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12 ways to get through to your stubborn partner and “win” the battle sometimes

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A quick check on the definition of ‘stubborn’ and a look at its synonyms can leave you in no doubt of the negative associations of this particular personality trait.

Stubborn (adj): having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.


obstinate · mulish · headstrong · willful · strong-willed · self-willed · pig-headed · bull-headed · obdurate · awkward · difficult · contrary · perverse

I’m not saying stubbornness is an entirely negative character trait, but it certainly poses some problems.

So, what’s the secret to dealing with a stubborn partner?

Well, the following techniques and approaches should help you smooth out your interactions and cope better with their stubbornness.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you deal with a stubborn partner. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. Try to remain emotionally balanced.

Getting angry and showing your emotions in the face of your partner’s stubbornness isn’t going to help.

You need to keep calm.

So, before you discuss a topic that you know is likely to raise tensions, take some time to de-stress and prepare yourself emotionally.

Taking 10 deep breaths can help.

During the conversation, if you feel the heat rising, pause for a few moments or even leave the room to compose yourself.

Your words will be way more effective if you’re calm and collected rather than foaming at the mouth with rage.

2. Choose your moment wisely.

Timing matters a lot when it comes to facing up to your stubborn partner.

If they are stressed out with work or preoccupied with other matters, it is not a good time to raise a thorny issue.

Choose a time when there are no outside distractions and you can both focus clearly.

Make sure neither of you is hungry and stress levels are low so that you both have the mental and emotional capacity to discuss things respectfully.

3. Start by expressing your love for them.

It’s easy to forget to be loving when your partner’s stubbornness is causing problems in your relationship.

Be sure to let your partner know you love them as you begin the discussion.

With this reassurance and display of vulnerability, even the most stubborn partner will be more willing to compromise to prove their love for you in return.

4. Massage their ego.

Since stubborn people think their way is always the best way, they don’t take kindly to being told that there are different ways to approach things.

They may even see such a suggestion as a personal attack, even if that wasn’t your intention.

So, get them on side by starting with a bit of flattery and making them feel good about themselves.

And make sure you get across that your suggestion is going to benefit them. This will make their ego happy and them more likely to consider your way of thinking.

5. Don’t tell them they’re flat-out wrong.

Your stubborn partner won’t want to hear that they’re wrong (even if you think they are).

Saying something like “You’re coming at this from the wrong angle,” or, worse still, “I don’t understand how you get this so wrong” is like waving a red cloak at a charging bull.

They’ll shut down completely and you’ll never get through.

Instead, make it clear that you appreciate their point of view and value their opinions.

Tell them they have some great ideas which you’ve considered carefully. You feel that these could be the answer in a different situation, but perhaps not the one you’re facing right now.

6. Make sure they have all the facts.

One trait stubborn people tend to share is a fear of the unknown.

Their resistance to doing something may be down to it being something they’ve never done before, or because it upsets their usual routine.

It’s important to make sure they have all the facts—this will help them to feel more confident about it.

Stress the benefits to them and they’ll see that whatever you’re proposing isn’t as daunting as they think.

7. Stick to your guns from time to time.

Your stubborn partner is likely used to getting their own way because you tend to cave in when faced with their strong views.

But you are no doormat and are entitled to have it your way sometimes.

You need to stand firm on occasion.

Remember: if you never say no, there’s no incentive for your partner to change their ways.

The next time you disagree over a particular choice—even if it’s only which movie to watch—tell them you’ll go and see it with a friend instead, or just vote with your feet.

They’ll be a bit shocked, sure, but they’ll begin to see you as someone they can’t easily manipulate.

Not conceding will likely make your stubborn partner more respectful of your needs and wants in the future.

8. Help them to understand how much it means to you.

Stubborn people can be staunch partners who don’t give up easily on a relationship. Use this to your advantage.

If they truly care about you, then hearing why something means so much to you will help persuade them to let you have it your way.

They’ll understand that it’s not just about being right or wrong, but about fulfilling your needs and desires.

So be sure to tell them why going with your suggestion rather than theirs will make you happy.

9. A bit of give and take can work wonders.

Living in harmony with a stubborn person requires a level of acceptance that you may not have things entirely your way.

With a bit of compromise and negotiation, you may, however, be able to meet in the middle somewhere.

Progress can be slow, so you’ll need to be patient—it may take quite a few baby steps for your stubborn partner to concede some ground.

Your efforts, though, will gradually be repaid with a better balance between your partner’s wants and your own needs.

10. Be confident.

The key to handling stubborn people is to be confident about your own ideas.

As soon as you wobble or waver, their willingness to consider your perspective will lessen and anything you have to say is likely to fall on deaf ears.

Whereas, acting as if your idea is the best in the world will make them think you really know your stuff and are worth listening to.

Keep your head up, maintain eye contact, and stand up tall—this will help to boost your own confidence and make your ideas sound more convincing.

11. Don’t tell them they’re stubborn!

This is absolutely the last thing they’ll want to hear because they are, let’s face it, stubborn.

It’ll make them defensive, and they’ll dig their heels in further still. They’ll clam up and be even more resistant to change.

It may be the hardest thing to resist asking “Why are you so stubborn?”, but give in to the temptation at your peril.

12. Pick your arguments carefully.

It can be exhausting to fight your corner against a partner who is inflexible and strong-willed.

Picking your battles is key to handling them.

The reality is that, if you’re dealing with a truly stubborn individual, your ‘wins’ may be relatively rare.

If this is the case, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether a particular issue is worth locking horns over.

Perhaps choosing where you eat on your next date night is not a big deal to you, but whether you spend Thanksgiving with your family or theirs may be crucial.

Save your energy for the important stuff.

Still not sure what to do about your stubborn partner? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out.

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About The Author

Working as a freelance copywriter, Juliana is following a path well-trodden by her family, who seem to have 'wordsmithing' in their DNA. She'll turn her quill to anything from lifestyle and wellness articles to blog posts and SEO articles. All this is underpinned by a lifetime of travel, cultural exchange and her love of the richly expressive medium of the English language.