Being pushy usually backfires in a relationship or marriage. The image of the domineering, controlling man and also that of the harping, “pit bull” woman come to mind when we talk about being pushy.
Nobody likes to feel pushed around. Pushiness tends to bring up reactions of defensiveness, emotionally shutting down and outright hostility.
But we understand why people get pushy. If there are things that your partner does that frustrate you, exerting some pressure on him or her to change might be your impulse. If your partner’s habits seem disrespectful, hurtful or like a betrayal to you, we can see how you might push for some significant changes.
After all, as relationship advice will tell you, you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect and love. You are worthy of the relationship you most desire.
Being pushy doesn’t often work, but sometimes it can be effective… if done correctly. Here are 4 times when it’s okay to be pushy in your relationship.
1. When you have reached a non-negotiable
If you’ve reached a non-negotiable with your partner, it might be wise for you to get pushy. Your pushiness could be your firm declaration that you won’t tolerate _____. Your pushiness might also be an honest statement of what you will do if your non-negotiable is not honoured.
Be careful! Declaring that something is a non-negotiable for you is not meant to be manipulation or ultimatum. Be honest with yourself first. If you are open to discussion and maybe even some flexibility, don’t push or make threats.
However, if you are truly willing to stand your ground at all costs, even the option of ending the relationship if you have to, be clear about what your non-negotiable is. This could be a powerful wake-up call for your partner.
You might be inwardly pushy too. The fact that your non-negotiable is not being honoured might mean it’s time to face up to and make that difficult decision about whether to stay in the relationship or to leave it.
2. When you keep sabotaging yourself and relationship
We all have a few (or more) habits that simply don’t serve us or our relationship. These can include jealousy, mistrust, flirting, yelling, withholding sex when angry, and many more.
If you continually stand in the way of the happiness and connection you seek with your love, get pushy with yourself and get curious. This can be uncomfortable and maybe even painful. It’s too easy to keep doing what you’ve always done, even if it means keeping the sabotage going.
Even if you’re resistant, push yourself to better understand what motivates you to do whatever it is that you habitually do. Don’t look for excuses for why you are jealous; for instance, look for old wounds or limiting beliefs that might be keeping your jealousy thriving while your relationship suffers.
Get a clearer view of what forms of sabotage you regularly engage in and what is at the bottom of these habits. Next, take steps to heal, change your beliefs, and try something new in your relationship and life.
3. When you both keep tip-toeing around a certain subject
Call it the elephant in your relationship if you like. If you and your partner are locked in a stalemate, you may have come to some unspoken agreement to simply ignore whatever it is you are stuck on. If you or your partner are afraid of upsetting one another, you might avoid the tricky topic at all costs. Including the cost of healthy communication and connection.
If you’ve realized that you and your partner keep tip-toeing around that proverbial elephant in the room, stop. It’s probably time to get a little pushy and courageously bring up whatever the issue is.
Again, a caution. Being pushy about a tricky topic has to be done with care. Being pushy about it does not entail making your partner wrong or to blame. It is not about insisting that “your way” is the only way or that you are the innocent victim in the situation.
Being pushy can mean that you say something like this to your partner: “I notice that neither you nor I seem to be willing to talk about ______. I would like to have some conversations about this and I am willing to be honest with you about how I feel, and to really listen to how you feel and to what you want.”
You can follow up words like this with an invitation for you and your partner to sit down when you both can really focus and feel safe communicating about the issue.
4. When you know it’s time for a big change
There are some very unhealthy habits that couples can fall into. These can include neglecting one another’s needs and treating one another cruelly, or maybe even abusive and violently. If unhealthy habits have developed in your relationship, be pushy. Push yourself and possibly your partner to make a big change.
If you are being abused, the push might be your decision to get yourself to a safe space away from your partner, temporarily or maybe permanently. In other situations, the push could be to seek help from a professional coach or therapist.
Other times, the push might be to make different choices. Perhaps it’s time to put slightly less emphasis on your career and a little more on your relationship. Make a choice that is right for you and share that intention with your partner. Create agreements that will help you both follow through.
Push yourself to have the healthiest and most harmonious and connected relationship you desire.