So you’re ready to dive headfirst into a healthy lifestyle, but your partner is not. You even try to incorporate them into your newly found habits, but they are not feeling it. This can be hard to manage, especially when you live together. What do you do? Here are five ways to handle a partner not ready for a healthy lifestyle.
Set The Example
Relationships tend to affect food choices and weight. If your relationship is centered around food-related activities, it can be a substantial environmental change if you decide to switch those dynamics drastically. Invite your partner to participate in your new behaviors to build a new dynamic in your relationship, but don’t push them. Studies show that when one partner is involved in a healthy lifestyle, the other is likely to adopt the same behavior. However, if you push them too hard, it can create friction in your relationship. Continue to set the example, and let them join in their own time.
Just because you decide to change does not mean your partner is ready for the exact change, so set boundaries with your newfound life choices. If you’re used to eating out all the time as a bonding experience, try to create a new bonding experience that you both enjoy. Also, set expectations around grocery shopping and cooking. Be on the same page with how you will handle those activities, so you are not forcing behaviors on each other. You may need to cook separately to find common ground.
Finally, if having unhealthy food in the house tempts you, ask your partner to have a separate area for those foods to support your goals. Negotiate terms with your spouse to help manage your goals and their chosen habits. According to a study, lack of negotiation between partners in the adherence to lifestyle changes after a cardiac event resulted in a barrier to change.
Don’t be afraid to do you.
Just because your spouse is not on board, it does not mean you cannot take this journey on your own. You may not be able to control the environment, but you can control your behavior. Take the time to learn what works best for you when adopting a healthy lifestyle. Find activities you like doing and foods you enjoy. If you feel you need to involve your partner, tell them your goals and ask them to hold you accountable. Maybe the consistency will rub off on them.
Find Your Community
Instead of imposing your new way of life on your spouse, lean on your community as a support system. Having the support of like-minded people to help share challenges is vital to sustained change. Anyway, it’s important to have autonomy in a relationship, and it’s okay to have your own thing to focus on without pressuring your partner to follow you.
Make it About You, Not Them.
Don’t criticize your partner for not joining you in your health goals. Remember, this is something you took on for yourself, and putting them down for their chosen habits doesn’t help. This might even make them less likely to join you in being healthier. Instead of criticizing, take an interest in something new they are doing and support them. By supporting each other’s individual goals, you can bring a sense of harmony to the household.
Remember Why You Started
Overall, if you decided to make a healthy change on your own, it’s okay to be prepared to take the journey yourself. Although your spouse may support your decision to change, give them the grace if they are not ready to join you. Every relationship is different, so communicate your needs with your partner to set yourself up for success without causing conflict.