How to Deal with an Unsupportive Partner

woman refuses cake from man spouse partner who is offering it to her

An unsupportive partner makes a hard job even harder. Creating healthy habits is difficult enough without having a partner who sabotages your efforts, either intentionally or unintentionally.

If your partner isn’t on board with your fitness goals, don’t give up! With some understanding, a shifted mindset, and some simple changes, you can continue to pursue your goals without sacrificing your relationship.

TALK TO YOUR PARTNER

The first thing to do is to start with why. Talk to your partner, coming from a place of understanding, to determine what is driving their behavior. Do they feel jealous? Threatened? Insecure? Oftentimes, spouses are coming from a place of love and concern, even if they don’t always show it in constructive ways. They may feel that their feelings and opinions are disregarded when we set out to create healthier lifestyles for ourselves.

Your partner may also feel left out or less important than before you started making changes. This can lead to nitpicking, criticism, or passive-aggressive behavior in order to get us to stop pursuing our goals. These behaviors can be difficult to deal with because even if we know that their intentions are good, the actions are hurtful.

Try to find a common ground by establishing expectations and boundaries. This will allow you to maintain respect and support while still allowing each other space and freedom to pursue your goals.

In an otherwise healthy relationship, having honest communication with your partner can go a long way toward helping them understand how to best support you.

If you’re unable to find common ground, continue to pursue your goals and find your support elsewhere.

FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Having an unsupportive partner doesn’t mean there aren’t other people in your life who will be a great source of support. Create a support system of family members, friends, co-workers, or even online communities (try ours!) who will cheer you on as you work toward your fitness ambitions. This will also provide accountability so that if you find yourself slipping up or feeling discouraged, someone else is here to help pick up the pieces and encourage you back on track.

ENLIST PROFESSIONAL HELP

If necessary, enlist professional help from a personal trainer or registered dietitian who can guide and motivate you through the process of reaching your fitness goals—no matter how unsupportive your partner may be at home. A professional can provide insight and advice tailored specifically for you that would otherwise be unavailable at home. In addition to offering support, they’ll be able to offer personalized workout plans, nutrition tips, and other resources that are designed specifically for helping individuals achieve their specific fitness objectives. (This is what we do best! If you need help, please contact us!)

IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE

Can’t hire help? Use the following tips to get headed in the right direction.

1. Remember that with an online community and limitless online resources, you’re never really alone.

You can find free workouts, solid nutrition advice, and people who will point you in the right direction and help you along the way. You don’t have to have expensive supplements, fancy equipment, or specialty foods.

2. Find an activity that you genuinely enjoy doing. The key to successful long-term fitness is finding something that energizes and motivates you. If running isn’t your thing, then try something else like swimming or yoga! You may even find that joining a class or club related to this activity will make it easier for you stay on track with your goals – plus it’s a great way to meet new people who share similar interests.

3. Make small but consistent changes in your diet. Not everyone has time (or money) for big dietary overhauls right away, so start small and build up over time. Start with tracking what you are actually eating. Self-awareness is imperative for long-lasting changes. Then start making small, manageable changes. This could mean adding more fruits and vegetables into each meal, cutting out sugary drinks, or only eating until 80% full – whatever works best for you! Remember that anything worth having takes time, so give yourself grace if progress seems slow at first.

4. Prioritize self-care activities like getting enough sleep and taking breaks throughout the day. Self-care plays an essential role in staying healthy both physically and mentally. By taking care of yourself first, you will be better able to tackle any tasks or challenges that come your way. (Think of the airplane instructions to put your mask on first.) Take a few minutes for yourself each day. Whether it’s for meditation or just getting bed early, ensuring sure your own needs are met will help keep motivation high and stress levels low. These are vitally important when working towards fitness goals without support from your partner.

Making positive, long-term changes require tenacity, determination, and a step outside of that comfort zone. It’s possible it will create tension with your partner, but with clear communication and realistic goals, you can pursue them even without their support. Remember, you don’t need anyone else’s approval, validation, or permission to pursue your fitness goals. With some focus and determination, you can achieve success without their support! EVERYONE deserves a healthy body that helps them feel strong and confident. And that includes you.

Do you have additional advice for dealing with an unsupportive partner? Please comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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