Do You Need To Be Right? Why fixating on right and wrong could hurt your relationship

Same gender couple fighting

September 9, 2021

By: Brynne Kessler, MFT

John Gottman’s research reflects: couples who stay together the longest are those who allow each other to be influenced by another. In other words, it is important to remain open to your partner’s perspective.

As a couple’s therapist, I often witness couples get stuck in the communication challenge of needing to be right. They become attached to this belief that “if my partner listened to me, they would see that I am right.”

Same gender couple fighting

Consequently, this attachment to being right only creates more indignation between partners, and their ability to truly listen, connect and understand is lost. In the moment, this need to be right is a gratifying sensation, but long term it will continue to break down communication, create unmet needs and resentment will build.

Even though “letting go,” of this idea of being right can be a difficult process, I would argue that it is the most beneficial to creating longevity in your relationship. This helps to

move away from binary thinking and diminishes this reality that there has to be a “right” perspective when in conflict.

If you feel you find yourself stuck in this type of communication challenge, I suggest the following steps to create a new way of relating to end this desire to be right.

1.Understanding that all couples in healthy relationships will have conflict 

All couples must come to accept that even healthy relationships will inevitably endure some conflict. This is due to the fact that our partners are individuals with unique perspectives, views and experiences. People are quick to think any conflict is a breakdown in a relationship. However, embracing conflict without the lens of being right can be a way to get to know your partner and grow with them.

2.Staying aware in the moment and breathe 

It is necessary to really stay present with how you are responding. If you feel yourself getting triggered when conflict arises, assess what is contributing to these defenses. Slow down breathing and refer to these reflective questions to reduce reactivity.

  1. Am I really open to my partner’s perspective?
  2. Do I just want to be right in this situation?
  3. Could I choose to be happy instead of 100 percent correct?”

3. Remaining curious to partner’s perspective

Even though you let go of this “need to be right,” it is not a sign of weakness. This does not represent that you are inferior to your partner. When you let go of this desire, it demonstrates your ability to remain open to your partner’s perspective when it does not correspond to your own. This shift in focus can guide you to find common ground that will strengthen your relationship.


4. Aim to understand to find common ground

In order to find commonality, listen with curiosity to their perspective and ask questions to strengthen your understanding. When you connect to their perspective, verbally acknowledge this by simply stating “I see your point,” to really convey that it matters to you.

The more we are able to let go of our need to be right and soothe your own triggers it will help to strengthen your ability to connect to a partner. It will end the vicious battle of needing to be right and gives you the opportunity to a longer lasting relationship.


Be Well Therapy Group is an inclusive service provider. We value all relationships and want to help you with yours today! Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you find relief today!

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