A friend just called me. She was having problems with her boyfriend. These weren’t new problems. They were the same problems she’s been having for months. However, every time she calls to tell me about it, she is shocked that nothing has changed. She continues to get angry at him for doing the same thing over and over. She just wants him to see how important these changes are for her. Because if he does then he will get it and do things differently.
Then it was time for a little tough love.
Below is the not-so-tough-love approach to changing your partner; the type of approach I use with my online therapy clients, not my friends for over 30 years.
SEVEN (7) WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR PARTNER
I am using “he/him/his” for all the examples to make it easier to read.
***This is for both men AND women!!!
1. Change your need for him to fit into your preconceived idea of what a partner should be
Become aware that everyone brings something new and different to a relationship and usually we attract someone that can give us something we need, whether we realize it or not. How you perceive him and his value in your life will change.
2. Talk to him about what isn’t working for you and see if a compromise can be made
Of course he may decide that he does not want to compromise and your feelings about the situation are your problems to deal with. But definitely do not assume he knows why you are upset and he should figure it out himself “if he really loves you”.
3. See what changes you can make for yourself to help your partner want to be a better person
Change yourself first, if your partner sees the beauty and pure intention that leads to the happiness behind it, he will most likely want to come on board.
4. Remember he is his own individual with his own needs, desires and goals separate from yours.
Remember before he met you he was on a different path and he may still want to be on that path… let him. For more than 2 or 3 decades he has been creating a path for himself, why should he throw that all away? Let him have both you and his career!
5. Be gentle with your partner, do not push, shove, anger, manipulate or withhold things to see change, this will bring about the reverse
This is not a healthy way to communicate. If these are the techniques you have been using, this will create greater hardships over time that will be more difficult to change later.
6. Stop compromising your needs in the hope that he will do the same. Either do it because you want to or do not do it at all.
Why? Because if you do it with the hopes he does the same and he doesn’t, how angry will you be then!
7. Most obvious and most difficult: Change your Partner.
Sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that we will never get what we want from our partner. See your partner for who he is, not who he can be. Because, he may not want to be that person you have imagined for yourself. If that’s the case, it’s time to let him go.