Relationship question

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    If one partner is constantly putting the other partner down, can the relationship be salvaged?


    Yes, but the recipient of the put downs has to go deaf, put their foot down, or retrain the other. Either break their bad habit of putting you down, or leave. Personally, I would take a break. Or at the very least make it SOOO NOT WORTH IT for every put down. Give them three times the hell of what they give you. Not Buddhist like at all. You know those people who you are afraid of engaging because they would raise that much hell? Be that person. Again, not Buddha like. But seems to work. When times are good, be Buddha like. When he treats you bad, accept it, fight it, or leave.


    The other thing is the underlying contempt the partner must already have to even voice put downs. You know what, unless you can change their mind about you, I vote leave.


    Hi Erin,

    My answer is no if you want to keep things kind and nice for the parter at fault and you want the other to not be disappointed anymore. That person’s action has been done too many times, and now it has become an habit, and I suppose words and empathy were not enough to change it. You can break such an habit in two ways. You either apply randomly a strong action every time the bad behaviour happens and you make that punishment always more painful at every occurrence but not threatened in advance, or you give that person randomly some very nice reward when he actually does something good and this reward have to be always better but not agreed in advance. As you see, it is like you are training a dog, and personally it feels like depriving that person of his human dignity; not to count that punishment or rewards come at your own expenses; the older the person, the more time it will take. In my view, the easiest thing to do is to break the relationship (let’s say after at least 3 disappointments). If the partner at fault cared for the other, he/she will feel ill and that will be his/her punishment, a few months later one may try to re-establish the relationship and see whether that person learned the lesson. If the partner at fault did not care, then it was better the relationship actually ended.

    Anyway, do not forget that one can still salvage the relationship by being a pious saint that forgives his/her partner every time.


    Have you communicated this to your partner/How do you feel about communicating this to your partner? I think we all deserve to be in relationships with people that bring us up, not down. I’ve had a similar past experience. The only actions you can control are your own, and it may be the case that this person does not realize the effect their negativity is having on you-which may be why you are conflicted about staying or leaving. Communicating this doesn’t have to be about a blame game. Communication is a vital tool in ANY type of healthy relationship, and your emotions and feelings are both valid and important.


    In my experience, people put other people down when they are feeling bad about themselves. If the partner is willing to work on themselves so that they stop this bad, insecure habit, then I feel that yes, the relationship could be fixed.

    Matt Turner

    Hi Erin,

    Yes, of course it can.

    However, it requires a few things to happen because often these behaviors are quite deep rooted.

    First, it will need to person doing the ‘putting down’ to do some personal work outside of the relationship. They need to look inward and find out whats underneath the put downs, or in other words, discover the reason, trauma, thoughts and/or triggers that cause them to behave that way.

    Second, it requires the other person receiving the put downs to explore why they continue to receive these, how it makes them feel, how they respond, why they respond this way and whats causing these responses.

    Finally, it requires the couple to come together at some point and address what they’ve discovered, recognize how they’ve been communicating and commit to a new path forward together.

    These three things are quite large and will require an investment of both unyielding commitment and time. There will be slip ups, backward steps and struggle. However, it can be done.

    The first question to ask themselves is; do we both want to REALLY do this? Its a big question, and if the answer is no, then it may be time to step away.

    Best of luck!



    If the partner is constantly putting you down, there is no “relationship”. It is a fictitious story about the two of you that is completely in your mind. It does not exist. The good you see is the halo effect. The “love” you feel is only attraction. None of it is real. How do I know? Because you used the word “salvaged”.salvage us for things like metal scrap. If you were in a real relationship with real love, you would have said “saved”. Saving is for living things like people, animals, and relationships. Or the short answer to the question…..NO.

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