7 Things to Do When You Have an Unsupportive Partner
“I’m not talking to you”
- “What’s happened?”
- / silence /
- “What have I done?”
- / silence /
- “Can you explain what has offended you?”
- / silence /
“I don’t talk to you anymore, you are punished, you are guilty, you have offended me, and it is so unpleasant and painful for me that I close for you all the ways to forgiveness!
“Why do I work on our relationship and they don’t?
Why do I step forward and they just sit on top of their principles and resentment, ignoring the relationship needs?”
When emotional access to your partner is closed, when they are no longer tuned into you, when they just ignore you and the problem itself, you feel completely helpless, lonely, abandoned, and rejected by an unsupportive partner.
You may feel disregarded and angry, and experience the inability to express directly, the sense of emptiness, and disrespect.
And if your parents also used to give each other the silent treatment during the conflicts and arguments, being an unsupportive partner to each other instead of working things out in a relationship when you were a child, you can get confused, anxious, and even panic.
Silent treatment versus shouting matches
I don’t talk to you → I ignore you → You just don’t exist.
I scream and shout → I am angry → I see you and I react to you → You exist.
This scheme does not mean that you have to replace the silence with hysterical cries and consider it as work on your relationships.
However, it does mean that the silent treatment is often much worse than anger, shouting, quarrels, and arguments.
As long as you exchange the emotions – no matter if they’re positive or negative – you somehow remain connected with your partner.
As long as you keep speaking – no matter if your dialogues are I-centred or follow the rules from psychological books – anyway, you keep communicating.
Thus, it’s essential to be mutually involved in the problem. But what if your partner won’t work on your relationship? What if you have an unsupportive partner- a wife or husband who refuses to communicate.
So, how to fix your relationship?
Here are 7 steps you can take to encourage your unsupportive partner to invest their time and effort into your relationship:
When husband refuses to communicate about problems
1. Make sure they also know about the problem
It may sound absurd but your partner might even not know about the problem you see in the relationship.
Remember, that we’re all different and some things can be unacceptable for one but absolutely normal for another.
Bear their system of values, mentality, and worldview in mind and go to step 2.
It takes two to tango – you are both responsible for the problem that arose.
So, before starting to voice your list of complaints, admit your bigger or smaller share of guilt too.
Say to them: “I know I’m imperfect. I admit I’m sometimes self-centered/rude/work-oriented. Can you tell me some other things that hurt you? Can you make a list of my flaws?”
This is the first step to intimacy, awareness, and trust in your relationships.
Only after you begin working on your own flaws and your partner notices that, you can ask them to correct their behavior too and present your list of concerns.
3. Use your tongue and say it
Most people can’t ask and speak out. They are full of illusions that their partner can guess their thoughts and moods intuitively.
However, playing a guessing game is the worst way to solve a conflict or to make them any good. It often ends up making one feel that they have an unsupportive partner.
It’s not enough to share your problem. It’s also necessary to say what exactly your partner can do to help you:
DON’T: “I’m sad” (cries)
So, what should I do?
DO: “I’m sad. Can you give me a hug?”
DON’T: “Our sex is getting boring”
DO: “Our sex is getting boring sometimes. Let’s do something to spice it up? For example, I saw…”
4. Make sure they don’t misunderstand you
How to be listened and heard?
How to make sure that they understand you correctly and how they feel about it?
Try this technique:
- Choose a proper time and place for your conversation. Relaxed atmosphere and good mood are perfect.
- Ask them if they are ready to talk.
- Tell all your worries in an I-centred format: “I feel offended because… That action of yours reminded me of… I want you to do… It will make me feel… I love you”
- Now ask them what they’ve heard and understood. Let them retell what you’ve said. You can be very surprised to find out at this stage that an unsupportive partner can completely misinterpret all your words.
You say: “Can you spend more time with me?”
They hear: “I’m offended and I accuse you of spending too much time at work”
But you didn’t actually say and didn’t mean it!
5. Take some time
After an argument or after a discussion of your problem, take some time to calm down, think it over, and not to say something offensive.
The solution often arises from a random thought.
6. Ask for professional help
In order to see the situation from another side, learn to understand yourself, to be attentive to your partner’s feelings, to find out the way and the roots of a problem.
Seek professional help to be able to work on your relationship together, even if both of you, or either of you feel you have an unsupportive partner.
7. Love your problems
Don’t be afraid to admit you have problems in your relationship. There is no point pretending everything’s alright.
Any problem is a signal your couple is going up to another level – and it’s time to act to do this transition, it’s time to answer the urgent question and go out of your comfort zone.
Having a problem doesn’t make you bad – it makes you evolve as a couple.
Wife refuses to work on marriage
Here are some more tips on how to make your relationship work and involve you both to the tango:
- Don’t jump to conclusions. Better ask them in a neutral tone: “What do you mean…? Do you want to say that…? Let’s discuss it…”
- Don’t take it out on your partner. There is no need to trample them in with the dirt. The pain you cause will gradually wash out the warmth from your relationship.
- Talk. When drinking tea, in bed, while washing the floor, after sex. Discuss everything that bothers you.
- Don’t rush into a whirlpool of your relationships. Respect your private space and give some freedom to your partner. A separate business, or hobbies, or friends are a good way to avoid unhealthy codependency.
- Don’t slam the door shouting “I’m leaving”. It will make some effect on your partner only the first couple of times.
Boyfriend doesn’t meet your needs
Is it always worth working on a relationship?
What are the signs it’s time to leave when your partner doesn’t meet your needs?
Sometimes, it isn’t worth working on a relationship even when you still love each other.
If you understand that the vectors of your development follow different directions, you can make a common reasonable decision to give each other a chance to be happy, but with other people and in other places
Sometimes, it can be obvious that you have got no more strength to fight for this. Or no more desire to be with an unsupportive partner. Or there is nothing left to fight for.
Is it OK if they:
- don’t pay attention to you?
- shout at you or insult you?
- spend lots of time with same-sex “just friends”?
- don’t hear you and don’t talk to you?
- don’t answer your questions?
- disappear for several days and say they were just busy?
- say “I can’t live without you” and after a while “I don’t need you”?
- spend time, chat, and sleep with you but don’t talk about your relationship?
- comment on your appearance, feelings, emotions, hobbies, decisions in an offensive manner?
Instead of asking these questions, answer another one.Is it ok for me?
If it’s ok for you – follow our tips and fight for your relationships. If it’s not ok for you – just leave.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.