How to get your partner to take better care of themself: 8 techniques to try today

December 22,2020

You’ve dropped the subtle hints.

And then the not-so-subtle ones. 

You’ve tried to give it time.

And even more time.

But your partner is still not taking care of themself. 

And you’re still not feeling attracted to them as a result. 

Your partner “letting themself go” was one of the top reasons people gave for losing their attraction. 

But this dynamic can be so tricky to deal with because you don’t want to nag or force your partner to practice better self-care. 

So let’s talk about how to get your partner to take better care of themself, without shaming them or taking on responsibility for their self-care.

Tip #1: Bring it up preemptively

Is attraction not an issue in your relationship? If you’re still wildly attracted to your partner, that’s awesome! 

That being said, it can still be useful to bring the topic up now, to prepare for the possibility of it becoming an issue at a different point in your relationship. 

Show your partner one of this month’s emails and say, “I’m so glad attraction isn’t an issue for us! But if it were to happen to either of us, how could we talk about it gently and kindly? What would feel best for you?”

Tip #2: Ask them how they’ve been feeling about themself

It’s easy to get annoyed with your partner for not doing something that seems really simple to you, like brushing their teeth or changing their t-shirt. 

But sometimes a lack of self care is an indication of deeper struggles. 

We got this incredibly valuable message on Instagram: 

If your partner has let themself go, try gently asking them something like, “I’m not sure if this is just me, but it seems like your relationship with yourself has been different lately. How have you been feeling about yourself?” 

You very well may get an answer that instantly increases your compassion for them.

Tip #3: Focus on your partner being their best self

If you approach your partner about their physical appearance, it’s extremely likely that you’ll hurt their feelings and put them on the defensive. 

Instead, try focusing on wanting them to be the best version of themself. Or them leading the best life they can. 

Here’s a comment that perfectly encapsulates this: 

Tip #4: Lead by example

Be honest: how good are you at taking care of yourself? How good have you been in the past?

The truth is that most of us struggle with self-care at some point or another.

It can be really easy to get annoyed by your partner instead of taking a good, honest look at yourself and your own behaviors.

If you want your partner to take care of themself, you can set an example for them by taking wonderful care of yourself! 

Here’s how one woman described this:

Tip #5: Give tons of praise

Nagging and criticizing your partner won’t do either of you much good. 

Compliments are so much more effective!

Here’s how one woman described her technique:

Tip #6: Do it together

Like I said before, pretty much all of us could get better at self-care. So why not work on it together?

Maybe you can start exercising or meditating together. Maybe you can both revamp your morning routines. Maybe you can plan date nights together, and both get dressed up. 

This one can get a little tricky because you want to make sure not to take on all of the responsibility. It’s not your job to make sure your partner eats healthy or gets enough sleep. So you only want to follow this tip if it feels like something you’re genuinely excited about, too. 

Tip #7: Help them create the time

If you don’t want to take part in your partner’s self-care with them, a different option is to help your partner create the time for self-care on their own. 

Maybe your partner doesn’t put on nice clothes in the morning because they’re too busy helping the kids have breakfast. 

You can do your partner – and your relationship – a tremendous service by asking your partner if there’s a way you can help them create more time for themself!

Tip #8: Connect it to values

Last week I encouraged you to dig in and identify the values that are truly important to you in your relationship. 

This can be a much better way to open up a conversation with your partner. Talk to your partner about the values that are important to you, and how you can work as a team to create the space for each other to truly personify those values. 

One person said:

“I feel encouraged when my partner talks about wanting me happy versus just being annoyed that I haven’t showered in 2 weeks.”

Out of these 8 tips, which one do you think would be the most effective in your relationship?


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!