Misunderstanding in relationship

10 Common Causes of Misunderstanding in Relationships

In This Article

The process of navigating a relationship requires patience, love, and understanding. There are moments when issues will arise, which takes these three factors to solve and get both parties on track. One of the factors that can keep a relationship in disarray is a misunderstanding.

Usually, misunderstanding is portrayed by having little or no clarity about something. 

Misunderstanding is the result of an assumption with no proof. And it would continue to cause 

conflict in a relationship until things become more transparent. In this piece, we will be looking at how to deal with misunderstandings in relationships and identify the common causes.

What causes misunderstanding

Misunderstanding in a relationship occurs when one or both parties refuses to understand correctly. Therefore, misconception and misapprehension occur when there is no moral clarity because a false impression is created. Different things can cause misunderstanding, but the root cause is usually not getting a clear picture of the situation.

To know why others misunderstand you, it is important to know the origin. Ken Voges’ book titled Understanding How Others Misunderstand you comes with a unique plan for strengthening relationships. 

What can you do when a misunderstanding happens in a relationship?

When misunderstanding happens, one of the first things to do is to try and understand the situation. You might need to take some steps backward to understand better what is going on. It will be easy to take the right steps when you understand the situation.

Many spouses experience unresolvable conflicts because they are not patient enough to figure out the root cause of the misunderstanding.

If the misunderstanding gets out of hand, you can seek help from a professional or trusted and experienced friends.

Related Reading: How to Improve Understanding in a Relationship

Is it a normal thing for misunderstandings to occur in a relationship

It is pretty standard for misunderstandings to happen in a relationship because you and your partner might have different viewpoints on some things. However, what matters is how you settle the misunderstanding.

If the right approach is used, misunderstandings can be a way to learn more about your partner and love them as you should. Also, knowing why misunderstandings are happening can help you develop deliberate methods to value your relationship more.

10 reasons why misunderstanding happens in relationships

Misunderstanding in a relationship means having a false impression about any issue related to your partner. Until you get cleared on the issue from your partner, you will continue to have unfounded decisions and thoughts.

Here are some common causes of misunderstanding among couples

1. Poor listening skills

One of the reasons why misunderstanding in a relationship occurs is because both parties might not exhibit good listening skills when their partner is conversing with them. Usually, when two people are discussing, one of the individuals might not go beyond the hearing phase.  

Therefore, they might forget some key points in the discussion. If this happens regularly, there would be a misunderstanding in the relationship.

2. Disrespecting your partner’s feelings

Some spouses are used to invalidating their partner’s feelings which should not be. In a relationship, you need to respect your partner’s emotions and feelings and try your best to provide a solution.

If you can take a moment to figure out why your partner is behaving in a certain way, you will have a clear head on how to approach the situation. 

Also, when your partner complains about something to you, don’t wave it off like it’s nothing. Ensure you understand what they are talking about, and see eye-to-eye with them.

3. Seeing your partner as a competitor

In some relationships, spouses view each other as competitors instead of partners. This is one of the reasons why common misunderstandings in relationships occur. You need to always remember that you and your partner should move the relationship to greater heights.  

This can be achieved when your minds are in sync. If you are always competing with your partner instead of complementing them, you might experience misunderstandings in the relationship.

Related Reading: 20 Signs You Are in a Competitive Relationship

4. Comparing your partner to another person

Another mistake that causes misunderstanding in a relationship is when partners compare each other to a third party. It is a sign of disrespect that can cause conflict in a union. Frequently, it is perceived as compelling someone to drop their identity for another person. 

Rather than comparing your partner to another person, try to appreciate them for their uniqueness. Eventually, you will discover that their unique attributes make them outstanding and probably better than those you compare them to.

5. Compatibility problems

If you and your partner do not align on several fronts, misunderstandings in a relationship can happen quite regularly. Compatibility is one reason partners find it hard to see each other’s standpoint because they are fixated on theirs. 

To be compatible with your partner, your value system, mindset, and other factors must be similar to theirs.

6. Assumptions

Many partners fall into the assumption zone unknowingly, which is why a relationship occurs. You need to know that until your partner confirms something to you, you might not know how they are feeling or what is going on.

However, some spouses are not patient enough to discover what is happening with their partner. Instead, they assume based on their instincts which gets the other party fired up. 

Assumptions can wreck a relationship if it is a habit, and it should be avoided by all means. To avoid assuming, you can make excuses for your partner till you find out the true story.

7. Choice of friends and acquaintances

Sometimes, misunderstanding in a relationship happens when there is a disagreement on the choice of friends and acquaintances to keep. Not all spouses are comfortable with the type of friendship that their other half keep, and it can cause conflict between the two of them.

One of the reasons could be insecurity because they can lose their partner to another person. Another reason might be the fear of their partner being influenced by friends and acquaintances whose characters cannot be vouched for.

Related Reading: 8 Signs Indicating Insecurity in Relationships

8. Finances

Another reason a partner might feel misunderstood in a relationship might be financed. If one partner is earning higher than the other, their actions might be misinterpreted lots of times because of their financial status. 

Also, when it comes to footing the bills amongst other expenses, it could be a cause of conflict because finances is a sensitive issue.

Related Reading: How to Handle Finances Together and Improve Relationship

9. Always claiming to be right

When it comes to the causes of misunderstanding in communication, one of the things to look out for is when partners claim to be correct. Before you take your stance on anything, you need to consider where your partner is coming from.

Even when you claim to be correct, putting your partner down can get them angered and result in conflict. Partners who know they are suitable to communicate their reasons to the second party diplomatically without making them feel bad.

10. No quality time with your partner

Not spending quality time with your partner or giving them good attention can be another reason why misunderstanding in a relationship happens. You need to know that your partner is one of the most critical aspects of your life that should be given high priority.

They can react unpleasantly when they feel taken for granted because of a lack of quality time. It is important to be skilled at balancing all facets of your life, including your relationship, so that none of them suffer.

The study conducted by Renee Edwards and other brilliant authors is exciting. It compares the misunderstanding between romantic partners and normal friends. This research study will see why misunderstanding between lovers is rated more serious than friendship. 

Here’s how you can make your relationship a happy place:

What is the effect of misunderstanding on relationships?

One of the major effects of misunderstanding in a relationship is it causes bad blood between the partners if it is not resolved. They might end up holding opinions about each other which may not be entirely correct. 

Misunderstanding in communication and relationship can also make the union sour and uninteresting, and more conflicts will arise in due time because there are unresolved ones.

How to solve misunderstandings in a relationship

Misunderstandings are inevitable in a relationship, but they can be solved by incorporating the right solutions. Here are some ways on how to solve misunderstanding between lovers.

1. Listen to your partner genuinely

It would help if you showed particular interest in anything your partner has to say so that you don’t miss the central theme of their message. This will help you communicate effectively with them and help out in any capacity. 

You can avoid conflicts in your relationship if you are a great listener, and it would help you resolve misunderstandings between you and your partner.

2. Don’t try to be on the right side every time

If you always try to prove a point every time, you can get quickly drained. To find a solution to miscommunication in relationships, don’t always try to establish who is wrong or right. If you have offended your partner or committed a mistake, don’t shy away from apologizing or giving excuses.

3. See your partner as an equal team player

Refrain from seeing your partner as a rival instead of an equal spouse. You don’t need to compete over who brings home the most money, the kid’s favorite, and a host of other issues.  

You and your partner need to adopt the team player mentality to resolve issues in your relationship quickly.

4. Be conscious about improving your relationship

Remember that your relationship can get better if you deliberate about your actions. The relationship does not have to start declining before you seek a solution to revive it. 

Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your relationship. You can take cues from successful relationships and implement them in your union.

5. Work on your shortcomings

If your partner regularly complains about unpleasant behaviors, you need to work on them. You can also ask your partner for ways on how to get better. When you acknowledge your shortcomings and promise to work on them, you indirectly motivate your partner to follow suit.

6. Have fun with your partner more often

Another way on how to avoid misunderstandings is to ensure you have fun with them often. Misunderstandings will often happen if you are too focused on other aspects of your life without paying good attention to your partner.  

Therefore, make it a conscious habit to have beautiful moments with your partner.

7. Stop assuming

Many partners mistake assuming different things when their partner has not confirmed them. This is why conflicts occur because they act on what they’re not sure of. If you are not certain about anything, you need to confirm with your partner before holding on to unproven beliefs.

8. Learn to apologize

When you offend your partner, you don’t have to keep claiming that you’re right. If your partner feels offended, it is best to apologize and assure them that you won’t repeat it. You should also let your partner know that you have their best interests at heart.

Related Reading: The 5 Languages of Apology & Ways to Figure Out Yours

9. See a relationship counselor

The role of a relationship counselor is often underrated because some people are not comfortable with the idea of opening up to someone.  

Hence, when you discover that misunderstanding in a relationship is frequently happening, you need to see a relationship counselor. The counselor helps you understand the root cause of the misunderstanding to resolve it.

The great part is that the conflicts and misunderstandings can always be resolved couples are willing to put in conscious efforts. In this book by Aaron T. Beck titled Love is Never Enough, couples can learn how to handle misunderstandings and solve relationship problems. 


With the information and advice in this piece, you know what causes misunderstanding in a relationship and its solution. The next time misunderstanding happens in your relationship, you need to see beyond the present. Ensure you gain clarity on the particular issue, and put deliberate efforts into making the relationship better and worth fighting for. 

5 Misunderstandings in Relationships to Avoid

Misunderstandings are the root of conflict in many relationships.

It can range from minor misunderstandings (“I thought you said left!”) to toxic misunderstandings (“Were you flirting with her?”).

They cause stress, frustration, turmoil, and probably the worst perpetrator, not feeling heard or understood.

Over time, if a person continues to feel unheard by their partner, distance takes over.

While every relationship encounters a misunderstanding from time to time, they plague some relationships.

Misunderstandings, simply defined, are when two people’s perceptions collide.

Your partner thinks of the situation in one way, and you see it in another.

As a couples therapist, my job is to help couples communicate and to teach effective strategies on how to navigate through these miscommunications.

Here are the five most common reasons couples, or those in relationships, misunderstand each other.

Misunderstanding Pitfall #1: Mind-Reading.

Mind-reading” is a cognitive-behavioral therapy tool that speaks to the idea that we sometimes mind-read other people, and we also expect others to mind-read us.

Misunderstandings root from the very idea that we expect others to simply “just know” what we are thinking or feeling without ever speaking to them about it.

Take, for example, you’re at work, and your co-worker is being distant.

This is not typical of her, so you think to yourself, “maybe it’s because of that meeting we had yesterday.

I was a little aggressive.”

In response, you get a little peeved that your co-worker is being so sensitive.

You create distance.

You don’t mention the issue, but suddenly, both of you are distant from each other.

Now imagine, just for a second, that you don’t really know why they’re upset.

You have a hypothesis.

Simply that.

You might be right, you might be wrong, or you might be somewhere in the middle.

Maybe she had a bad day.

Maybe her cat died.

She might have gotten terrible sleep.

Perhaps you were aggressive in the meeting.

The point is this: often, we mind-read situations and then base major relationship decisions on them.

To make matters worse, we could be completely wrong!

To end mind-reading, we simply ask our co-worker, our spouse, or partner: “I want to check in with you about something…” and through not assuming and being open to the myriad of responses we might receive, we’ve opened up a major channel of communication—and avoided a misunderstanding.

Misunderstanding Pitfall #2: War of Perceptions and Memory.

Another pitfall that many relationships fall into is the battle of perceptions.

Some people believe that their perception is the absolute truth.

There is a core belief that the perception is a fact and NOT arguable.

While this may feel right at the moment, it can cause a misunderstanding.

To complicate matters, people will often go into their memory banks and say, “but this happened, and then this.

The other will say, “no, this happened.

And off to the races.

You must know this.

Memory is faulty; it is not as reliable as we’d like to think.

Research shows it repeatedly, yet so many of us are defensive about it and don’t allow for any wiggle room.

Also, rigidity in your perception can cause misunderstandings to worsen.

Perceptions are subjective, not objective.

The core relationship skill is to open yourself to this complexity, which ultimately allows you to hear your partner’s experience without battling it out over details that may or may not be true.

Misunderstanding Pitfall #3: Being Right.

Another common misunderstanding pitfall that will ruin any relationship is an obsession with being “right.”

If you are in a conflict, and your goal is to prove the other wrong, you are setting yourself up for an even bigger fight.

The reason that letting go of “being right” is so important is that people want to be heard.

People want to be understood.

It rarely has to do with whether you’re right.

The more important skill to harness is uncovering the missing information that your partner holds and not getting trapped in the “you’re wrong and I’m right” vortex.

When misunderstandings occur, we want to ask our partner, “What happened?

Why was it important to you?

What can I do differently?

What upset you the most?

Let go of being right; it is a battleground that results in very little, and if done enough times, can cost you your relationship.

Misunderstanding Pitfall #4: Preoccupation with Self.

So many relationships fall into the victim trap.

People will say things like, “How could they..OR, “if they would just listen to me!

While the victim’s stance makes you feel justified, it is often a roadblock to resolving a misunderstanding.

When individuals become preoccupied with themselves, they miss the opportunity to understand the other partner’s perspective.

How will you know when you’re in this place?

The best tool is to check in with yourself during the conflict.

Ask: “how interested am I in learning about what happened to my partner?

If you find you are only concerned with having your story heard, then you are in a state of being preoccupied with yourself.

Stop, take a deep breath, and as compassionately as you can, listen.

When your partner is done speaking, then talk to them about your experience.

Misunderstanding Pitfall #5: Assumptions.

There are so many misunderstandings that are based on assumptions.

Terry Real, a famous couples’ therapist, taught me this skill to teach my clients.

When you’re in a place of making an assumption about what your partner is thinking or feeling, say this phrase: “What I make up is….” OR “What I’m making up is…

This simple statement allows you to get out of “assumption land,” and into your perceptions about the event.

You don’t know how someone is feeling.

You don’t know what someone is thinking.

And you also don’t know if you have all the facts.

Why this tool is so helpful to couples is that it tells your partner how you internalize your relationship.

It allows your partner to correct your narrative.

Perceptions are what we want to work with when we’re in a place of misunderstandings, not, assumptions.

Because that’s really all a misunderstanding is: a perception difference.

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Where does misunderstanding in a relationship come from: reasons .ru


The most popular reason for parting, as we know from celebrity news, is "irreconcilable differences." Offhand, what is illogical here? Of course, mismatches are to blame for everything: she is a careless art nature, he is a real control freak; he brings his mother out weekly, and she deliberately pushes relatives out of her life; she loves walking in the hills, he hates nature; he's outgoing, and she hates parties. Not surprisingly, although they were flammably in love, they ended up having to break up. nine0003

This explanation is based on a non-obvious, but very common theory: the reason for the appearance of a couple lies in the similarity of characters, and if people get divorced, then they are clearly prevented by the difference. The international credulity of this theory is confirmed by the algorithms of dating sites: by throwing you a photo for a swipe left or right, the application determines the most suitable candidates based on information from your account. The selection engine analyzes the database to match you with the "right" person who shares most of your tastes, interests, and views. According to the optimization course, the smaller the difference, the more likely the relationship will develop. nine0003

In fact, such a weighty aspect as the coincidence of interests does not guarantee a happy life together. Initially relying only on compatibility, you will inevitably step on the tail of your perfect “match”, discovering one day that, although you are phenomenally similar in love for ballet and salted butter, you are killed by his passion for Monetochka songs and throwing dirty socks. You suddenly realize that it is difficult to understand, forgive, and even more so to live with it. It doesn't matter what the last straw is, but as your matches/mismatches inevitably escalate, you'll find that disagreements annoy you much more. And at this stage, there is nothing more important than the desire to deal with the discrepancy that has arisen - without casualties and destruction. nine0003

“People in love can disagree with each other for a thousand different reasons—from the optimal frequency of sex to the pattern of the bathroom curtains—and still stay together, while the other couple agrees on just about everything but is unwilling to compromise on minimal mismatches,” writes New York-based sexologist Sarah Shapiro. In an article for The Cut, the doctor confirms a fundamental truth that we usually ignore to our own detriment: it's not about differences. Couples break up because one of the partners is tired of not being heard. nine0003

What matters for happiness in your personal life is not whether you have differences, but how you deal with them. As Teal Swan, a mentor, lecturer, and savvy, explains the many facets of being human on tealswan.com and on her own YouTube channel, “Stop trying to love and start trying to understand.”

"I'm getting used to the mismatch," the heroine of the Soviet series sang, and, as is known from the plot, there is not an ounce of use in this hint. “The notorious inconsistencies should not be tolerated, they should be discussed,” Sarah Shapiro explains. - A sincerely loving partner may not share your point of view, but seeks to understand why you think so and not otherwise, because he respects your right to a different opinion and is ready to listen to it - with patience and benevolence. He will not avoid uncomfortable topics, get offended or annoyed, stating that you deliberately piss him off, and you are always unhappy, and he already had a hard day. nine0003

In general, it's time to publicly announce the rehabilitation of incompatibility. A loving person that everyone desperately needs is not an aesthetically literate idol on a white horse who shares all your tastes and interests, but an open and kind person who is ready to listen and understand without aggression, sarcasm, denial and going on the defensive. This principle works both ways and is not guaranteed to be easy to adopt. You may have to change something in your habits for the sake of each other, but this is the essence of the relationship, isn't it? nine0003

Smirnova Natasha


  • relationships
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  • Psychology

Six tricks to get rid of misunderstandings in relationships | Psychology | HEALTH

At the same time, there are several psychological tricks that men and women can use to minimize the risk of being misunderstood. The fact is that there are words or even phrases that “fall on the ear” incorrectly, and the interlocutor often unconsciously alters the meaning of what he heard. nine0003

Director of the Vladimir dating agency "Me and You", family psychologist, consultant on interpersonal relations Elena Kuznetsova named several rules that partners should follow in a conversation in order to avoid mutual misunderstanding.

1. Do not use the “not” particle

Scientists have long proved that our interlocutor, although he hears this particle with his ear, nevertheless subconsciously rejects it. Therefore, your phrase: “I don’t want you to raise your voice at me” is very likely to remain in the mind of your partner not as a protest, but as an approval. To avoid this, it is worth expressing your request in a different way: "I would like you to always talk to me calmly." nine0003

2. Use “we” or “let's” more often

When voicing your desire or your plans to your partner, do not start the phrase with “I”. This sounds too selfish and too harsh for a woman who should not be the leader in a relationship, but the follower. Don't say, "I told my friend we'd be visiting her on Friday night." By submitting news in this form, you put the man before the fact, and at the same time automatically assign him a secondary role in the relationship.

It would be more correct to report a planned visit to a friend as follows: “Christina invited us to visit on Friday evening. Let's go. We haven’t seen each other for a long time, and I miss her.” Thus, formally, you shifted the final decision to your partner, but gradually you already told him what the “correct” answer should be. nine0003

Another example. Don't say, "I want to go on vacation," say, "Let's go on vacation." It is better if, before voicing a specific proposal, you competently prepare your partner for it. For example, start a conversation with the fact that there are last-minute trips to Greece. “We have been going there for a long time. Maybe let's go?" Ask for participation and create a situation where both of you are involved in the project. That is, it was not you who decided everything for yourself and for your man. No. You just saw the information and convey it to your partner. nine0003

3. Use "and" instead of "but", use the subjunctive

"And" indicates partnership, "but" indicates opposition. The particle "by", used in the subjunctive mood, gives softness to the whole phrase.

That is, the statement “I heard you, but I want you to hear me too” is perceived by the interlocutor not as constructive, but as a “collision”. She sounds aggressive. In this case, you should say something like this: "I try to hear you, and I would like you to hear me too." nine0003

4. Don't spoil compliments with remarks

The situation is ugly and offensive when you praised your partner, but immediately spoiled the compliment by remembering some kind of oversight. For example: "Thanks for fixing the kitchen faucet - didn't screw up like last time." The second part of the phrase, obviously, was superfluous. It was enough to say: “I am so grateful to you for fixing the faucet and it is no longer leaking.”

If you added something nasty to a compliment, you not only offended and humiliated your partner, but also demonstrated your own stupidity, bad manners, lack of culture, or even a sense of superiority. All this is unlikely to benefit the relationship. nine0003


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