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How To Deal With A Partner Who's NEVER Wrong

An underestimated cause of divorce: being married to a chronic know-it-all.

Marriage

You know that you're click-tight with someone when, you are able to openly and honestly express that their spouse isn't your favorite person on the planet and, still, you and your friend can make your relationship work—and last (check out "I'm Not A Fan Of My BFF's Man - This Is How I Make Our Friendship Work"). When it comes to a particular friend of mine, while her husband does have some good qualities, if there's one thing that drives me, his wife, most of her other friends and even their therapist totally up the wall is her man has a severe case of I'm-absolutely-never-ever-wrong-itis.


I mean, it's so bad sometimes, you can't have a normal conversation without him feeling the need to Google articles and data to prove the most moot and irrelevant of points. And because he's so adamant on being right all of the time, it has actually caused my friend to consider separating, more than once. That's just how uncomfortable—and sometimes even excruciating—being in a relationship with a bona fide know-it-all can be.

Y'all, I've sat in way too many counseling sessions, and listened to way too many of my other married friends vent about their own partner to know that I'm not the only one who has up-close-and-very-personal encounters with husbands and/or wives who act as if they are never ever wrong. If you can relate because you are that person and/or you are married to one, I'm hoping that this article will offer up some tips that can help you to get, at least, a little bit of relief, so that your marriage can get a little bit more peace.

How To Deal With A Partner Who's Never Wrong

Accept That the Root of That Is Pride. Or Insecurity.

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When you really stop to think about it, it takes a lot of self-confidence and self-awareness to be able to 1) admit when you're wrong, 2) be corrected, and/or 3) hear out an opposing point of view. When someone is able to do these types of things, it means that they are humble, willing to learn and they don't feel threatened by those who may not always or totally agree with them. What this boils down to is, when people can't pull these types of feats off, it's usually an indication that they are the opposite of confident and self-aware. They either function from a space of pure pride or deep-rooted insecurity (which oftentimes are one and the same).

When you really let this reality sink in, it can actually make you feel sorry for someone who acts as if they are never wrong because, at the end of the day, it's not about them being right so much as them fearing being wrong. And Lord, can you just imagine how exhausting it is to function that way? You love your spouse, right? A part of what comes with loving someone is trying to understand where they are coming from. Getting that there is nothing healthy or even beneficial about trying to always be right can bring about a feeling of compassion for them that you probably wouldn't have if you didn't see things from this perspective. Try and look from this scope, if you can.

Avoid Personalizing Their Pride. Or Insecurity.

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I work with married couples…a lot.

Something that makes me tip my hat to functional marriages is how they are able to find the balance between becoming one as a union (Genesis 2:24-25) and still maintaining their individuality in the process (Psalm 33:15). A good example of what I mean by that is, it's always dope when a spouse can know when not to own something about their partner that isn't their responsibility and/or when they don't personalize stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with them.

Chances are, if you are married to a know-it-all, it transpired years before you came along. I know some people who are that way because of how they were raised. I know some people who are that way because they are narcissists-in-denial. I know some people who are that way because their job requires that they always be in authority, with little room for error, and so they don't know how to "turn that side of them off" once they step into their own house.

If you're married to someone who believes that they are never wrong, it can only benefit you to do a little pondering about how the "root" created that kind of "tree". Once you can get a better grasp on where all of that stems from, it can help you to better filter how to respond to your partner when they act like they are always right; especially when you know—that you know that you know—that they are not. Plus, it can help you to not feel quite so attacked because you get that when it comes to their pride and/or insecurity, while you're there to help them evolve from it, is not your responsibility to fix. It's totally theirs.

Try to Deactivate Your “Need to Have the Last Word” Trigger

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While I'm not a big fan of the ever passive aggressive "OK" that some people like to use whenever they are in a conversation that they feel like they can't win (or they're sick of participating in), I will say that, when you're dealing with someone who feels like they are never wrong, it is important to deactivate a critical trigger—the need to always get the last word in. It reminds me of the quote that is oftentimes credited to Mahatma Gandhi. He once said, "Speak only if it improves upon the silence." While it's important to make your points known, to have your thoughts heard and for your feelings to be conveyed, unfortunately, people who always want to be right tend to care more about talking than listening; they are more into monologues than actual dialogues. This means that, no matter what you say, they are going to try and find something else to say after you. Let them wear themselves out if they want, but after you've "stated your case", use the self-discipline and maturity to be done with the topic. Why? Because, I'm telling you, if there's one thing that people who are never wrong are oftentimes totally stumped by, it's when the person they are trying to prove something to, stops talking—unless they can improve upon the silence.

Present Things in Question Form

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Wanna know something that tends to be a signature trait of all know-it-alls? They are defensive AF. There have actually been former clients that I've had to be like, "Yeeeeeah, I'm good. Let's end these sessions" because, no matter what I tried to make them see, they acted like they were in a courtroom rather than a counseling call. Off topic, but not really, if you're a fan of Insecure, that's something that would drive me up the wall about Molly. Because she's a lawyer, she wanted to even argue—or at least take on a defensive tone—with her own therapist. It's exhausting, and ridiculous because, if things were "all good", you wouldn't be sitting on a therapist/counselor/life coach couch in the first place. SMDH.

Rome isn't built in a day. Neither is getting people who think that they are never wrong to a point and place of being able to see that character flaw about themselves. That's why, something that I've learned to do, is present certain things to them in question form more often. Like rather than saying, "You are really disrespectful in the way that you speak to your partner", I'll say something along the lines of, "Do you think how you just said that is disrespectful?" or "What you just said, how would you feel if your partner said it in the same way to you?" By approaching your know-it-all spouse with questions rather than direct statements, that can sometimes help them to lower their guard, be less defensive, and become more open to hearing just where you are coming from.

Get Off of the Eggshells

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If you're the spouse who thinks you are never wrong, while this might be hard for you to hear and accept, when it's to the extreme (or you never seem to let up), it's actually a form of bullying. Bullies are aggressive. Bullies don't care to empathize with someone else's feelings, needs or opinions. Bullies try and make the person they are bullying either feel less than or like they must always concede. Yep. A lot of married people are straight-up bullies.

Now, if you're the person who happens to be married to the know-it-all bully, it's also important to keep in mind that you are an adult and they are not your teacher or your parent. While you do love them, there are still certain strategies that you must apply, so that you can remain sane and your marriage can remain stable. First, it's important that even in marriage, you set boundaries. Boundaries are limits. You need to figure out how much of your partner's "never-wrong-ness" you can handle and what you need in order for there to be harmony within the relationship. For instance, when your spouse is wrong, do you need them to apologize? Or, when they want to get on their high horse, do you need them to wait until the two of you get home rather than them choosing to have an all-out debate in public? Maybe what you need is to avoid "never wrong conversations" in the bedroom (so that it doesn't infect your intimacy), or you need to feel like discussions don't have to turn into arguments; that your know-it-all spouse can learn to let things go.

People who are never wrong in their own minds, they automatically function on the side of the extreme because, the reality is that, all of us are wrong at some point or another. And since they are so extreme, if you resolve to constantly walk on eggshells when you're in their presence, not only can that cause you to become super resentful, but it can make them think more and more that they are right—when conclusion is actually dead ass wrong. You deserve to feel at peace in your own house and in your own marriage. Tip-toeing around your know-it-all partner isn't the way to deal with them. Creating and expressing what your boundaries are is. Make sure that you do.

Create a Safe Haven for Them to Be Wrong

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This article is actually about to come full circle because, anyone who is so stressed about being right all of the time, that is someone who has to feel vulnerable. A LOT. I say often to my clients that I'm not big on the word "vulnerable" being used in a marital union. Since it means "open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.", that is the last thing that I think a husband and wife should feel in each other's presence. I'm more in the lane of the word "dependent" because it means "relying on someone or something else for aid, support, etc.". And you know what? In order for your know-it-all spouse to be able to work through their pride and insecurity issues, they need to feel safe in admitting when they are wrong. This is where you can help them with that.

By assuring them, from time to time, that they don't have to perform for you, "win" a debate, or feel more valued only if they are always right, believe it or not, it can actually start to calm them down and become more open to error—and correction.

Emotional safety is critical for the life and longevity of a healthy marriage. Make sure to convey to your partner that them suffocating you with their need to be right is unsafe. At the same time, also let them know that they are in a safe place to be wrong. If the love is real and mutual, in time, the know-it-all can learn how to be more humble and human. They can see that a good marriage doesn't need someone who is never wrong. It requires two people who are willing to do, whatever is needed, to get things right. Which means being wrong sometimes. Hmph. Funny how that works, huh?

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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