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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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How Do I Make Him Change?

April 2001


“Can he really change? Will she do what I ask?” I am often asked these questions. People invariably want to know if their partners are capable of change. I always answer in the same way, “Only if he or she wants to change.” So the next question always involves what is the best way to make the partner make the wanted changes.


There is no way that anyone will change if they are not ready to. It does not matter what games you play, what blackmail you pull, how many tears you shed or what threats you make. They may attempt to change. They may even do some slight difference in their behavior. But no real change will happen unless they want the change.


“So what do I do?” Assume that your partner will not change and plan accordingly. You need to ask yourself if you can live with the behavior. You may need to change some of your expectations or wants. You may need to do more. Or you may decide that you cannot live with your partner unless changes are made. In this case, you need to calmly tell your partner that you are leaving and why. This is not an ultimatum. This is taking care of yourself. Your partner may choose to change at that point. Or may not. But you need to be clear that you are taking care of yourself.


None of this is easy. Taking care of yourself is rarely easy if you are used to being focused on others. You are the only one who knows what you need to be happy. If you do not take care of yourself no one else will.


Otherwise, you will have someone asking about you, “What can I do to make him or her change?”


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