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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Couples: Myth: You Can't Ask Your Partner to Change

Uploaded: Feb 9, 2019
An American myth is that you can't ask our partner to change. Perhaps what is more accurate, is that you can't be anyone but yourselves. And you can ask for change from your partner that is for the GOOD OF THE RELATIONSHIP. You have to be very careful because it can be difficult at times to know what's good for the relationship vs. what I want.

The other factor that makes this tricky is that you have to accept your partner "as is." When you do, you both have the ability to grow and change because you are accepted.

The risk of course, is that you are vulnerable in asking for what you need, and your partner may say no. However, he or she may say yes.

For example, asking your partner to spend 20 minutes debriefing and connecting each day (as Dr. John Gottman recommends) is clearly good for the relationship. Your goal in this specific activity is to listen well, be emotionally present for your partner, and respond in a way that meets your partner's need (i.e., listen quietly and nod, say "mmhmm" a few times, or ask questions if that's what s/he prefers).

Asking your partner to cut out an activity that nurtures the soul in some way (even if it's football), isn't necessarily good for the relationship.

Think about your request: is there an underlying issue you're trying to get at? If so, be transparent and state that instead: it will build trust with your partner. Is your request a backwards way of saying a "you" statement (you never pay attention to me, you never leave me alone)?

Be clean and clear in your request. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Breathe, and go slowly in your conversation.

You may or may not get your request granted. Experiment. Experiment more than once; you can be in a certain mood in one moment, and feel differently later.

My motto is "If you don't ask, they can't say yes!"
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Happily divorced, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Feb 10, 2019 at 10:46 am

I agree it's fair to ask your partner to change, and them to you, if it's good for the relationship.

In fact, you MUST ask them to change, if they are not living up to the basics, or the relationship is on it's way out the door. I find the below article a good starting point for the basics. I'd guess most romantic relationships that progress to partnership do fairly well on these points in the beginning, but what about over time?
Web Link


If you are not making some effort to give your partner these basic things, and they to you, it's time for serious counseling.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by james_jk, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Feb 14, 2019 at 1:30 am

james_jk is a registered user.

I concur it's reasonable for request that your accomplice change, and them to you, if it's useful for the relationship.

Actually, you MUST request that they change, in the event that they are not satisfying the nuts and bolts, or the relationship is headed out the entryway. I discover the beneath article a decent beginning stage for the nuts and bolts. I'd surmise most sentimental connections that advancement to association do genuinely well on these focuses before all else, however shouldn't something be said about after some time?

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