young man ignoring his girlfriend getting worked up

How To Feel Better When Your Partner Won’t Do What You Ask

“A true life of freedom begins with not having your happiness depend on someone else’s behavior.” ~ Ana Neff

One of the most common questions I hear as I cruise around my life’s days is, “Why won’t my boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse just do what it takes to make me happy?”

There is some deep belief that if they loved you, they would just do it, Nike style. They’d just put their shoes away. Or not come home late. Or put happy faces after their texts. They’d stop flirting with someone who is not you. They’d ix-nay the nagging, the whining, the criticizing. They’d stop making excuses. They’d stop being a commitment-phobe. Whatever it is that pisses you off, if they loved you, they’d just cut it out already!

So yeah! Good question! Why WON’T they just do what it takes to make you happy?

Actually, it’s because I lied. It is, in fact, a shitty question.

Why is this question so shitty? It’s the wrong question.

You see, it is NOT your partner’s job to make you happy. Sorry.

It is not YOUR job to focus on what you want them to STOP doing.

It is YOUR job to focus on what they are doing well, and to make requests for things you’d like them to do, knowing very well it may never happen. It means you make the requests, and not make your happiness rely on whether they actually do it or not.

It is your job to accept them. Fully.

It means you stop caring about all that other shizzle. For realz. It means you focus on how to make yourself happy instead.

That’s true love.

Let’s practice.

Think of some way you need your partner to change their behavior before you can be content in the relationship. Usually this sounds something like, “If he would only ask my opinion before he went out and did his own thing, THEN I could feel secure and feel like my opinion mattered. Then I’d feel loved.” or “If she would just let me do whatever I wanted without having to check in all the time, then I’d feel more free and be able to relax into this relationship more easily.”

Now consider this: you can FEEL however you want RIGHT NOW. Without your partner changing their behavior.

I’m serious! I am sooooo not full of it here.

You do NOT need your partner’s complicity in order to feel ANYTHING – whether that feeling is love, freedom, joy, adventure, generosity…anything!

I know this is a tough one to absorb. It is, admittedly, easier on the surface to feel like the only reason you feel crappy is because your partner is being lame. It’s much easier to believe that you could easily feel good if others just followed your freaking awesome rules, right?

So…how’s that workin’ for ya?

The reality is, you can choose to be happy – Just. Like. That. {followed by an emphatic and dramatic snap of the fingers}

You can truly be happy even if your partner never promptly returns your calls. Or if your girlfriend never stops asking you how you feel. Or if your spouse continues to leave their shizzle all over the place.

It’s one thing to KNOW this is true. It is another to ACCEPT that this is possible.

Yet accepting that it is possible to be happy (or to achieve ANY emotional state you desire, for that matter) independent of another’s behavior is the key to loving someone fully and to accepting them as the amazing human being they are.

The funny thing is, when you love someone fully and truly accept them, they are also way more likely to WANT to make you happy. They are way more likely to love you back in the same, accepting way.

So what is a better, healthier question than the one we started with? Try this on:

“What can I do for MYSELF to help me feel that yummy way I want to feel?”

Blam! That’s it! What can YOU do for yourself?

Most of the time, when we are wanting our partner to do something in order for us to feel better, it is because we are lacking something in ourselves, lacking some level of self love, self care, or self acceptance. And while there is the option of digging deep into our endless source of soul energy to create it ourselves, it is often a whole lot easier to ask our partners to fix it for us.

But they can’t.

C’mon. You know that, right? You know this is true because you are badass, and you’re here – a fellow Freedom Junkie. We are here to free our minds, and free our lives. You know deep down that a key part of true freedom is learning how to make OURSELVES happy.

When you know how to make yourself happy, you aren’t going to hang out in an unhealthy relationship, because you won’t be afraid to be alone. YOU know how to make yourself happy, and aren’t going to hang out waiting for the lameass who keeps letting you down to do it for you (which, just for emphasis, they can’t anyway!).

If you’re single, when you learn to make yourself happy, you won’t easily pick a partner who sucks at loving you in a way you are meant to be loved. You will know how to make yourself so happy, that you won’t be out there scanning the world for the next guy who shows you the slightest bit of kindness, like handing you a straw at the juice bar. You’ll simply say, “Why, thank you!” and wait for the the guy who shows you some REAL fucking manhood, like not needing external flirtations with women to help HIM feel secure.

You stop pretending to love people fully when in reality, you are super annoyed at who they are and want them to change because you are with them so they can help make you feel better and they happened to hand you the straw at the juice bar so you snagged them while they were weak.

That’s not love. That’ entrapment.

When you know how to make yourself happy, adventurous, safe, generous, calm, grounded, sexy, juicy…you don’t NEED anyone. Rather, you see your partner (or future partner) as exactly that – a partner in this amazing life. A partner with whom you gaze out at the world holding hands, ready to make this one helluva ride together! A partner whom you accept, because you’re not with someone for potential.

You are with them because they rock AS IS, and you CHOSE them because they rock. Not because of the majestic Jedi you can craft them to be once you gain control of their mind.

Remember, this is not an overnight kind of thing. Learning how to make yourself happy is your life’s work. This means you will revisit this lesson over and over, hopefully excelling at it more and more each time as we spiral UPWARDS towards the heavens, and we will continually improve our ability to make ourselves happy.

A true life of freedom begins with not having your happiness depend on someone else’s behavior.

We are powerless over others! We are only in control of how we respond and react, and in what we create – our feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Now, I did not say starting this that once you learn to make yourself happy, you will live happily ever after with your partner.

Once you learn to make yourself happy, you will be able to decide if your current relationship is truly healthy for you, and not something you’re in simply because you are afraid to be alone. Once you get better at creating happiness, you will more skillfully call the right people to you with whom it is easy to be happy with, because you aren’t looking for someone to fix.

But if you are already with the right person (lucky YOU!), once you know how to make yourself feel yummy, you stop expecting your partner to do it for you.

What happens next is a true gift for them: you can focus on letting THEM be THEM. You can accept them, because after all, you are with them for the amazing people they are, and not the potential bandaid-of-a-partner they could be for your own wounds. You get to celebrate life with them. THAT ROCKS! And yes, the you can live happily every after. At least most of the time.

Focus on feeling good. Focus on helping your partner feel good in a way that does NOT compromise your ability to be happy. Focus on letting go of what they’re NOT doing for you. When you’re with the right person, this happens more easily in an amazing way.

Focus on what you want. Happiness. Commit to learning how to create that for yourself. Once you’ve done that, watch the love flow in, baby!

Share with me below about how you have managed the pull between wanting someone to change so you can feel better. We’ve all been there. Let’s call a spade a spade and get on with learning how to be happy!

Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and Freedom Junkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Ziji Up!™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs, sign up for a free 30 minute strategy session, and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting FreedomJunkie.com

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2 Responses to How To Feel Better When Your Partner Won’t Do What You Ask

  1. Deb Dorchak April 28, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Excellent post, Anna. One great epiphany for me was, if you want to change the world (or your mate) the change starts with YOU. Truth is, you can’t change others, but if you start with yourself, magic happens.

    • Ana Neff April 28, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      EXACTLY, Deb! That’s the case with anything that we find creates suffering in us, and it’s so freeing to realize that sooner than later. Congrats;) Life just got a whole lot more empowering for you!

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