The longer you're in a relationship with someone, the harder it is to overlook their annoying habits. Whether it's smoking, poor eating habits or cracking knuckles, what once was maybe cute or endearing is now downright "nails on a chalkboard". Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of the Engagement Coach, provides tips for helping your partner break those nasty habits!
Address the problem and identify the bad habits
Your partner may not even be aware of what they're doing to bother you, so first and foremost, let him/her know what is bothersome and how their habits are affecting you. Talk to your partner from a place of compassion and understanding, and avoid being critical at all cost.
Talk about the temptation and provide empathy
Find out more information! Ask your partner what is tempting about their habits and what is satisfying about performing them? What are they feeling before they do it and do they even know they're doing it? Are they trying to stop the habit and keep slipping up? Let your partner know you're on their side, and you understand it might take time. Being pushy or preachy will only make them feel like a child, likely creating a defensive partner who feels judged and unsupported.
Ask your partner what you can do to help
Assuming you know best will only set your partner up for failure. So, ask what you can do to help and then listen to their request! You can't change someone else's behavior, and you're only responsible for your actions. If you truly want to help your partner change, you have to be supportive and allow it to be their process.
Don't be part of the problem
If your partner is trying to lose weight, don't bring fried chicken and ice cream home for dinner! When a person is trying to kick a bad habit, everything looks tempting. You can't expect your partner to have the ultimate level of will power while you enjoy a tempting grease-dripping dinner. Choose activities, food, etc. that encourages him/her to change in a positive direction.
Pick your battles
The ultimate long-term relationship advice! You can't change someone who doesn't want to change. If you've tried all of these tips, and your partner just isn't ditching those nasty habits, they're likely here to stay. Find a way to accept them or to set boundaries around them.
For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and free relationship tips, please visit her website at www.TheEngagementCoach.com