What To Do When Your Partner Stops Trying

Dead weight is tiresome to pull. Ideally, moving an actual dead body has never been your task. However, perhaps you can recall the last time you had to haul your toddler out of a full-blown tantrum or the last instance where someone fell asleep in an awkward position. It’s far more difficult than lugging groceries or furniture. I see a lot of couples who are at least somewhat devoted to changing, but what happens if one of them isn’t?

When they have completely checked out, how will I know?

Change is something you’ve been requesting, whether directly or indirectly. “What can I do to make them happier?” is a question you’ve been asking yourself. You’ve been making an effort to be a more excellent mate. And your partner has responded to none of this, if at all. Frequently, they have ceased doing the tiny, kind things they used to do to express their love for you. Even worse, they’ve started acting hurtfully and negatively and won’t stop when you ask them to. It usually takes you a year or longer at this point to eventually grasp that they don’t seem to give a damn about how you feel. You’ve had enough of wailing, pleading, and experiencing disappointment.

Can I do anything at all? I believe I have exhausted all options.

As a counselor, I would first advise that, if you haven’t already, you both seek professional assistance in mending your relationship. If they say no, then you should take care of yourself! You need someone to help you sort out your needs, feelings, and how to live with a checked-out partner because you have been through a difficult period of time.

Ask yourself these questions, either by yourself or in consultation with a professional:

1. Have I expressed my feelings to them clearly? People frequently say, “Well, they SHOULD KNOW how I feel,” but trust me when I say that they might not realize how deeply you are experiencing. They occasionally need to know when you’re beginning to consider using the D-word.

2. Exist roadblocks to advancement? No matter how much you need Date Night, it might not be possible if finances are tight. You might be able to detach yourself from their inaction by applying some logic.

3. What are my true thoughts on this? I have witnessed people who are not genuinely in love with their partner; rather, they are merely reacting to rejection (sometimes as a result of past trauma with others). Once more, a therapist can assist you in determining whether you genuinely love your spouse and wish to maintain your relationship, or whether you just struggle with abandonment.

As you go through these responses, you could realize that, if you’re not ready to end things, you might have to accept the things you can’t alter. That’s also acceptable. It’s acceptable to give up pleading and attempting and to watch to see if things improve on their own. In my experience as a counselor, this has happened on its own.

What should I do in the interim then?

Recognize that you have suffered hurt and disappointment. Consider what you’ve been ignoring for yourself in order to encourage them to change. “I totally lost the best version of myself trying to make someone else happy,” said one of my male clients. Even patients who have postponed dental and medical appointments have been seen by me! Pay attention to your own personal development. What other adventures have you missed out on because your significant other refused to accompany you? Attend that movie, that performance, or that restaurant. Consider that trip, that experience, that lesson in skiing. Resentment has grown from the things you missed, and that doesn’t make things better.

I’m not saying you have to give up on your spouse; rather, I’m suggesting that you need remember that you are ultimately in charge of your own happiness and not let it consume you.