10 Ways To Deal With An Unsupportive Partner

There’s nothing worse than having a partner who’s not supportive. Even if your dreams seem a little outlandish, anything is possible with hard work and a bunch of encouragement and your partner should be your number one cheerleader. Here’s how to handle a relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to be on your side.

  1. Ask yourself if this is a trend. If you’ve been dating someone for years and this seems to be the first time they’ve been unsupportive, ask yourself why. Maybe they have issues with your plan that they’re uncomfortable telling you about. If your partner is normally behind anything you do 100%, this isn’t as much of a personality trait than something very specific to the situation at hand. He has a right to his opinion, and it may very well be different from yours.
  2. Be compassionate towards him and your proposed life plan. Maybe you’re subconsciously not very supportive of their projects and goals and they’re just projecting that onto you. Sit down and talk about the whole future with your partner. Maybe they’re just feeling a little excluded by your most recent idea. See if you share any similar goals and try to figure out a plan together. If they continue to be negative or almost seems controlling over what you will and won’t do, then it may be time to separate.
  3. Truly listen to what they have to say. There’s a good chance they’re not a monster — they’re just viewing the situation from a completely different perspective. Before you write them off and get into a fight about it, listen to them and take it all to heart. If they have your best interests in mind, it’s worth thinking about.
  4. Always keep them informed. Maybe your boyfriend doesn’t know how much research you’ve put into your planned move or work promotion. Maybe they’re just hearing snippets and don’t know how badly you want something to change. Or, if you’re starting a business, perhaps they don’t know that you’re looking into buildings and permits and loans — maybe they just assume that you’re hoping they’ll take the lead. Tell them what you’re doing and don’t spare the details. If they’re still not supportive, don’t use that as an excuse to stop.
  5. Admit your own reservations. This will prove to them that you’re not just willingly jumping into a project that’s destined to fail. Showing them that you’re aware of the pros and cons will help keep the conversation open, and also let them know that you’re not acting on a whim.
  6. Go to a counselor. This might be a big issue with communication. If they’re willing to bring a third person into the debate, a professional is much better than a friend. It might help both of you open up, and also work out any issues that are plaguing your relationship. It’s worth giving a shot, especially if you can see the two of you having a future together.
  7. Stay optimistic. When someone is being unsupportive, there’s a lot of unnecessary negativity you’ll have to deal with. They want to bring you down. If you want to go to med school and they’re talking you out of it, especially since it doesn’t fit into their own future goals, you need to remind yourself that this is your future at stake as well. Tell them that not going isn’t in the cards, but you’re willing to work out other compromises so that you’re not both miserable.
  8. Figure out if you need them to execute your plan. You should never force someone into something they don’t want to do, especially if it’s a big life change. For example, if you’re planning on running a food truck but you need them to be the chef, their being unsupportive is more about them not sharing your dream. Don’t be afraid to be independent. At the end of the day, the only support you truly need is from yourself. If you want something enough, you’ll learn that you’ll always have to be the driving force in order to get it.
  9. Try a trial separation. This one isn’t ideal, but if you both play under the same rules, it could be good. A breather might make you re-evaluate everything. How much do you depend on them? How much is his lack of support really affecting you? Are you happier now that their pessimism isn’t in your face?
  10. Remember, you can’t please everyone. If you’re thinking about going to school in California while they want you to stay on the east coast, you have to follow your heart. They’re likely being unsupportive because they don’t know if they can handle a long-distance relationship. Ask yourself if you’ll regret not taking that chance. Usually, your goals are more important than who you’re dating. If they break up with you in a year, which may happen, you might become extra hurt that you didn’t follow through with your original plan. You owe it to yourself to live the life you want to live.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.