wonderful honeymoon phase, many of us settle into a relationship routine, especially when married. Our temporary blindness is gone, and with the facelift comes an eye-opening truth; our partner isn't so perfect after all. 

In every loving relationship, lots of character and personality flaws are exposed, many of which can make you feel compelled to resort to nitpicking. 

Nitpicking is an act in which the nitpicking partner finds fault with everything the partner does, even the most irrelevant things. Their fussy fault-finding often rubs their partners the wrong way leading to lots of conflict in the otherwise loving relationship. 

Nitpicking can be unconscious and done every once in a while. Though it's not encouraged, this is utterly normal and can happen to the best of couples. It becomes abnormal when nitpicking finds a permanent and regular occurrence in your love relationship. Regular nitpicking from the closest person to you can ultimately lead to irreconcilable differences between you and your partner, destroying the bond you share.

Today's article looks at healthy ways to stop nitpicking and save your long-term relationships.

31 Tips To Stop Nitpicking

1. Think of it as a changeable habit

Our character is built over time by the habits we adopt or reject as humans. We are constantly changing our minds and beliefs, which affects our habits, and transforms our character. One way to change your habit is to recognize its negative effects on you and others and recognize that it is something you can change once you put your mind to it. 

When you realize you're the nitpicking partner in your relationship, develop a transformation mindset and work towards changing that negative habit. Make a conscious effort to get a hold of yourself and your words whenever you begin to nitpick. Instead of saying your words aloud, you can invest in a journal where you release all your nitpicky comments whenever you feel compelled to tell them to your partner. 

The best thing about a habit is that when done consistently, it sticks. Switch your bad habits, such as nitpicking, for good alternatives, such as journaling and passing uplifting comments, and see your relationship thrive

2. Determine if your comment is needed or not

After deciding to change, your next step to quit nitpicking is to analyze your thoughts before you speak them. Regular nitpicking is often interpreted as criticism, which your loved one can take the wrong way. 

Consistent complaining or correction of your partner's actions can lead them to believe that they cannot do anything right. They then develop a sense of fear around you, the fear of being judged no matter what they do. 

The way to curb this fear is by being mindful of what you utter. Before you speak out in a bid to correct or critique, analyze what you're about to say to find out whether or not it needs to be said or not. Most often, these words aren't meant to be spoken out loud. 

3. Assess your ticks and analyze why you demand changes

Instead of bringing down the closest person to your heart through nitpicking, you should, if you're the nitpicking partner, assess the behavior you want to address, why you don't like it and why you believe your partner needs to change.

Why does this specific behavior of your partner tick you off or cause you to start nitpicking? Does this bothersome behavior look like something you can overlook, or does it need to be addressed to save your relationship? 

Asking yourself some of these questions is a great start to avoiding conflict in your relationship. In finding answers to these questions, you realize that some reactions are, in reality, over-fussiness that can be overlooked. 

4. Find the source of your nitpicking

Whenever we find out negative habits we display often, we need to pause and reflect on the. In reflection and being truthful to ourselves, we could find the root cause of these actions, nip them in the bud and get ourselves back together. The same applies to our nitpicking habits. 

There's always a root cause for every action we take, even constant criticism. It could be from a childhood experience that left a lot of growing resentment or a much more recent occurrence that causes you to nitpick as a form of deflection. 

In reflecting, you easily identify the personal issues that need to be resolved to help you develop a healthy attitude towards your partner. 

Sometimes in assessing the source of your nitpicking, you might find that your criticism of the little things is because you require a way out of the relationship without blatantly coming out to ask for a breakup. 

5. Learn the humility trait

Humility is another great alternative to those days when you're tempted to find irrelevant faults When your partner does something wrong or has a fault that annoys you so much that you can't get over it, instead of losing out with harsh words or focusing on the little things you can easily overlook, be humble enough to be of service to them. 

If your husband is fond of keeping the toilet seat up, even after you've told him not to about thirty times already, humbly do this task for him. It alerts your partner about your love for them and the past comments about how their actions make you feel. 

Next time, this often encourages them to do better, keeping their socks off the kitchen counter and placing the toilet seat down after their washroom visit. 

6. Be creative with your criticisms and complaints

Sometimes, you can find creative, fun ways to relay your messages, ease the blow and make them less repetitive. Chances are these little things you are constantly blaming your partner for are things they don't see as a big deal, even if they might cause you some discomfort. 

To ensure that your partner takes no offense to your words or misconstrues them, you can be creative with how you tell them to do things. You could, for example, relay your criticism through notes filled with smiley faces and funny jokes. 

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Buttering them up in this way prevents them from seeing anything wrong with your feedback. Chances are, these notes stick in their subconscious and lead them to make changes that benefit both of you in the long run.

7. Shift your focus

shift your focus

Nitpicking is an act that mainly focuses on the bad in other people. If you're constantly nitpicking someone you love, you'll need a major focus shift if you want to quit and save your marriage. 

The best thing to do is whenever you're faced with incidents that push you to nitpick, consciously reflect on all the good things you love and appreciate about your partner. 

A shift in focus is a great way to always look for the good in your partner and prevent that marriage from breaking over tiny, irrelevant worries. 

8. Accept that no one is perfect

The traits or behavior currently annoying you are the same things you found mysterious and endearing about your partner. When these behaviors annoy or irritate you, it is good to remember that everyone has flaws; no one is perfect. 

Seeing imperfection as a constant in everyone's life allows you to extend the required grace to your partner for their shortcomings. It also reminds you that you might also have actions that can merit nitpicking. If your partner made comments about these things, how would you feel?

9. Don't think of your partner as flawed

In marriage, we reach a point where we become too familiar. When a conscious effort isn't made to rectify this situation, boredom might cause several issues. 

One of the most common issues is seeing things you dislike in your partner's flaws. Seeing the things you dislike in your partner as their flaws cause you to make hurtful remarks. Instead of seeing them as flaws, consider them a part of human behavior because, in reality, theta what they are. 

10. Save your energy

There's always something to talk about or discuss with your partner, from major financial decisions to taking a job in a new city or choosing rose-colored glasses over green for your wedding reception. These are roadblocks in marriage and life that are highly important and need to be addressed. 

Using up your energy nitpicking about the toilet seat position is draining, and it wastes time that could've been used for your other life-changing decisions. At worst, it can negatively affect the decisions you need to make in your marriage. 

11. Place trust above nitpicking

If you want to stop nitpicking, you need to think about how much trust is lost from regular nitpicking. When we constantly put our partners down over the tiniest details of their lives and actions, we prevent them from being their authentic selves around us. 

Many partners shut down and avoid conversations of all kinds altogether. They avoid sharing important things with them to fear being judged or having their flaws hammered on. When this level of trust is broken, it is tough to repair, causing your marriage more harm than good. 

12. Keep the small stuff small

When we choose to be with someone forever through marriage, we don't do it because they're good at keeping socks off the counter or wiping the toilet seat after use. We do it for many other reasons, often more important than the traits we find quirky or disturbing. 

Instead of focusing on the small stuff and enlarging them, think about the other factors that brought you together, like love, loyalty, connection, life goals, and humor. These run deeper than any quirks you might find annoying. 

13. Support your partner

Supporting your partner supports your marriage, which improves your family life drastically. If your partner is a nitpicker, he did not receive a lot of support growing up during his formative adult years. Offering him the much-needed support helps prevent him from letting out his anger on you as a partner.

14. Don't respond to criticism with criticism

don't respond to criticism with criticism

This is the worst tactic you could ever follow in a bid to stop your partner from nitpicking, criticizing them in return when they point out your faults. It is easy to retort with a 'you also do this' statement, but this only increases tension in the family, causing arguments where everyone is fighting to be right and win. Train yourself to respond to their words with silence and a lot of calm. This allows you to control the situation and steer the conversation away from conflicts. 

15. If it's changeable, do it

If this one quirk is always coming up in family discussions as something your partner doesn't appreciate, you must reflect on whether or not it's a trait that can be changed. You don't have to change for someone to love you, but you can change for your development if you realize that certain traits hold you back from your full potential. 

Receiving feedback from a nitpicking person can be painful, but some of it can be true when reflected upon. Please focus on the parts you can change and work on them for the continuity of your marriage and the family bond. 

16. Try therapy

Sometimes, you try everything, but nothing seems to bring change. You might need external help before your family tears apart in these instances. Help can come in the form of a relationship therapist or counselor. These professionals listen to both sides and help partners reach a consensus. They enable you to find the source of your actions and reactions, which helps you find the best solutions to the negative actions. 

17. Be patient and understanding with your partner

In every relationship, partners experience moments where they make complaints or offer criticisms about certain behaviors, and patterns. Having such discussions is a healthy way to keep your relationship growing from strength to strength. Both parties need to learn patience and kindness to prevent these irregular occurrences from becoming regular. 

When you mention something that bothers you to your partner, be kind and patient enough to offer them time to change. It takes a long time to develop habits and even longer breaks them. With patience, you realize that change isn't instant, and you're willing to help your partner find their footing in new actions. 

Also, avoid any negativity and belittlement when having such conversations, as they can damage your marriage by sparking anger and arguments. Put in kind words, and you'll have a more receptive partner and a happier marriage. 

18. Be open to countercriticism

Many partners who nitpick often don't like to be criticized themselves. To avoid nitpicking, you need to realize that your partner might have a third while you have critique to offer. To ensure that you're not the only one always blaming the other person for things, have an open discussion where both of you can deal with nitpicking issues in a kind manner. 

Be open to receiving constructive criticism from your partner, especially after they've alerted you about your nitpicking and how it makes them feel. Receiving constructive criticism from your partner is an easy way to walk in their shoes or know how they feel when you constantly criticize their actions. This offers you a better perspective on the consequences of your actions, enabling you to save your marriage in record time. 

19. Be objective with your criticisms

You need to be objective, and you also need to be nice about it. Criticism is often a hard pill to swallow, though it helps us develop ourselves into better individuals. It would help if you made a mental note to be nice and objective when criticizing your partner. 

Saving your relationship could come down to the words you choose whenever you start nitpicking. Your choice of words might come off as hurtful and insensitive, destroying your relationships in seconds. 

Instead of avoiding confrontation or healthy conversations where you make your needs heard, you need to develop a kind vocabulary that still relays your message. Time spent choosing your words goes a long way to salvage your relationship.

20. Learn to let certain things go

When your partner does something that annoys you, and you can't help but complain, you need to ask yourself if the behavior you're stressed about bothers other people. If it does, having a healthy conversation about it can help improve your partner's other relationships. 

However, if the issue annoys no one else but you, you might need to learn the art of letting go. In such instances, choosing the love you have for your partner is better than saying something wrong about that annoying habit that will cause a strain on your love. 

If your partner is the one who criticizes you about something they find annoying, you need to realize that their behavior is mostly coming from a place of love. Your lover always wants you to be the best version of yourself to them and others, as you would. Talk to them about your feelings and listen objectively to what they say. 

21. Open communication is a must

open communication is a must

Suppose you and your partner agree that nitpicking crosses your boundaries, but you still need to find ways to teach, complain, criticize or preach to each other. In that case, you should consider setting aside time for such conversations. 

Setting aside time in your relationship to complain, criticize or question your partner allows you and your partner to prepare to hear any criticism you might have. This is better than barraging him with negative comments whenever you need to. 

In setting time aside, you need to communicate with your partner to find a day and time that suits you both, and this goes a long way to prevent conflict within your marriage. 

The words spoken during this time won't be deemed nitpicking; instead, it will be seen as a constructive conversation where two mature lovers freely communicate about behavior or habit they are not enthused about. 

22. Use more 'I' statements in your communication

You've both set time aside to communicate about potential conflict topics, and it's finally time. What you say during this period is just as important as how it is said, so we recommend adopting the 'i' statement method. 

Using 'I' statements is a great way to maintain your composure and reduce your chances of passing criticisms. When we communicate, we are quick to use several 'you' statements, and with these, nitpicking continues. 

A typical example of using the 'i' statement is 'I feel unloved when you walk out on me during a discussion. This sounds better than 'you always walk away from discussions. You don't even try to talk. With the 'i' statements, you're able to clearly express how your partner's behavior affects or bothers you, which gives them more insight into the little things that can cause conflict.

23. Express your feelings

You need to save your marriage by speaking up if you're on the receiving end of nitpicking. It is always best to let them know how you feel and what their words cause you to think about yourself. Be sure to pick a time when your partner feels good to prevent any form of argument or defensiveness. 

Open and honest communication helps solve countless issues in relationships, so the calm expression of your feelings will go a long way to save energy for big issues and other relevant battles. 

24. Describe the pain you feel

When expressing how you feel, it's not enough to tell your partner that you don't appreciate their words. It would help if you gave them a vivid description of how their words make you feel. If their words cause you to feel unworthy, let them know. If you're afraid of constant judgment from them, let them know. 

If you've lost trust in them and can't come to them to discuss bigger issues and solve relevant conflicts, describe this to them, as it makes it easier for them to understand things from your perspective. 

25. Avoid shouting or yelling

The best conversations are those done without yelling or shouting at one another. When both parties are calm, they are better positioned to resolve conflicts and accept feedback. 

Shouting how you feel to your partner on a regular basis is a wrong move, and it only takes the problem from bad to worse for your marriage. The issue never gets resolved, and everyone starts pointing fingers without accepting their fault. 

26. Ask them questions

If you want to catch your nitpicky partner off guard, ask them reasonable questions. One of the major keys to a nitpicky person is finding even the tiniest of faults. In asking them reasonable questions, you're disarming them and giving them the pushback they need to reassess their assertion or reaction to your behavior. Show respect by asking these questions in a kind and gentle way and watch the nitpicking battles fade away with time.

27. Complement your partner

Another great way is by petting. Yes, their words have driven an arrow through your heart and posed to destroy your other relationship, but they deserve petting as much as you need healing. Sometimes, your partner projects negative emotions on you to discharge any negative energy they feel. 

A simple act of pointing out the good in them is enough to elevate their mood and bring the good parts of your family into focus. Complimenting your partner is a great way to prevent conflicts that often come with nitpicking, preserving your marriage and other relationships. 

28. Ask them for feedback first

ask them for feedback first

Another great idea to nip nitpicking in the bud is by asking your partner for feedback before they can find fault with you. In a marriage or any other romantic relationship asking your partner if you have done anything wrong is a great way to receive criticism, you're ready for. Sometimes, their nitpicking isn't targeted at you; thus, they're forced to think long and hard before talking when you ask them such a question. 

29. Be observant

Every little action from your partner can mean a lot. Nitpicking regularly often stems from moments when your partner was meant to express their feelings but didn't. The pent-up emotions search for release and find it in these irrelevant battles that can damage your marriage. 

Don't ignore the feelings of a nitpicky partner. Please pay attention to what they say and how often they say it. The more they repeat it, the more things they have to say about that topic, and the higher your need to address it before conflict arises in your family. 

30. Check your timing

If you're the partner who nitpicks, you need to know that timing is everything. The time we choose to voice our opinions affects how we relay information and how it is interpreted. As much as possible, avoid offering feedback or criticisms when you're overwhelmed, tired, hungry, or angry. These moments are filled with heightened negative emotions that can affect how you relate to your partner. 

31. Learn to let go

Sometimes you can't find the source of nitpicking in yourself or your partner. And sometimes, your partner isn't ready to let go of their emotions and the hurtful words it produces. In such instances, you might need to say goodbye to the relationship for your sanity and self-preservation. 

This is the last resort and mustn't be your first way out. If nothing else seems to work, you might have different priorities and references that can't coexist. The eBay path to take will be to say goodbye. 

FAQs

How do I stop nitpicking in a relationship?

If your partner informs you about your constant nitpicking, it might be time to stop being overly critical about them and focus on yourself. Meditate or speak to an external person to help you identify why you nitpick in the first place. 

Wear your partner's shoes, considering how you will feel when your loved one passes comments that cause negative effects on you. Be neutral, look at your patterns, and help transform the way and manner you offer criticism. 

With a lot of help and the willingness to have a conflict-free relationship, stop nitpicking as a way to show respect to your partner and acknowledge their differences and boundaries. 

How do you deal with a spouse who is nitpicking?

Dealing with the effects of nitpicking in your loving relationship can prove to be an arduous task. It involves major communication with your partner, who can make a big deal about anything, even your intervention to avoid nitpicking. 

The first and the best thing you can do is communicate clearly and openly. Talk to them about how their nitpicking crosses certain boundaries you wish they'll respect. Let them know that these statements about the small stuff often set you off in the wrong way and affect your otherwise loving relationship

Encourage your nitpicking partner to be mindful of their criticism, opting for more positive things to say instead of their initial mental comments. Fighting the mental battle of word choices is a great step to quit nitpicking. 

What are examples of nitpicking?

Nitpicking doesn't only exist in a love relationship; it is present in all our relationships. A typical example of nitpicking in academics is when a teacher constantly points out tiny irrelevant details like the unnecessary comma in your perfect essay. In a loving relationship, it can be seen as pointing out your partner's physical characteristics or personality traits. 

Being overly critical of your partner and certain aspects of their lives that don't matter in the grand scheme of things can put a major strain on your relationship, which is why if you can, work hard to quit nitpicking. 

What causes nitpicking?

Nitpicking can exist for various reasons, known and unknown to the nitpicky person. However, one of the most common causes in long-term relationships is that a person often becomes nitpicky, making a big deal out of nothing, and finding fault with everything that their partners do because they're stressed.

External stress might need a place of release, and when that release isn't found, it can force its way out through the words you speak to your partner. Most often, the stress is emotional, and as such, your nitpicking might be an unconscious and poor attempt at reacting to those feelings.

What does it mean when someone is nitpicking?

Also known as being conscientious, pedantic, and over-exacting, nitpicking is often used as an informal term to describe the activity of being overly focused on minute, often irrelevant details. This type of behavior is usually adopted by people when trying to offer constructive criticism, but when done wrongly, it can affect a relationship or friendship

In Conclusion

When someone is seen to be nitpicking, they've usually made it a part of their annoying behavior to criticize you over the small stuff, and highlight every minor mistake or flaw in something you do. It’s always best to avoid such people and also avoid being the nitpicker.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Please share and leave a comment below.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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