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Accountability VS Blame in Relationships: From One to the Other

We all desire healthy relationships where both individuals take ownership of their actions. However, what happens when people involved in a relationship refuse to take accountability and are constantly putting the blame on one another? What is blame vs responsibility?

Read on to learn what taking ownership in a relationship means and how the blame game between the partners can impact the relationship. We will also look at the tips that will help you make a move from someone who shifts the blame to someone who is accountable for their actions.

Taking Accountability in Relationships: The Meaning and Importance

Accountability in relationships is taking responsibility for your actions and mistakes you make in the relationship. It involves building a healthy relationship where instead of playing the victim card, you try to understand how your actions affect your partner. Taking responsibility for your actions shows you are a compassionate person who is in control of your life.

For a healthy relationship, it is important that both partners learn to be accountable, as it increases trust and dependence in the relationship. Accountability is a skill that is not only important in relationships but also helps in your overall growth. Once you become accountable, you start learning from your mistakes, and your self-esteem increases.

Being accountable in relationships makes you a compassionate person who also thinks about others’ perspectives. You take responsibility for your own happiness and do not need to depend on your partner to make you feel loved and protected. 

Accountability in relationships is the responsibility of both the individuals involved. To be accountable, you both should sit with each other and discuss your issues and find solutions. You should be honest and be able to apologize if you have hurt your partner’s feelings unintentionally. Being accountable can make your relationship much more loving and happy.1

Not being accountable means the person will play blame games and show selfish behavior. 

Blame in Relationships: The Causes and Negative Effects

Blame is the art of putting the responsibility for whatever is wrong in your life on others. When it comes to relationships, no matter how much you love the other person, it is always easier to put the blame on them rather than accept the fault in yourself.

A person who always blames the other person in the relationship is anescapist, and there are various reasons why they keep putting the blame on their partner. Often, a manipulator blames their partner for getting things they want; however, many times, blaming is an unconscious behavior, or it could be that the other person might really be at fault.

Blaming can also take place when the blame-shifter is unable to understand their emotions or is unable to communicate with the other person. Negative experiences or a need for attention can also be the reason behind a person’s criticizing nature. However, no matter what the reason behind blaming is, it can never be justified.2

Chronic blaming is emotional abuse, which also negatively affects the person who is in the habit of shifting the blame onto others. This conduct shows that the blame-shifter does not care about their partner and how much they are hurt by always being on the receiving end of the blame. 

If your partner is getting constantly blamed for things they do or do not do, it can make them feel they are not good enough for you and negatively affect their self-esteem. Slowly they will lose trust in the relationship and will be filled with anger and resentment towards you. They will also start suffering from self-blame and guilt.

It is important to understand that putting blame on others is a toxic behavior which can sabotage your relationships.

9 Tips to Move From Blaming to Taking Accountability

It is important to take ownership of your mistakes so you can keep them from happening again. However, it is not easy to learn to practice accountability. Below are some tips that will help you to move away from criticizing and take ownership of your actions so you can have a healthy relationship.

1. Increase your self-awareness

increase your self awareness

Self-awareness is the first step towards taking accountability in relationships. Be self-aware about when you are blaming others, even if you are doing it in your head. Use this awareness to stop yourself when you are about to blame your partner. Also, be self-aware about when you are presenting yourself as a victim and use a different approach.

When you find yourself criticizing your partner, acknowledge the situation and try to find out if you are doing this because you want to correct their behavior or if you are just looking for an opportunity to vent your emotions. Becoming more aware of how you talk will help you find out if blaming has become your habit or if you just do it occasionally.

2. Be honest

Before being honest to your partner about your habit of deflecting the blame, you need to be honest with yourself. It takes courage to take ownership of your mistake and admit that you were wrong. 

After admitting your mistake, you should have honest and open communication with your partner, where both of you are open to receiving and giving feedback after understanding each other’s perspective. This will help you both to take blame and accountability for your past actions and ensure you do things differently in the future.

3. Learn to respond and not react

When held accountable for mistakes many people respond negatively in anger. However, this is not the appropriate behavior as you should try to control your anger and accept responsibility for your actions, which would ensure you will make fewer mistakes in the future. 

Before instinctively playing the blame game, try to see things from your partner’s perspective, which will give you some clarity and awareness. It will make you aware about what your partner might be feeling and give you a possible explanation for their actions.3

Feelings certainly come up when you are in the middle of a conflict and the blame is on you; however, you should learn to take ownership and show empathy towards your partner. Make it a point to respond to the conflict in a positive manner and focus on finding the solution of your problem in a calm manner, which will help in your growth.

4. Have compassion

Understand that you cannot change the other person in your relationship by starting a conflict and placing the blame for everything wrong in the relationship on them. It is important to understand that when one partner blames another, the other person gets defensive and closes all communication.

If you feel your partner is wrong, putting more blame on them will only make them feel guilty and scared of you. Therefore, instead, you should show some empathy, love, and compassion for your partner and engage in open communication where you show them your support. 

Being compassionate will help you see things from each other’s perspective, which will help you identify each other’s trigger points. This way, you can show your support for one another, which will benefit the relationship in the long run.

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5. Say no to blame shifting

say no to blame shifting

Once the blame game starts, it is difficult to stop; the matter will keep escalating, and you and your partner will be engaged in the vicious cycle of pointing the finger. However, there never will be a winner in all this blame game. 

After the two of you have the talk, it is important to understand that you both made mistakes in the past, and it is now time to take the blame and accountability for your own actions. But only taking responsibility for your actions is not enough, it’s important that you learn from your mistakes so you do not repeat the same mistakes again.

Moreover, just like you, your partner might also have made some mistakes in the past. To ensure a strong and healthy relationship, forgive them and work on your growth. 

Taking accountability for your actions is incomplete until you apologize to your partner for the wrong you have done in the relationship. Acknowledge, identify, and together find solutions to the problems in your relationship.

6. Seek feedback

It is important that you regularly take feedback from your partner so you can learn to be accountable in the relationship. Relationships need effort from both partners, so both taking feedback and giving feedback are equally important. Constructive criticism given by both partners to each other can help both people to learn to be more accountable for their actions.

Take out some alone time when you both are in a calm mind and ask your partner if they are happy in the relationship. Ask them if they feel you have decreased blaming others for things going wrong in your life and if the communication has improved. Make sure you both try to understand what the other one is saying, and try not to get defensive.

7. Take responsibility

It is important to understand that only you are accountable for the choices you make in your life. Therefore, taking responsibility is important when your choices or actions result in an issue. Instead of playing the victim and waiting for others to rescue you, practice accountability for things you do in your life.

It might feel tempting to ask someone else to help us, so the blame can be put on them if something goes wrong. However, it is important to understand that by giving someone the responsibility of your life, you are also giving them control over your life. By taking responsibility for your life, you can stop the culture of blame from emerging.

Once you learn to take ownership for your decisions and actions, you can lead by example for your partner, who, like you, will also try to take accountability in the relationship. Understand that blaming in relationships will not empower you, and blame has an inverse relationship with accountability.

8. Set goals

Before you practice accountability in relationships, it is important that you are aware of the goals and what is expected from you. Not knowing what you are accountable for in the relationship will only cause confusion. Also, make sure your partner knows what he is accountable for and ask him how he would like to be supported.

After setting goals, it is important that you and your partner commit to them. This might be difficult at times as behavior needs time to change. However, it is something that is a small sacrifice much needed to maintain a healthy relationship.4

Other than asking your partner to support you in achieving success, you can also write your goals and the commitments made in a journal, so you are constantly reminded about the thighs that will make you much more accountable in the relationship.

It is important to understand that accountability is not a one-time process but a habit that should be carried out continuously. Once you get into a relationship, you automatically become responsible for your actions in the relationship and how they affect your partner.

9. Seek professional help

seek professional help

If, even after trying your best to be accountable in the relationship, you still find yourself making excuses and unable to change yourself, it is best to seek professional help. A counselor can help you find your trigger points and guide you toward the attitudes that you should avoid to have a successful relationship.

A professional can help you practiceaccountability for your actions, which will not only help your romantic relationship but can also help you with your friends, family, and colleagues. 


How can you practice accountability for a healthy relationship?

To practice accountability in a relationship, you should start becoming aware of the times you place blame on others instead of taking responsibility. For a healthy relationship, you need to involve your partner in the process, and both of you should start taking responsibility in the relationship by making accountability a priority.

How can the lack of accountability harm relationships?

The lack of accountability in relationships results in the blame game, selfish behavior, and conflicts. If people lack accountability in relationships, the responsibilities become unclear. Lack of accountability means the partner is not willing to take responsibility for their actions, which makes it difficult for the other partner to trust them.

Is it important to practice accountability in a corporate environment?

Taking responsibility in a corporate environment is one of the most important concepts of business. For instance, if the employer has assigned an employee a task at the workplace, and the employee messes it up, in this case, both the employee and employer will blame each other. Here, if one does not take accountability, their career may suffer.


Taking accountability for your mistakes and actions is more difficult than putting blame on someone; however, once you learn to take ownership of your behavior as it will help you lead a life full of love and success. To practice accountability in a relationship, you should sit with your partner and engage in a discussion about how you both can become more accountable.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you always used to blame your partner for all the wrong things in your life and relationship? Did you learn to take accountability for your behavior? Were you successful in devising a plan which helped you make sure the blame game was not happening again? Let us know in the comments.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.

4 Sources:
  1. Wang, D., Waldman, D. A., & Ashforth, B. E. (2019). Building relationships through accountability: An expanded idea of accountability. Organizational Psychology Review.
  2. Oliffe JL, Kelly MT, Montaner GG, Kealy D, Seidler ZE, Ogrodniczuk JS, Sharp P, Rice SM. Men, relationships and partner-initiated break-ups: A narrative analysis. Health Psychol Open. 2022 Nov 26;9(2):20551029221142465.
  3. Braithwaite SR, Selby EA, Fincham FD. Forgiveness and relationship satisfaction: mediating mechanisms. J Fam Psychol. 2011 Aug;25(4):551-9.
  4. Toma, A. M., Rusu, P. P., & Podina, I. R. (2022). The role of goal interdependence in couples’ relationship satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 0(0).

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