What To Do When You Don't Like Your Partner At The Moment

Co-Founder of Inner Bonding By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of Inner Bonding
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, relationship expert, and Inner Bonding® facilitator.
What To Do When You Don't Like Your Partner At The Moment

When you fell in love with your partner, what did you fall in love with? Physical attraction? Emotional connection? Caring and kindness? Sense of humor and having fun together? Ability to communicate easily? Great sex? Feeling like you've always known each other? Common interests? Common values? Common music? Common food?

How long into the relationship did it take you to start to focus on what you don't like or value about your partner? Not staying connected enough or spending enough time together? Too messy or too neat? Not being on time? Not showering often enough? Neediness? Anger? Lack of a way of resolving conflict? Staying connected with an ex?

These two different sides of your partner—the parts you like and the parts you don't—actually reflect every individual person's two different aspects. All of us have our true essential soul self, and our ego self that is controlling, wounded, and programmed.

Seeing each other's wounded egos.

Every single one of us gets wounded in childhood from various forms of rejection, neglect, or abuse, and from our painful experiences, we absorb many false beliefs—and those beliefs become our wounded ego, which is housed in the lower part of our brain called the amygdala. We might have decided on these beliefs at the time of our wounding, or they might have become programmed into our lower brain from parents, teachers, peers, and the media.

Our wounded self often isn't the aspect of us that we present at the beginning of a relationship. In fact, it might take months or even longer before we begin to see the other's wounded self. The wounded self comes out when we feel fearful of losing ourselves or losing our partner, and then we try to have control over our partner with anger, blame, judgment, compliance, or resistance to manage our fears. Obviously, this causes problems in relationships, which get resolved only when each partner takes responsibility for their own feelings. Oftentimes, we instead see our partner as the one who is responsible for our feelings, and so we try to control them to make ourselves feel better. Learning to make ourselves the sole person responsible for our own feelings is the key to working through almost any problem in a relationship.

No one falls in love with someone's wounded self. In fact, no one likes anyone else's wounded self.


How gratitude can help you shift the way you view your partner.

One of the most important choices you can make in your relationship is to focus on what you value in your partner—which is likely what you fell in love with—rather than on what you don't like (aka their wounded self that's acting out due to fear). The more you focus on what you don't like, the more you manifest this in your relationship—because that's where your focus is, so of course you'll start to feel like you're noticing more of those frustrating qualities.

Likewise, the more you focus on what you love about your partner and frequently express your gratitude for who they are in their true essential soul self, the more you will experience their wonderful qualities in your relationship with them.

Think about it. Consider your response when your partner says to you:

  • "Um—you smell great," rather than "You stink."
  • "I love your laughter," rather than "I can't stand your moodiness."
  • "I love our time together," rather than "We never spend time together."
  • "I love it when we laugh and are so connected with each other," rather than "You are always too distant."
  • "Thank you for being open to resolving this conflict with me," rather than "Why are you always so defensive?"
  • "Thank you for being on time," rather than "I can't deal with your lateness."

You get the idea. Your wounded self might think that judging your partner will give you control over getting what you want, but this is a major false belief. If you pay attention, you'll start to notice that both judging yourself and judging your partner (or others) brings about what you don't want rather than what you do want. Rather than changing your partner's behavior, your judgment pushes them away.

Try focusing on expressing what you truly appreciate about your partner and see what happens. Here are a few ways to practice that:

  1. Be aware of when you feel connected with your partner or when the two of you are having fun together. Comment aloud to them about how much you enjoy and appreciate it.
  2. When the two of you are able to explore and resolve a conflict together without an argument or defensiveness, let your partner know how much you appreciate it.
  3. Be aware of when you are feeling sad or upset and your partner is there for you exactly the way you need. Express your gratitude for their caring.

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