Unhealthy Relationship Behavior: When You Have to Rationalize It to Yourself and Others

Updated on January 2, 2017
Relationshipc profile image

I'm a full-time blogger and ghostwriter. I enjoy writing about how to be happier in life and in love.

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Rationalizing a Partners Behaviour in an Unhealthy Relationship

Rationalizing his or her behavior is sometimes how we make it all better in our heads – even when we know deep down there is no excuse for their unacceptable behavior we still can find an excuse sometimes.

Everything and every act needs a reason right? And so sometimes instead of seeing the truth for what it is we try to make it easier on us by coming up with a more acceptable reason, one that we can live with and move forward with; one that eases our confusion and our pain and allows us to move forward with our relationship and life.

And sometimes we need to find a reason to make our family members or friends feel better about the situation. The problem with repeatedly rationalizing something is that once we give an excuse so many times, it can become an actual reason in our heads as well – even if we are in the situation and know better.

But they are just that – our reasons and our rationalizations that help us cope with our partner and get through the hard times and confusion of it all – and they are not always the truth.

If you find that you continuously have to rationalize your partner’s behavior then you are probably in an unhealthy relationship.

If the same excuse pops up over and over again, then it points directly to a problem area. It means that the behavior you are excusing is a part of who they are and how they act, and you will literally have to excuse it forever if you don't face it head on and deal with it.

Whether they are behaving badly now or in the past, we can come up with some pretty good excuses for keeping them around or allowing them to continue:

  • Yes he abused his ex-girlfriends, but I’m different to him and I understand him better than those girls.
  • Yes she talks badly about all of her exes and is ALWAYS suspicious of me, but I know they were ALL a bunch of morons who treated her badly so she has every right to be like that to me.
  • He’s under so much stress right now, so I understand why he did that.
  • She has never been treated right and that is why she is so abusive towards me.
  • He was abused by his father so that’s why he see’s abuse as okay.

The list goes on and on, but the truth is if you find that you have to excuse his or her behavior on a regular basis then something is wrong. Period.

Excuses Only Allow The Behavior To Continue

Once you realize that you are constantly excusing your partner’s behavior, and that it is a sign that something is wrong, then you have to take action and stop making excuses for their behavior.

If you don’t take action, then you are literally telling them that it’s okay to continue acting the way they are acting because there are no consequences for their behavior. They act badly and you excuse it. They act badly again and you excuse it. The circle never ends until you put your foot down and break the circle and end it once and for all.

Don't Wait For The Bad Behavior To Stop

You may have faith that they will stop their bad behavior on their own, but that rarely happens. If they are getting away with behaving badly then they have no reason to change. They have nothing that forces them to start acting differently, so they don't.

For example, if your partner has an addiction, and you excuse it with one reason or another, then you are literally allowing them to continue with this addiction with no consequences. But if you put your foot down and confront them about their addiction and disallow it to continue around you, then they will have to deal with their addiction if they want to stay in a relationship with you. They will also have to confront their behavior head on which they don't have to do that often. This can only make them stronger in the long run.

But, you have to be able to put your foot down, confront them, and give them actual consequences for their actions instead of excusing their behavior.

If you try to give them consequences and then don’t follow through with those consequences, then that is the same as making excuses. It will not end.

So stop making excuses and start getting the relationship and the results you want.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


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      • Relationshipc profile imageAUTHOR


        6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

        I know that song - believe me! Yes, we teach others how to treat us, and if we stay around someone who doesn't treat us right, then we are literally saying "That's okay,." I agree with you kj, we must love ourselves first.

      • kj force profile image


        6 years ago from Florida

        Relationshipc...well written hub, obviously from your heart..First off we must love ourselves before we can love another..NEVER ALLOW yourself to be treated with disrespect, by anyone ! Too many of us get involved in unhealthy relationships and it turn WE are the ones that suffer..Run don't walk away..and never regret it..smart girl, you found the key to moving forward..these boots are made for walking ..song by Nancy Sinatra back in the 60's..check it out !

      • Relationshipc profile imageAUTHOR


        7 years ago from Alberta, Canada

        That's pretty much what I said in this post :)

        But you don't have to accept someone who treats you bad, who treats others bad, who doesn't give you what you deserve - you don't have to put up with it...that's what this post is about.

        If you let them continue the behavior that hurts you and use the excuse "that's just who they are" then you are never going to get the relationship that you want or deserve and they get to continue making you unhappy.

        So essentially "I might have to love them anyway" is a justification that they are 'just like that' and therefore an excuse.

        And like you said, there are no excuses good enough for not telling them the truth about how you feel about their behavior.

      • HattieMattieMae profile image


        7 years ago from Europe

        Well from my perspective I don't think we should have to rationalize anything for our partner. It is up to the partner take care of his or her own actions and behaviors, I really don't have any responsibility in what another person does. I may not like it, might have to love them away, but making up excuses just doesn't really fit the bill. It's more important to be honest with yourself and your partner than make up excuses. There are no excuses good enough to stop being truthful or honest about it all.


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