You want more from your romantic partner in your relationship. More time, more attention, more respect, more love, more understanding. How do you get your romantic partner to give you more of what you need and want? You give your partner more of what he or she needs and wants.
Most couples go in the opposite direction. You’re not getting what you want from your partner, so you withhold, you resist, you sleep on the couch, you spend more time at the office. You essentially try to “starve out” your partner. If she goes hungry long enough, you tell yourself, surely she will finally give in and start treating you better. Of course, your partner is using the same strategy, so you both end up starving.
If you really want to “teach your partner a valuable lesson,” you do so by example. Yelling, lecturing and criticizing won’t get you there. Neither will the silent treatment or polite avoidance. You get more by giving more. Maybe you’re waiting on your partner to make the first move. I’ll spend more quality time with her when she stops nagging me. So you spend less and less time with your partner and she nags you more and more about not spending enough time with her. It’s a vicious cycle.
Go From Starving to Thriving
You are 50% of the problem in your relationship. However, you are 100% responsible for your own happiness within that relationship. It takes guts and grit to take the first step toward your partner, especially when you’ve been locked into an exhausting standoff for years. Commit to a period of time of going all in. (Couples counseling can be especially productive during this time.) Commit to better meeting your partner’s needs and wants even if he or she doesn’t initially meet you halfway. At the end of this time period, are you getting more of what you want and need from this relationship? If so, great. Keep doing what you’re doing and your relationship will continue to grow deeper and deeper roots. But if not, what then? Then you have two options: You stay in a stagnant relationship, feeling like a victim. Or you leave.