Knowing how to deal with stubborn people in a relationship is challenging. It may seem as if your stubborn partner is never open to suggestions and refuses to change their mind, even when there is an excellent reason to do so. This stubborn attitude can lead to real tension and frustration within the relationship, but coping is away. Read on to learn about ways to deal with a stubborn spouse or partner.
12 Ways to Deal with Stubborn People in Relationships
If you’re wondering how to get someone stubborn to listen or what you can do to deal with a stubborn attitude, consider the 12 tips below:
1. Try to calm yourself
When you show a stubborn spouse or partner that their behavior upsets you, they’ll probably be even more likely to be oppositional.
Practice calming strategies, such as counting to ten or taking a deep breath when you’re tempted to go head to head with a hard-headed person.
This is one of the best techniques of how to deal with stubborn people.
2. Choose the right time to express yourself
If you need to discuss an important matter with a partner who tends to have a stubborn attitude, be sure to pick the right time.
If they’ve just come home from a stressful day at work, or it’s the end of the day, and they’re tired and hungry, this probably isn’t the best time to convince a stubborn person that your point of view has merit.
Pick a time when they are calm and in a relatively good mood, and they’ll probably be more likely to see things from your perspective.
It’s normal to feel frustrated when dealing with a stubborn partner, but don’t let this lead you to withhold your love and affection.
If you’re able to be loving, even when your partner is stubborn, they may be more likely to compromise with you.
4. Compliment them
Stubborn people in relationships tend to believe that their way of doing things is the best, so if you feed their ego with a compliment before making a suggestion, they may be more likely to work with you.
For instance, if you’d like to suggest a different way of managing the monthly finances, you might tell them you’ve noticed how hard they’re working, and you’re so impressed with how they have juggled it all.
Then, talk about how you think it might benefit them, and protect their hard work, if you begin a more strict monthly budget.
If they feel heard, you would know this is how to talk to a stubborn person as some of their stubbornness will fade away, and they’ll be more willing to listen to you.
6. Always be willing to compromise
One of the best tips for how to talk to a stubborn person is that you must be willing to compromise.
A stubborn spouse will probably be pretty set in their ways and convinced that their way of doing things is the best, so if you insist on something being 100% your way, you will likely fail to get your point across.
Instead, be willing to meet your partner in the middle, so they will feel like they are still getting to have things go somewhat according to their preferences.
7. Listen to your partner
Give your partner a chance to talk and defend their position, and ask that they do the same for you. Stubborn people tend to be fixated on a sense of justice, so if something seems unfair, they will not give in to you at all.
You need to know how to deal with stubborn people, and one of the best things you can do about it is to give your partner a chance to speak their mind.
If you are on opposite sides of the fence about a matter, allow your partner a few minutes to talk to you, uninterrupted, to defend their position.
Next, they must allow you a chance to defend your stance without interrupting.
Allowing each person to present logical arguments on their point of view can be a viable way to arrive at a compromise.
8. Never suggest to your partner that they’re wrong
It may go without saying, but a stubborn person generally doesn’t like to hear that they’re wrong.
Instead of saying, “You’re thinking about this the wrong way,” you’d be better off saying, “I appreciate your perspective on this, and you’ve definitely made some good points, but there are several ways to view this, and I see it differently.”
9. Don’t be a doormat
It’s easy to give in to a stubborn partner to avoid conflict, but if you always let them have their way, they will learn that they can take advantage of you and never consider your perspective.
After all, there is no incentive for a hard headed person to change if what they are currently doing is working for them.
This means that you may have to stand your ground when you disagree with them and would be doing yourself a disservice by giving in to them.
This doesn’t mean that you will never compromise with your partner; it simply means that from time to time, you may have to put your foot down to remind them that you have a voice, too.
A stubborn partner will enjoy a good argument, regardless of how trivial the matter may be. This means that to keep the harmony in your relationship, you may have to choose your battles from time to time.
If you really want to know how to deal with stubborn people, sometimes, you will just have to avoid the urge to bicker or engage with your partner when they are hard-headed.
It can be easier just to smile and go along with them rather than argue your point over a seemingly meaningless matter.
Save your debates for more important topics, such as important things or matters that must be addressed.
11.Express how important your perspective is to you
Often, stubborn people can get so caught up in being right that they miss the bigger picture. One way to deal with a stubborn person in a relationship is to express how important something is to you.
For example, if you want to spend the holidays with your parents, but they just won’t budge, tell them that it would mean so much to you if they would be there for your grandma’s Christmas dinner because their presence is important to you.
This will help them see that this isn’t about who is right and wrong, but instead, the point is to consider your feelings.
12. Remember the benefits of your partner’s stubbornness
Whether you want to admit it or not, being stubborn in a relationship has its advantages.
After all, your stubborn partner is likely to remain committed to their goals, hopes, and dreams, even when things get tough.
This means that if the two of you have set a goal, such as saving for a dream vacation or setting aside money to buy your first house.
Your partner is likely to insist upon staying on track with this goal, despite whatever obstacles may come your way.
Remembering that there is a bright side to stubborn people can help you develop a more positive view of your partner and allow you to handle them better.
Being stubborn in a relationship isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but there can be positives to having a stubborn partner.
On the other hand, a stubborn spouse can understandably be difficult to deal with from time to time. Fortunately, there are good ways of how to deal with stubborn people.
If you want to know how to talk to a stubborn person, remember to avoid telling them they’re wrong and be sure to listen to their point of view.
A little bit of compromise and an occasional compliment threw their way can also help you get on the same page with your stubborn partner.
If you’ve tried the strategies above and they just aren’t working, or you’ve tried to convince a stubborn person to see your perspective but still aren’t making any progress, you might consider outside intervention.
For example, a relationship therapist can help you and your stubborn partner learn more effective ways of communicating and meeting each other’s needs. A third party may also better convince your partner to consider your point of view.
With some changes to your communication style and perhaps some outside intervention, you should learn how to talk to a stubborn person so your relationship can thrive.
On the other hand, if you find that you cannot be yourself in the relationship and your needs are consistently not met, you may have to consider whether the relationship with a stubborn person is the best choice for you.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.