13 Ways To Deal With A Selfish Partner

Practical ways that help you stand your ground and regain control over your life.

Reviewed by Bayu Prihandito, Life Coach Bayu Prihandito Bayu PrihanditoLife Coach facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Shivani Chandel MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years

Being in a relationship with a selfish person can be tough. Wondering how to deal with a selfish partner? Selfish people are classic gaslighters. You keep going out of your way to keep them happy but get nothing in return, which causes resentment toward them and yourself in the long run. Instead of getting hurt, we can tell you ways to deal with a selfish partner. It is time to secure the respect you deserve and stand your ground. After all, relationships are a two-way street. Keep reading to learn how to deal with a selfish partner. Scroll down!

13 Ways To Deal With A Selfish Partner

1. Talk About It Openly

Holding things in will only create a bigger mess. If your partner ignores your effort and does not take the initiative to make life better for both of you, it needs to be discussed. Open your heart, express to them how you feel, and what you expect from them. Tell them what is bothering you and taking an emotional toll. Remember to be subtle – do not argue or scream as it may only worsen the situation.

2. Encourage Empathy

Help your partner inculcate empathy by discussing the impact of their selfish behavior on you and the relationship. Try encouraging them to see things from your point of view and make them understand the feelings and emotions you are going through. This may help them see the error in their ways and turn compassionate towards your needs and concerns, reducing selfishness in the relationship. Also, encourage your partner to practice self-reflection by reflecting on past experiences and conflicts, thereby giving them better clarity about their behavior and the way it affects the relationship. Lastly, practicing empathy in a relationship can not only help strengthen your connection but places each partner in other’s shoes so they understand each other on a deeper level.

3. Tell Your Partner The Real Deal

If your partner is selfish and focuses primarily on themself, talking about the need to change can make things easy. But do not make it sound imposing. Sit back and have a mature talk with them, explaining how minor changes can improve the relationship. Use “I” sentences instead of “You” when addressing issues. Your partner might feel cornered if you approach them by saying, “You have been doing this.” Instead, say, “I have been feeling this,” so they realize that you are only expressing how you feel and not blaming them. If changes are for good, they are very well appreciated, and there is no harm in tweaking things a little to make life better for both of you.

4. Focus On Yourself

If your partner is rigid about things and unwilling to change, take a different path. Focus on self-care and invest more in yourself by devoting time to the things you like. If you are passionate about music or dancing, go for it! Improve your skills, develop new hobbies, and keep yourself occupied. Such activities will keep you motivated and enhance your self-esteem. Remember that self-care includes being at peace in your life. This means avoiding or getting rid of anything or anyone that can impose on your peace. This could also mean leaving when you struggle too much, and your partner refuses to change.

5. Follow Turn-Taking Experiment

A turn-taking experiment works best when you already have a solution to your problem before discussing it with your partner. It works by talking, listening, and finding solutions one by one. When one partner talks, the other listens, and the speaker comes up with a favorable solution. This procedure helps understand what both of you expect from each other.

6. Establish Your Worth

The problem aggravates when you let your partner step over or dominate you. Never lose your worth and understand that you do not deserve this treatment. So, pursue your interests and establish a connection with people who value you and your opinions. It will help enhance your self-worth and boost your confidence that you are no less.

7. Show Them The Power Of Two

Talk to your partner about your past experiences and how you managed to get over difficult situations with collaborative efforts. Despite accusing each other of why things went wrong, talk about the achievements of your life that you won over together. It will motivate your partner to handle situations together, no matter how small they are.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Sign up for a workshop and enjoy the experience together. Sharing such experiences fosters adaptability and mutual growth.

8. Call Them To Be Your Helping Hand

If your partner is always busy doing what interests them, speak to them to be your helping hand in what you enjoy. Tell them how you will feel if they accompany you to the things that interest you. Call your partner to help you out with breakfast or getting the kids ready for school. You can make them understand how smooth and manageable things get when done together.

9. Share Responsibilities

If you have accommodated things by yourself since the beginning, your partner might think you do not need any help. Therefore, speak up when you feel things can be done better if they share the responsibilities. If they tell how busy they stay and do not guarantee any help for the responsibilities, ask them to be available as per their convenience.

10. Set Boundaries

Set boundaries for yourself and tell your partner to respect them. Make it clear why you cannot compromise on certain things and why you expect them to regard this. Tell them how much you love them and keep them as your priority, but sometimes, you expect the same. Take note that it is important to set boundaries early on in the relationship to avoid conflicts later. Let your partner know your expectations, needs, and triggers, right from the beginning. If you keep it for later, you might come across as someone who has changed suddenly and it might confuse or disturb your partner. Moreover, consistently enforce these boundaries, especially when dealing with a partner who tends to prioritize their needs over yours. In a relationship with a selfish partner, unenforced boundaries can easily be overlooked or ignored, potentially making them completely ineffective.

11. Treat Them The Same Way

Even if you know things might go haywire, treat them the same way you get treated. Selfish people are narcissistic and tend to get offended when you treat them the same way they treat you. Make them understand how you feel when you do not see them making any efforts for you. It might help them realize the importance of caring for their partner and sharing responsibilities. However, remember to not overdo it. If this method had to yield results, it would have in the first few tries. If your partner still does not see your point, then you need to come up with alternative solutions. If you keep treating them the way they treat you to simply prove a point, soon there will be no difference between either side and matters will only get worse from there.

12. Explain How It Is Impacting The Relationship

Tell your partner how their selfish nature is affecting the relationship. This can help change their behavior and make them start putting effort lest things fall apart. However, do not expect them to change overnight. They might show interest gradually and get involved in a better manner.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Consider keeping a gratitude journal or placing a daily note in a jar with positive aspects from your day.

13. Move On Silently

Even after several attempts and endless efforts, if your selfish partner does not change, the best you can do is move on. It will be difficult, but you will not have to spend the rest of your life dealing with such issues. Know that, if a person has not changed so far despite all your attempts, they can never change in the future. They must have the will to change, accept accountability for their actions, and understand their flaws to change. If they do not do any of these, then you will be stuck in a recurring cycle of conflict with them due to their selfish nature. However, before making the final decision to move on, think carefully and seek advice from friends, family, or professionals. They may offer different perspectives and the support you need to make the best choice for yourself.

Key Takeaways

  • It is tough to have your way and hold your ground when dealing with a selfish partner.
  • Open communication and sharing responsibilities and chores may help them see the light of teamwork.
  • Setting boundaries and keeping your self-worth as a priority is important to let him/her be aware of your feelings as well.

Learn how to handle the complexities of sharing a life with a selfish spouse from the video below. Get practical insights and effective strategies for improved communication and building a healthier and balanced relationship. Click play to know more.

Being in a relationship with a selfish partner can feel draining and unfulfilling. However, there are some ways to make things better. The most important thing is to express your unmet needs and desires so they do not become suppressed, fester inside, and create resentment. In addition, setting boundaries, sharing tasks and chores, and asking for help may make your partner more responsive and considerate towards you. It is also better to appreciate little things than hold judgment and play the blame game. Hopefully, these tips on how to deal with a selfish partner can bring you some relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a selfish partner change?

Yes. A selfish partner can change as long as they have the will to. Once you have communicated your concerns to them, if they care for you enough, they will do everything to change to be better. However, if you do not see them making any efforts, they probably never will.

Is my husband a narcissist or just selfish?

The major difference between narcissism and selfishness is that narcissism is a personality disorder that can be managed with therapy as long as the person is willing to change. On the other hand, a selfish person is self-absorbed and inconsiderate towards others. They do not need therapy to change; they simply must have the will to change.

What are the signs of a selfish partner?

A selfish partner does not understand the concept of a partnership. They prioritize themselves, may not care about anybody’s opinions besides their own, do not feel the need to be involved with their partner’s life, and always take charge. They may also try to bend their partners according to their whims and fancies.

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Bayu Prihandito

Bayu PrihanditoLife Coach

Bayu Prihandito is a life coach, a certified psychology consultant, and an RYT 200 yoga teacher. He is also the founder of Life Architekture, a platform focusing on relationships, mindfulness, emotional Intelligence, and personal development. Bayu integrates his expertise to offer comprehensive and holistic guidance to his clients. His mission is to help them align their lives with their core...read full bio

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