Did you plead your case and give a number of reasons why he or she should just stop doing what they were doing? Were you unable to stop the argument because you wanted to be sure he or she knew you were right?
When I think about what happens in relationships I get an instant image of a toy I had when I was a child called the ”Chinese Finger Trap”. Remember it? Each person placed one of their index fingers into the end of a small woven (usually some type of bamboo material) cylinder. Once inside, the initial instinct is to pull your finger outward to escape which ultimately tightens the cylinder and traps the fingers more.
The actual way out is to push your fingers to the middle which releases the tension, enlarges the opening and allows each person to slowly twist their finger out. Asking or expecting another person to change is rarely the solution to relationship problems. Demanding it, begging for it, insisting that you are right, pointing out all the ways that the person has harmed you with their behaviors, none of these will get your relationship to the next level or out of emotional paralysis.
While we often focus on what we aren’t getting from someone else, it is important to be honest about ourselves. None of us are perfect and most likely we aren’t as “giving” as we imagine ourselves to be–particularly if we aren’t getting something we believe is vital to our well-being. Most likely, we are kicking up a lot of dirt and rejecting all of the person we are disappointed with, not only the part that isn’t meeting our needs.
Acceptance in others fosters change better than anything I’ve tried thus far. The acceptance has to occur internally. Truth is, we can’t need someone to change in order to find happiness. It is all right to feel disappointed, disheartened, or even dismayed by another. At the same time, it is vital that you learn how to care for yourself and be able to find some joy and be happy even when the “other” isn’t being everything I want him or her to be.