Women being petty in relationships is an amusing but harmful trope. Humans can certainly be petty, particularly when it comes to relationships, but no amount of memes and Twitter jokes can cover up the damage that is done to relationships in the name of pettiness.
This includes (but is not limited to) slamming doors when angry, the silent treatment for days on end, saying ‘nothing’ when asked what is wrong, silent resentment and endless mind games. They give some feeling of ‘getting even’ when they are done, and well as the inevitable satisfaction of being petty, but they are small, hardly noticed cracks that slowly form at the foundations of relationships that aren’t given much thought until they culminate in a sudden collapse, usually in the form of a fight or shouting match.
The first thing that pettiness does in relationships is hurt feelings. To be honest, that is kind of what they are designed to do. When you turn the other way when your significant other leans in for a kiss because they forgot to buy milk on the way home, you are sending a message. The problem is that the only message that is often sent is anger. It also inevitably hurts your significant other’s feelings. Hurt feelings might give some form of gratification but serve no purpose in the end.
The second thing is that they create a pattern of themselves. It is never a good sign when two people in a relationship learn to communicate with pettiness. It’s immature and does no good at the end of the day.
It also further closes all channels of communication. When your immediate response to a situation is to be petty, it reinforces in your partner’s mind that you aren’t a person to take problems or feelings to.
In an adult relationship, communication is key. This communication will inevitably involve swallowing pride and talking about feelings, even when you feel like you’ve been slighted. Ironically, the person in question might even be unaware of how they have hurt you and will only see your pettiness as a sign of childishness.
Pettiness has its place on social media, cryptic statuses and conversations with frenemies. It does now, however, have a place in a healthy, loving relationship.