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Give Advice: How Can I Make Him Put In More Effort?

Published on May 7, 2012 by rorihams

I've been in a relationship for a year and 8 months. It seems like I'm putting in more effort than my bf, which irritates me. I told him about how I feel, and he said he will try to fix it and I'm still waiting. I tried not to make that much effort, but no results! So, what can I do about this?


The point of dating is to find out if the person meets all of your main needs, and is a good fit for you. Obviously, he's not compatible with how you like to be in a relationship. You communicated your needs, and he hasn't come through. That's a sign that the relationship is not right for you. The goal is to choose a man you don't want to change. That means you'll have to start over and keep cutting men loose when they are lacking in major areas. Eventually, you'll find the right one for you.

Well said safire1023! If you're focused on how you want to change your partner, this is a sign to honestly assess the situation. Decide if this partner is a good fit for what you want in a relationship. Be sure to take a symbolic step back and see if there are ways that he does put in effort that maybe you aren't seeing or acknowledging. It could be that "putting in effort" means something completely different to you than it does to him.

When you told him how you're feeling, did you two talk specifics? It can help if you can be specific and talk about what you DO want instead of listing off all of the things you don't want.

Are there ways that he might believe he is contributing to the relationship that you don't value or count? This isn't about who's "right" and who's "wrong." This is about you and your partner opening up to connection and that might mean valuing differences. It might also mean that you decide that you're not okay with the kinds of contributions he brings to the relationship. The choice is yours to make.

Best Wishes, Susie and Otto Collins

I totally understand where you are coming from. Its almost 2 years and you have invested a lot of time and energy and love into a relationship that you believe in, and its directly coming from your end. Yet, on the other end, you are watching this person be more of an empty vessel (so to speak). He's taking much from you without no returns. This is emotionally draining. I suggest you STOP!

Stop giving away so much of yourself. Take 3 steps back, and step out of the box for a few days to access the entire picture of this matter. Write down all that has been going on with you and with him. Have there been any recent or sudden changes? Write down all that you like/love about your relationship with this person; and then write down all that you dislike/hate about it. And then ask yourself, is this worth fighting for? Do I really desire to make this work? and Is this what you are looking for in a relationship?

To your last question, if you said YES to this is what you are looking for in a relationship, then sit down with him and both of you go to a relationship specialist to work on it. If you answered NO, then sit him down, tell him why this is not working and pack up and leave the relationship. When you close that door, you give room to the love blessings to bring you your desired partner.

Best, Najaam Lee YourTango Expert

This sounds very frustrating for you. First, if a man is truly feeling comfortable with progressing the relationship, he will invest more of himself naturally into the efforts of meeting your needs. If he still continues to put in lackluster effort after you have expressed how you feel (and make sure that you described what you need from him specifically in terms of what behaviors you need to see from him), then this is a sign that the relationship is not a good fit for you.

You deserve to see someone who wants to put in the energy and effort at a similar level that you are investing.

As my article about commitment phobic discusses, sometimes men just stop putting forth effort when they have fears about progressing the relationship, yet they won't come out and say that they are not truly feeling comfortable. Instead, you simply will see them making less effort.

In any case, it is important to step back as the other experts have said, and truly evaluate if you want to be in a relationship with someone who is just not putting forth behaviors that reflect effort. After while, that can not only be irritating but can also harm self esteem--for that lack of effort can subtly communicate that he is not valuing you.

When I first read your question my first thought was "You cannot make anyone do anything." That being said, you need to know what you want and need out of the relationship. The relationship should add value to who you are as a person. If he feels like you are trying to force him into changing this in of itself will make him pull away. When someone feels as if they are being "made" to do something it puts them on the defense. He may feel that he is not respected for who he is as a man. You state that you tried not to make that much effort. If you are no longer doing things that you used to do, this may make him feel that you do not have the same feelings that you used to. I would suggest that you do things for you that makes you happy. Do things for him that makes you happy and feel good. And MOST of all start thinking of all of the things he does that makes you feel loved and appreciated. If he says you look nice, let him know that his comment is appreciated. I would challenge you to write down 5 things you are grateful for about him each day. See how long you can go without repeating something. Second thing, if you catch yourself complaining about him, STOP and then say something you love about him. When you change the way you look at him, he will not feel pressure and will give you more of what it is that you want and need.