Would you like to change your partner (and who among us wouldn’t want to change something ) but you don’t know how to go about it?
Here’s our take on it…
There’s always something you’d like to change about your relationship or your partner but trying to change someone you love can be a tricky business.
Too often you get really frustrated because you see “potential” and know what you’d like more of–or less of–but when you talk about it, you’re often accused of “nagging” or being controlling.
And often times, you’re afraid to talk about it.
Sometimes your partner responds to your gentle or not-so-gentle requests with disgust, resignation, or anger and you never really feel “heard” or “understood”.
Your partner might even give an almost inaudible grunt or make no sound at all that you take to be agreement when he or she never had any intention in doing what you asked in the first place.
In other words, there’s a sort of “agreement” to keep the peace but with very little, if any, follow through.
Whether it’s about something very small or very, very important, when this happens, it certainly drives a wedge between the two of you. The sad part of it is that resentments can build until it puts your relationship in jeopardy.
Here’s a question from a reader about this topic and our answer…
“I have been dating a man for 8 months who is a 22 year Army Veteran. He was a Master Sergeant and has only been a ‘civilian’ for 2 years now. He is so adapted to Military ways, such as, being away from those he loves/cares about and or is interested in. He lives 2.5 hours away from me and his adaptation is frustrating because it feels to me that it doesn’t matter to him the length of time (2-3 weeks) between seeing him, spending quality time with him. I’m so frustrated. How do I get him to understand that it doesn’t have to be this way?”
There’s probably not a person alive who hasn’t run into something like this–where you have one idea about how your relationship should be and your partner has another idea.
The truth is that we as humans do exactly what we want when we want.
So even if it’s tempting to “argue with reality,” don’t do it.
This man is living his life the way he wants to live it. He may (or may not) care about this woman a great deal–and she may feel very close to him when they’re together and he may feel close to her.
All of that could be true.
But, at the present time, this seems to be as much intimacy as he’s willing to go for and is comfortable with.
Here are some ideas that we invite this woman and you as well to try out, especially if it’s something very important that keeps coming up between the two of you…
1. Don’t make up stories
This woman has made up a story that it doesn’t matter to him the length of time they are apart. Don’t make up a story–Find out.
2. Invite him to a conversation
Don’t use the old line that can scare your partner to death–“We have to talk!”–especially using a stern tone of voice and piercing eyes. (Yes, most of us are guilty of using “that” tone of voice and “that” look in our eyes from time to time.)
Also choose a time when you’re both feeling emotionally and physically close.
3. Use “magic words” to engage your partner
Say something like this from our “Magic Relationship Words” program…
“Because our relationship is so important to me–and you are so important to me, I’m wondering how you feel about spending more time together.”
Then you’ve got to listen to what he says.
If he says that he likes it the way it is, you’ve got your answer–He likes it “the way it is” and probably won’t change at least anytime soon so don’t excuse his answer away and pretend he means something else.
Really listen to what he says.
If he comes up with another answer and you’d like to know more about what he says, be sure to ask that next question–something like “Tell me more about that.”
Don’t just wonder about it. Ask in an open, curious way.
4. Make a request
If you feel like he’s open to it, you can make a request that can
go something like this…
“I’d love to see you every week. Is this something that you’re interested in too?”
If you phrase it like that and listen to his answer objectively, you’ll be able to gauge his interest and his true commitment.
Remember, he may really care about you or even love you but not want to make changes.
It’s your job to pay attention to whether or not he can be and wants to be the kind of partner that you want.
So our advice…
Be an invitation to find out more about what your partner really wants. See if he or she is open to what you want and then see if you’re a true match for each other.
Don’t make your partner wrong and don’t try to make him or her into something other than who he or she wants to be–it never, ever works!
How To Get Your Partner To Change
- Don’t make up stories
- Invite him to a conversation
- Use “magic words” to engage your partner
- Make a request
Susie and Otto Collins are married soul mates and on a mission to share that passion and spark don’t have to die, whether you’ve been together for 5 months or 50 years. As Breakthrough Relationship coaches, authors, and speakers, they are passionate about making this world a more loving place by showing people how to resolve their relationship challenges, love themselves more and love and enjoy each other.
Together, they are the authors of “Magic Relationship Words,” “Stop Talking On Eggshells,” “Should You Stay or Should You Go,” “No More Jealousy,” and many other programs.
Learn more about Susie and Otto and get their free ebook “Relationship Reverse Right Now” at www.SusieandOtto.com.