“He never hears me!”
“You don’t get it!”
“You always do what you want…you are so selfish!”
“She always complains about the same stuff!”
“She needs to change!”
“He needs to change!”
…Very common statements heard from the couches of mental health professionals around the world.
If you are searching the web, going to therapy, or talking to family or friends about how your partner needs to change in order for you to experience some healing or happiness, I will cut to the chase: Leave this blog now!
The truth is, if you are focused on what your partner needs to do, change, be, or say, you will experience continuous letdown. Setting an unattainable bar for your partner will set them up for failure in your eyes. The key to making your relationship work is to allow yourself to be a part of the solution. Focus on yourself. In this blog, you will find information on how to help yourself with this process.
But, I am doing everything in my power to be the perfect, most loving and affectionate partner! He/she just doesn’t reciprocate my efforts!
It is not uncommon to feel that your efforts are going unnoticed or that you are over functioning and getting nothing back. Change takes time. Sometimes, lots of time. Again, the key is to let yourself be a part of the solution. Begin to take a daily inventory- not on your partner- but on yourself. Are you being the change you wish to see in your relationship? Are you growing?
Placing constant focus and effort on everything your partner is doing wrong (and, trust me, I know your partner is not perfect) is ultimately a waste of your energy. It is the backwards way of doing relationships. You are expecting satisfactory change from the outside in, when really and truly, growth occurs from the inside out.
It is good to recognize what is not working in your relationship, but to focus on it and constantly dig into the problem areas will only cost you time, energy, and growth. The interesting paradox is that when you allow yourself to begin working on changes within yourself, your partner and world will also change. Give yourself the gift of a new outlook on your relationship. Let yourself become a little more selfish, and not in a selfish way. Focus on what you are bringing to your relationship, and how you may be contributing to the parts of it you wish would change. What you notice may end up surprising you.
*There are factors which do call for an individual to take action regarding their partner’s behaviors from a safety perspective. This includes, but is not limited to, behaviors of domestic violence, abuse, sexual abuse or repeated infidelity, and strong emotional violations. If you are experiencing any of these situations in your current relationship(s), please seek help from a mental health provider in your area.