Why is my partner always getting defensive? 

If your partner has been getting defensive for everything you say, then it can be because they’re feeling cornered. You’re probably very expressive as a person, but your partner is not. So all they get to do is defend themselves. They might not know how else to communicate. 

In this article we will be talking about the following things:

  • Why is my partner always getting defensive? 
  • How can I resolve this issue? 

Why is my partner always getting defensive? 

Your partner might be getting defensive for the following reasons :

  • Your partner is feeling attacked
  • Your partner is still hurt from a past fight
  • They’ve left things unsaid
  • They have issues from the past 
  • Your crossed a boundary

Your partner is feeling attacked

Sometimes what happens in a relationship is that we tend to focus on ourselves, our needs , and we just run after everything that feels unfulfilled. In that bargain, we probably run after our partners as well. 

This mostly happens with relationships between a man and woman. The woman tends to be more expressive and in control of the situation. Due to which they tend to always say the way they feel and this might come off as overpowering. It can overwhelm the man because he can’t express everything with such precision.

That’s when he starts feeling cornered. As if he’s being dominated by his partner and all he tends to do is defend himself.

We can apply this in other relationships as well because people usually tend to accuse or throw allegations at their partners. Again with the focus that their needs aren’t getting fulfilled. You need to understand that more than the content of what you’re saying , your tone matters. 

The more you speak in an accusative tone, the more defensive your partner is going to get. Instead of beginning the sentence with “You.” 

For example, “You never listen to me,” “You are always lazy,” and so on. Start your sentences with ” I feel that…” this will communicate your feelings in a much better way. 

You need to also remember that at the end of the day it’s your partner and you against all the odds. You need to work on issues together. That will not happen if you take on the role of a police officer, where you keep accusing and your partner starts to feel as though they are being interrogated. This can make them feel fearful of you, resentful and also create a power play. 

Once a power play comes into the scenario where you’re always taking the initiative to speak, resolve and thus seem authoritative it will destroy the balance of the relationship. 

Your partner is still hurt from a past fight

It’s possible that you’ve had a really bad fight with your partner in the past that they are still not over.  This might be because of the words that were said, the lines it crossed, feelings that were hurt and so on. 

Sometimes an apology isn’t enough. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have ego, and are expecting you to beg but they probably felt very disrespected. And your apology needs to be as big as your disrespect was. 

If you have an idea about what disturbed your partner to such an extent, speak to them about it? Ask them to let you know if they haven’t been able to let it go. Sometimes we move on way too quickly from a rather serious fight. And there are residual feelings. 

They’ve left things unsaid

This is usually a consequence of not  resolving feelings from the past. People tend to just get tired of the entire argument or fight and block themselves out after a point. 

This can be done because they’re so drained out and they don’t have anything more to say, or it can be simply because they want to avoid adding onto the fight. 

By trying to stop themselves from hurting you or saying something that will keep the fight going they just stop talking or get defensive.  This often leads to a build up of resentment. They probably feel like they didn’t get a say, and all they kept doing was defending themselves. 

It’s easy to think that this is their problem, and they need to solve it, but if you really want this to work, then you’d also have to take the initiative to solve it. 

They have issues from the past

They have a serious set of problems not from your relationship but probably their own past. These issues could have been triggered while they’ve been spending time with you.  And that’s why it’s important to be sensitive about certain things while talking to your partner.

It’s not possible to know what these issues are if the relationship is new. It could be possible if they’ve opened up about a certain traumatic past that they’ve gone through. 

Try to look back and see if they’re connecting their present to a traumatic relationship in the past. This would mean they need support, space and time. If it’s rather serious than therapy is also advised. 

You crossed a boundary

Pay attention to the one thing your partner constantly brings up from the past. If it’s something you’ve said or done, then this is probably a boundary that you’ve crossed, intentionally or unintentionally. 

Boundaries are set in place for a number of reasons. It could have come into place after a traumatic event or relationship. It could be a coping mechanism, it could have been something they’ve grown up with. The possibilities and reasons are endless. 

That’s why it is even more important to understand what the boundaries your partner has and to work around them. If you’ve crossed a boundary it might have felt like disrespect for them. Or that they were being taken for granted. 

How can I resolve this issue? 

In order to resolve this issue, you’d have to be open to having a long conversation with your partner. It can be difficult if you feel like they’re going to be getting defensive again. 

So make sure to run the conversation in your mind. What are you going to be addressing? What would you like to discuss or understand better?  Think about all these things. 

Keep in mind that the aim of this conversation is to purely understand the reason behind this issue. Why has your partner been getting defensive? It definitely shows that something has been triggered, and it’s probably an area you haven’t spoken off. 

These things happen because we subconsciously tend to avoid conflict as much as we can. But it can still present itself in different ways and behaviours. So make sure to keep in mind this. 

On the other hand, after speaking or trying to resolve it, if you notice that there is no real reason. If your partner simply gets defensive because they don’t want to accept anything you say, or hear you out, then that’s a form of gaslighting and you should confront them , and most likely leave the relationship. 


If your partner always gets defensive with you. It can raise a lot of questions and doubts when it comes to your relationship. You might be feeling guilty and wondering if you did something to trigger this behaviour. Truth be told, there is a possibility of this but as long as you didn’t have any wrong intentions, it’s completely fine. Make sure to remember that the idea is to work on issues together instead of against each other. 

If you have any questions or queries please drop them in the comment section below. 

FAQs- my partner always defensive

Why is my partner so defensive?

Your partner is defensive probably because they are feeling attacked in the relationship. They probably also feel as though they are constantly being accused. 

What does it mean if someone gets defensive easily?

If someone gets defensive easily then it probably means that they are acting impulsively because something has triggered them to do so. It’s an impulsive reaction so there isn’t much thought process involved. 

What causes a defensive personality?

There is nothing specific that causes a defensive personality. It’s just a reaction to a wrong situation, that makes the person who committed this mistake feel like an outcast. 

What defensiveness does to a relationship?

Defensiveness can stop your relationship from growing further. Because it is technically a way of blaming your partner. And in doing so you’re not going to be able to communicate any of your real feelings with your partner. 

Do liars get defensive? 

Yes, liars do get defensive, and when they’re doing this, they’re just trying to turn the situation around and make you feel like you’re at fault. 


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