Nothing can be more irritating than when your partner won’t listen to you and starts trying to “fix” you in the process–and you want him or her to change.
**Question from a reader…
“My fiance has been through personal development work and so understands the importance of taking responsibility for our actions and our feelings EXCEPT – the problem is that he keeps telling me to take responsibility for my feelings instead of him taking responsibility for his actions. Basically, he took the responsibility advice as he can behave however he will behave and I need to control my feelings and take responsibility for them if they make me sad or upset. There is no connecting, no relating, no understanding – just a “mentor” telling me to change my feelings about what’s happened.”
Yes, we’re all for both people taking personal responsibility in a relationship–in fact, that’s the only way it will work in a healthy way–BUT when there’s no connection in the process, that can really be a problem.
Here are some ways to create more connection, be heard AND be responsible…
1. Be sure that you are taking responsibility for your feelings.
By that, we mean that you are questioning the untrue stories in your head and soothing yourself if they are untrue.
But it sounds to us like you really want him to change his behavior–and he doesn’t want to change.
2. Take the emotion or feelings out of it, don’t get defensive–Address what you want.
Get as calm as you are able to be and address his behavior that goes against what you value.
Let’s say he’s looking at other women more than you want or feel comfortable being in a relationship with someone who stares so openly.
It’s no longer about feelings but rather about how you want to connect with him–and how you want your relationship to be. (And he may see that he isn’t doing anything wrong.)
3.How do you want to be treated in this relationship and is this a deal breaker for you?
Be clear about how you want to be treated in this relationship–with yourself and with him. In this case, it sounds like there’s something specific that happened that he doesn’t want to talk about with you. If you are in control of your feelings and honestly want to try to work out an agreement, then ask for that kind of discussion.
If he’s unwilling to face what happened and continues to not want to talk about it, you have to consider whether this is a deal breaker or not.
Your feelings are a result of your thinking so we suggest you open to finding a way to be together that works for both of you (instead of just venting which he obviously doesn’t want to hear). See what the two of you want for your relationship and see if you can agree.