Are you unhappy in your relationship, want your partner to go to counseling with you and he refuses? The majority of the work I do is with women who want their partner's to change and are frustrated because he doesn't see the need for it. This is when the real work begins!
Whenever you are in a relationship and find yourself unhappy about how things are going, commonsense would dictate that you need to have your partner’s cooperation to “fix” things. But that is not necessarily true.
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Imagine you find yourself in a relationship where you recognize something needs to change. You raise the issue with your partner and he just doesn’t get it. Your partner thinks everything is fine. You are completely shocked and don’t know where to go from there. How can you “fix” the relationship without your partner’s help?
The first step involves taking responsibility for your own frustration and unhappiness. If there’s something you don’t like about your relationship and your partner doesn’t see it as a problem, then who has the problem? In a commonsense kind of way, you may think, “Well my partner has the problem! He's in denial!” However, it’s you who actually has the problem since you are the one who's unhappy and thus you have the subsequent responsibility to find a solution to your unhappiness.
So you’ve identified the source of your unhappiness and shared it with your partner. He says there’s no problem and you’re still upset. Want to know why? You’re upset because you want him to do something he is not doing or to stop doing something he obviously wants to do. You want your partner to change.
Once you’ve accepted you are the one with the problem, then you have three viable options.
You can change the situation. One way to change the situation is to come up with a better way to get your partner to do what you want him to do. Maybe you haven’t asked enough times, threatened enough or found the proper bribe to motivate him. Keep trying those tactics if you want to insidiously chip away at the foundation of your relationship.
A second way to change the situation is to change yourself in the situation. Instead of threatening, nagging, bribing or complaining, you might want to try being more supportive by listening to his perspective on the situation. You may never agree with his viewpoint, but simply attempting to understand how he sees it can be an extremely helpful exercise.
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Sometimes in relationships, when your partner does something that bothers you, it takes on the annoyance level of a chirping smoke detector low on its battery or a leaky water faucet when you are trying to fall asleep. Overall, these sounds are not such a major big deal. They are small blips on the radar screen of your life, however, given the right (or wrong) set of circumstances, they become major problems, taking on monumental importance in your relationship. However, with some objectivity, you realize for all the hundreds of things you love about your partner, this is just one thing you wish he’d change. If that’s the case, then acceptance might be your answer.