How to Live with the ‘Bad’ Partner

By David Lake

Note: This article is written with the common minor and moderate relationship problems we all experience in mind. It suggests self-help without extra professional help. It is not meant to offer pat solutions for heavy-duty issues, such as a chronically depressed partner.

Being in relationship with anyone invites you to answer the question: ‘How do I cope with feelings of difficulty and discomfort triggered in me by the other? Could it be possible that my loved one is not perfect…actually not that good today…alright: bad?’ These hurt feelings are often disproportionately strong.

It is a mystery where this part of your friend has come from. It was not likely to have been present at the time you said: “Do you come here often/would you like to see my etchings/have coffee?”. In an ideal world of love and romance only sweetness and light would prevail. Wrong again!

This is not a philosophical issue-it is a daily and practical one. Whenever we cannot deal with such hurt or negative feelings we are ‘out of relationship” in many ways. Our inner world is disrupted. This is similar to feelings of culture shock in a foreign country, or the doubts and apprehensions when starting a new career or job or a phase of life. But it is much more hurtful. If you know that your partner has hurt you, how do you stay connected if your own angry and upset feelings are intuitively opposing this?

The ‘Bad’ Partner

‘Presses your buttons’.
Breaks your ‘rules’.
Forgets your training, the hard-earned lessons you have imparted, and your special needs
Is selfish/inconsiderate/thoughtless/tactless/disagreeable/uncooperative/careless (you fill in the blank…)
Can be very like certain other upsetting members of their sex you may have grown up with.
Makes you quite forget your own struggle with the ‘bad’ you–and all those personal problems you had to yourself before being together and sharing everything.

Existential Solution

First, the good has to outweigh the bad. This is crucial in dealing with the overall situation. Love, acceptance and validation, all the good stuff with the long names, but basically a lot of prior good times, mutual credit, trust and pillow talk. If you are in an abusive relationship of any kind or really need to inflict or suffer pain with your partner, please get on with it and leave me to my distorted perceptions of what happiness really is.

Second, the bad is meant to be there because we are all flawed (our ‘dark’side) and need to work on ourselves all our life (unless you have taken incarnation as a self-realised saint and are just lurking on this list waiting for the correct time to reveal the secret of happiness in life). It is your personal work on yourself that will provide answers to this hurtful situation. Relationship brings hurt-learning about others the hard way.

Third, you are often the ‘bad’ partner too! How does he or she respond to you then? Who is ‘badder”? Who is the slower learner? Love is conditional so often, until you lose your training wheels. Get the conditions right. It can be hard work and counter-intuitive.

Fourth, you shouldn’t have these bad feelings-but you do! You are not like your partner in nature (yet in so many ways you are-in some unfeeling behaviours and capacity to hurt). Could it be that your ‘dark’ side is preventing your dealing with this problem? That your knowledge isn’t helping? (It is obvious that psychologists and psychiatrists don’t have the monopoly on good personal relationships. Enter EFT and SET.)

Action Plan (not an exhaustive list)

  • Do nothing right away-highly recommended. Your mind is not always your friend in these matters. There is no logical cause or solution for this hurt very often. Give yourself time and space.
  • Treat yourself with EFT / SET -see below.
  • Interrupt your ruminating pattern (go outside, walk, distract yourself, clean the house)
  • Creatively ignore the ‘badness’. It’s not the first time-or the last. Is it a bad habit-or a wrinkle in the great silk sheet of life? Can you honestly say you never bump the other car when parking?
  • Meditate on the cost of not having a perfect relationship. Would a jury convict him or her on all the evidence?
  • ‘Turn the other cheek’ (very good for committed Christians who love the New Testament and have no real wish to smite the other)
  • Confront the criminal if you are feeling brave (and only if you are innocent)

Count your blessings

  • Imagine the resolution of the problem. Repairing the friendship.
  • Sulk or throw tantrums. Run away. Give up. Get deeply depressed and drink heavily (just kidding…but very popular, no?)

What To Tap On And What To Say

  • Think of the partner’s first name (or pet name). Find a place in the body where you can imagine or sense a related feeling sitting (eg stomach, heart, chest area). Focus on “Even though I have this (name) feeling…
  • Tap on what was said or done (the incident)

Many hurt feelings have no words so why complicate matters? Just do EFT / SET sequences for self-soothing. “This upset/tension”…”This empty feeling

  • Associate to “unfair” and “it shouldn’t happen” and anything to do with self-pity.
  • Tap on the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ alternately (“I love her…but not today”; “He is my best friend…but he really hurt me”)
  • Tap on blocking beliefs like “It can’t be resolved” and “It’s too much to put up with” and “I can’t forgive this”.
  • I think it is worth exaggerating the problem in your mind whilst tapping because I find a greater benefit that way. Throw in the words “awful…terrible…horrible” as adjectives in your thought patterns if you can. Make the problem a little more intense if you can, while tapping, and see what happens.
  • Be persistent.

Of course it is a very serious offence when one partner hurts another. I don’t mean to be too light-hearted about it. Not that we ourselves would ever do such hurtful things to someone we care for…except accidentally perhaps…never with malice or meanness…and not so deliberately anyway, even if it if it were to happen, which it won’t…

I say the responsibility for ongoing problems in relationship is 50-50–and the suffering is shared equally too! Men and women have equal capacity to hurt each other. This is not politically correct but I think it is true from my experience. If you think either sex suffers more from failed relationships please let me know.

Ask yourself this question: Did he/she wake up this morning wanting to cause harm to me?

If the answer is “yes” then you are in a very bad position! Either your credit rating with your loved one is zero, or you may be shackled to a brute. You may be headed for the hospital, the court or the morgue. If the answer is “no” then possibly they are human and fallible, with all the faults and foibles flesh is heir to (just like you). Behold your partner-“Doing the best they can” (thanks Larry). And so often for you.

Good luck.

To read more about using EFT / SET for relationship issues, see Dr David Lake’s  book “She’ll be Right”. For details on this book Click Here