When you’re in a relationship with someone, there are some things you know right away, almost without even realising that you know them. And there are some things that you don’t discover until later on, as your relationship progresses and takes hold. They’re part of what you love about the other person — or, at least, they’re not slightly annoying yet — but what about the habits that maybe aren’t so healthy?
Below are useful tips on how to address your partner’s bad habits
Quitting smoking requires a lot of support. If you’re going to talk to your partner about their smoking habit, it’s of the utmost importance that you approach the topic with understanding, empathy, and support. As smokefree.gov notes, if they mention they’re even slightly considering quitting, make sure you respond positively and without any sort of judgment. You can also bring up the topic by asking if they’ve ever thought about quitting or mentioning information you’ve recently seen, heard, or read about smoking.
Those who are in relationships with high-functioning alcoholics feel that it’s difficult at times to connect with their partner emotionally. It’s absolutely essential that any conversation with your partner about his or her drinking habits should take place when everyone is sober (though having the conversation while your partner is hungover is OK.
Talking about unhealthy eating or weight gain can be a really sensitive conversation. It’s important to remember that your partner may have associations with eating specific foods or gaining weight that are more complicated or upsetting than you may initially understand. Staying calm and trying to be sensitive are good places to start. Perhaps you can let them choose a meal, and the two of you can try to make whatever it is a bit healthier. It’s a start. Compromise and be patient.
Talking about money — budgets, debt, salaries, savings, and investments — can be a bit awkward. So, naturally, if you’re concerned about your partner’s unhealthy financial habits, it can be really important to bring up the topic in conversation.
When you have a conversation about money, debt, and finances, don’t simply point the finger at every way you think your partner has fallen short. No one is perfect. Instead, consider talking about things you both can do that can make your financial habits healthier.
Avoiding the gym
For most people, there are days here and there when the last place they want to be is in the gym. That’s entirely understandable. Some days, the motivation just isn’t there. If you’re frustrated about your partner’s expert avoiding tactics, it can be difficult to know exactly how to bring it up. You don’t want to make them feel bad about themselves or their body. It might help if you two make some compromises to figure out a way to work out together.
Once you start the conversation, be gentle and kind, above all. Tell your partner how their habits make you feel, and then let them speak. Don’t make the entire conversation about how you feel.
People who are stressed out are sometimes difficult to reason with, and if you don’t recognise that it’s probably stress, you might think there’s something else wrong. Being kind and understanding is of the utmost importance when you ask if things are OK. After you ask an initial question, stop and listen. It’s extremely important to remember to comfort your partner, instead of simply skipping directly to the problem-solving stage. Also, ask how they think you can help, rather than simply deciding what you’re going to do yourself.