How to change your relationship without drama

While ending a relationship is pretty difficult, it’s at least straightforward. There’s no negotiation. You’re just delivering bad news.

As my coaching client recently experienced, changing a relationship to better suit your preferences as a harder transition.

In his case, she clearly wants more intimacy and commitment than he’s currently willing to give. But he wants to maintain a relationship with her that’s more free and less intense.

It’s hard to get across that you want something different to what they’ve expected or what they prefer without them feeling like they’re being rejected entirely. But there are some simple tactical things you can say to really help them receive the message.

First and foremost, you want to have the frame this is a conflict that the two of us are going to solve together. A great way to project this frame is to avoid using the word “but” as in, “I really like you, but I want this thing to change”, which just sounds like they’re getting rejected.

Instead you say, “I have a conflict. I really like you, and I want to continue seeing you. For that to happen, we’d need to change how this relationship works to make me feel more x, y, and z…” – (e.g. free, safe, etc.). – “How do we resolve this so that we can stay together?”

If you can present it like that, they’ll be much more open and much less defensive.

This does not guarantee they’ll respond positively. At least you’ll find out if you have a future.

For more on this topic, check out my video “How to confront your wife about small issues if you’re a Nice Guy”:

One Response

  1. Be prepared for a conversation like this to go for a while, and that they will resist and negotiate – they might even have better ideas!

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