How to Make Your Partner Better: Is It Something That Can Be Done?

I cannot count how many times friends and readers have asked me how to make your partner better. If you’ve been wondering the same thing, keep reading.

Understanding how to make your partner better is a question guys and girls have asked me often. Is it actually a possibility? 

Recently, a girl asked me how to get her partner to care when she is feeling down. She said whenever she is feeling down, he doesn’t try to fix it or care about how she feels. I felt for her. I’ve been there, but I still struggled to give her advice without sounding harsh. Anyone in this situation will have a hard time. Not only are they the leader of “fixing” their relationship, but they are a part of it.

If your partner needs to be better for you to be happy in your relationship, they aren’t being a partner. Partners work together. When one is feeling down, the other lifts them up or at least comforts them. They support each other. They help each other.

Another thing about this is that you can’t make anyone do anything, especially something they don’t want to do. So the question in and of itself is moot.

I do believe people change and can get better, but only if they want to. If you are with someone due to the hope that they will get better, you are in for a big and bad surprise.

[Read: How to spot selfish people and keep them from hurting you]

How to make your partner better

If you haven’t communicated your feelings to your partner, that is the first thing. Man or woman, if they are doing something you don’t like or not doing something you would like *within reason* you need to tell them.

You cannot expect your partner to be a mindreader. They can’t try to cheer you up or be there for you if you don’t tell them you’re upset. If you need something from them, tell them. They are not a bad partner because they don’t anticipate your feelings. Try to let them know what you want and need. You can’t expect anything of them if you haven’t shared it with them. [Read: 10 steps to take to tell your partner you’re unhappy]

Next, give them time to change their behavior. Everything from washing the dishes to letting you know their plans, or supporting you in the way you need, isn’t going to come naturally or instantaneously.

If you told them it hurts when you’re upset and they aren’t there to listen or comfort you, let them know next time you’re hurting. I know it can be hard to admit that you need comfort or attention but it is necessary.

Let them figure it out. Odds are, if they change their behavior, they will see how much it affects you and your mood, and from there your relationship will flourish for both of you. But that is the outcome we hope for. It isn’t the outcome everyone gets. [Read: How to make someone feel guilty and understand the pain they caused you]

If you are still struggling after having conversations and letting them know what you need, suggest couples therapy. I know this can be hard for you and your partner to do. Admitting you need outside help is not easy, but it can be necessary and a huge help. It could be exactly what you need to work through the issues you’re having.

A trained third-party can help you come to an agreement. They can open your eyes and let you both open up in a safe space so you can get to a healthy place together.

If you are willing to try it, but your partner isn’t, then they are not willing to put your relationship ahead of their own comfort for one hour every week or so, and that says a lot.

[Read: How to fall out of love when you see no future]

Why you can’t make your partner better

How do I make my partner better? How can I get them to listen? Is there a way I can make them understand? How can I fix my relationship?

All of these questions put your entire relationship on YOUR shoulders, and yours alone. You can’t be the only one encouraging your relationship to grow. You cannot change your relationship on your own. Fixing them or making them better is not your job. A relationship or partnership is about both of you working together to make something beautiful. [Read: The hidden signs of a one sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

If you have shared your feelings and wants and needs with your partner, and it hasn’t gotten you anywhere, you will not be able to change them with all the effort in the world.

People will not change if they don’t want to. No matter how much you want your relationship to work out because it was amazing at one point, it doesn’t mean it will or that it is meant to.

Your partner, no matter how amazing in some ways, may not be what you want or need in others. Some people can compromise, but sometimes, these things are too much. If you crave attention and comfort from your partner but aren’t getting it, you are doing yourself a disservice.

No relationship will fill all of your needs. That is what we have friends and family for. But there are some things relationships need to work. And if your partner is lacking and not changing, it may be time to make a change yourself. [Read: For better or for worse? When you should stop loving them]

How to make your life better

I know it sucks. I know you don’t want to be single. And I know there are good things in your relationship. You want to make it work.

Realistically, if they aren’t willing to put in that same effort, it won’t work. You won’t get what you need and you won’t be happy. You do not need to suffer in a relationship that makes you unhappy or leaves you wanting more.

Are the good parts of your relationship worth going through the bad? Are they better more often than they aren’t? And are the laughs and good times enough to outweigh the parts that you want to be better? [Read: How to fix a one-sided relationship before it ends in failure]

Ending it will hurt at first. It will suck. You will miss the good parts. They may even promise to change if you come back. And maybe they will. But, if they let you get to the point of leaving before they promise to change, the odds are it won’t last long.

You will get over the breakup. And you will get over them. You will be single. And when you see them in a relationship doing all the things you wish they did, you’ll be reminded of it. And it will suck again. But that means they weren’t right for you. [Read: How to know for sure if it’s time to give up on the relationship]

The thing is, when you’re single, your happiness is under your control. You decide who to date and what you want. And you get to have what you deserve.

Being in a relationship that is only half full is worse than being single by a long shot. Being single isn’t bad. It can be lonely, but what is wrong with that? It is better to be lonely when you are actually alone than to feel lonely when you’re in a relationship.

[Read: How to enjoy being single and live the life you really want]

So, are you still asking yourself how to make your partner better? Or are you asking yourself if your partner is right for you?

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