Here's What To Do If Your Partner Is Selfish, According to Experts
Despite how much you and your partner love each other, there are probably a few things that get on your nerves about them, and vice versa. Maybe it's the way they never compromise on anything — whether it's the restaurants you go to or how you spend your weekends, it's always what they want. Their disregard for compromise could be a sign that your partner thinks of themselves, and themselves only. But figuring out what to do if your partner is selfish can be incredibly difficult, especially if bae doesn't even realize how they're acting.
"If you feel your partner is being selfish — they are not taking into consideration your needs, preferences, desires, concerns — it’s important to bring their attention [to] the situation, not [to the fact] that they are being 'selfish,'" Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. "Let them know that in this situation you would like to let them know what you want, need, and are concerned about. It is quite possible that while they are being selfish, they may also have blinders on and may not even realize that you are concerned or [that] they are hurting you."
It can be important to cut your partner some slack, however, especially if you know serious relationships are new to them. Maybe you're their first legitimate SO in a while, or even ever, so they may not be used to compromising in a romantic relationship. Selfishness can "come out of a lack of understanding and experience about relationships, compromise, and sharing," Dr. Klapow says. "For some, being in a relationship may be the first time they have not been able to 'have it all' the way they want it all the time."
Being selfish may even go down to your partner's core. "If this is their default personality style, then it is their job to work against that in order to be a better partner," Dr. Klapow states. "They can learn to think selfishly automatically, and then refine or compromise before they take action. Their first impulse may be selfishness, but they can learn to modify their approach." Bae's default may be to be selfish, and yours may be the exact opposite. Everyone's different, and that's not always a bad thing. However, you're allowed to ask for more in your relationship, especially when that "more" is compromise.
But just because your partner doesn't know how to compromise, doesn't mean they can't learn to. Chris Armstrong, relationship coach and founder of Maze Of Love, says walking away from the relationship should be the last resort. There are a couple things he suggests trying to work on with your partner before ending your relationship.
"The first is to approach your partner and express your concerns," he tells Elite Daily. When you're figuring out what to say to your partner, Armstrong recommends having concrete examples of times that you felt your boo could've compromised (at least a little), and they didn't. "Their reaction during this conversation means everything," he states. "If they're indifferent or unapologetic, move to step three, [walking away]. If, however, they seem sincerely apologetic and want to fix it, work with them but keep your needs out front." What that means is, don't just let it go once they say they were wrong and are going to do something about it. "Make sure they do," he says. "Which brings me to step two: pull back a little. Sometimes people need to see what it means to lose the effort of their partner in order to understand how it feels."
When you bring your partner's selfishness up to them, licensed psychologist Jennifer B. Rhodes suggests making the focus of the conversation something that personally affected you. "It is not helpful to blame the person," she tells Elite Daily. "Rather, it is more constructive to ask what their perception of the situation is, and then stand up for yourself. If the two of you can have a productive conversation about it, the selfish behavior is less concerning."
Ultimately, what the success of moving past this situation comes down to is whether or not your partner is willing to make the changes you feel you need them to make, and if you're willing to work with them to get there. "There is always a way to work through things, if that is what both people want," Dr. Rhodes says. If your partner is selfish, they may have more to work on than you do, but a relationship is a partnership. If you want your partner to learn to compromise, it'll be beneficial for both of you to work together.