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13 Ways To Get Your Partner Healthier

13 Ways To Get Your Partner Healthier

One of the hardest things to endure is watching a loved one self-sabotage through a plethora of unhealthy habits. You fear the long-term effects of their weekly drive-through runs and love for staying up until 2 AM regularly. Life changes involve sacrifice and are oftentimes hard to stick to because they require so much change, but with you as a support system, the transition will be less stressful. Here are 13 ways to get your partner healthier:

1. Start first

You can’t very well suggest that your partner start eating clean and exercising regularly if you aren’t doing the same. Start first. Try cooking a healthy meal a few times a week or taking a walk around the neighborhood after work. If your partner sees you making changes, they will be more inclined to do the same. Your ability to take charge of your own lifestyle will make it less of a threat than you confronting them first.

2. Keep the changes small

Too much at one time can overwhelm your partner. Rather than clean out the cabinets or splurge on new running gear, start with one healthy meal per week. Walk the dog for 10 minutes longer than you usually would. After you get comfortable, increase the number of healthy meals or suggest a walk around the neighborhood without the dog. Making changes one step at a time will help your partner adjust more easily.

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3. Get their friends involved

Express to his or her friends how much your partner’s health means to you, and then ask them to participate in the process. Invite them over for a barbecue and ask everyone to bring a healthy side. Plan group events like a soccer or volleyball game. The more support you create for your partner, the  better.

4. Come up with healthy date night ideas

Sit down with your partner and come up with some fun ideas to liven up date nights. Suggest a bike ride downtown, or try a new healthy restaurant in town. If he or she is stuck on going to the movies, skip the snacks and suggest a walk on the beach or around the lake after the movie. Pack some fruit and granola for the walk.

5. Let him/her help with decisions

One of the most important aspects of helping your partner get healthy is involving them in the decision-making process. Give them choices so that they can feel empowered. Let them actively contribute to their own progress and they are more likely to stick with it.

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6. Pick a theme for the week

This goes along with making small changes. Rather than throw a number of changes at your partner all at once, pick a theme for your week. For instance, the first week can be “healthy eating week.” For this particular time frame, you’ll focus heavily on eating well, and if you don’t get in daily exercise, don’t worry about it.

7. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier

One of the most important aspects of getting healthy is making sure we get enough rest. However, going to bed an hour earlier is pretty difficult. Instead, go to bed just 15 minutes earlier to start. Once you have done this for a week, add another 15 minutes on for the following week. This will train your bodies to relax earlier in the evening.

8. Collaborate on meal decisions

Pick out recipes that sound great to both of you, and then make the trip to the supermarket. Try to keep an open mind and realize that not every meal will go over well, but if you choose foods together, you are more likely to find things you both enjoy.

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9. Keep an open line of communication

Frustration is inevitable in any kind of life change, but remember to stay open to talking about it. Sometimes your partner might feel disgruntled with their progress. Make sure you are there for them to talk about it.

10. Be consistent even when they aren’t

If you stay consistent, your partner will be more likely to jump back into the new routine you’ve established. It is important to be a positive example to your partner.

11. Give them a gift to push them in the right direction

Has your partner shown interest in the local yoga studio or said something to you about the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings? To remind them that you care about their health, buy them a gift card to the yoga studio. Create a gift basket filled with fresh and healthy items from the farmer’s market.

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12. Remind them of how important they are to you

Sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way. Your partner might feel like quitting at some point. They might become discouraged. Remind them that you love and support them. Tell them how much they mean to you and that you are proud of them.

13. Celebrate successes together

Just like you grocery shop together, celebrate your success together too. Maybe they have dropped a pant size or quit drinking soda all together. Celebrate these things in a healthy way as a couple. Go shopping for new pants, or get a couple’s massage.

Featured photo credit: Alan Cleaver via

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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