I get quite a few emails from guys, more than I would like to, who have started taking better care of themselves and are looking better and feeling better emotionally & mentally. The problem is that some people around them, such as a significant other, are unsupportive. Is giving a bit of support or giving compliments too much to ask? But instead, these guys are getting grief and lip or are not getting any attention.
Here’s one scenario I’ve hear before, and it goes something like this. A woman is worried that the fitter her partner gets, the more other women will notice him. Once he gains self-confidence AND feels good about himself, she worries that he will realize that the dating pool has opened up and will choose someone who shares the same frame of mind over hers. But what’s REALLY behind this lack of support?
First is change. Change is challenging to deal with, as humans prefer consistency. When life gets out of whack, an uncomfortable feeling accompanies it. For example, many people find themselves in careers where they’re miserable but comfortable being miserable. They feel more uncomfortable with the change that needs to take place to progress. The same thing happens with relationships. Many stay in an unhealthy or unhappy relationships because the thought of change is more uncomfortable than being in an unhealthy relationship.
Change is scary. Sometimes people close to us are really reluctant of us growing and evolving because it could mean growing out of needing them in our life. And that can be scary as hell. Your self-development changes impact who you are becoming, so they may feel insecure because they don’t know your intentions.
In relationships, specifically, we get into comfort ruts. When you’re single, you pay attention to your grooming and style. But then you get comfortable in a relationship, and it all starts to fall apart. Eventually, one of the two people decides to take better care of themselves. Their grooming improves, and their style is on point, which is when the other person may begin to freak out. They wonder what’s going on and why the other person is changing.
So, the question from the guy’s perspective about the woman not being supportive may possibly be a legitimate concern on her part. After changing my mindset around health and wellness, I would have a hard time being attracted to someone without a similar attitude. Sometimes the changes we go through can make us incompatible with the people already in our life. It’s a difficult situation for both parties. I sympathize with both of them, but I agree he should consider what’s best for him moving forward if the issue is health and wellness.
The second reason for lack of support is insecurities, which could be in yourself or a relationship. Insecurity creates a division or wedge between two people because one is not supportive. Insecurity is a horrible cycle that happens with both men and women. But in the earlier scenario, the dude starts taking better care of himself, and the woman isn’t supportive. The dude feels great and is wondering why she isn’t being supportive. He finds out she’s been questioning him, going through his phone and texts, and being insecure.
The only point that gives me pause is my understanding that she might be coming from a place of insecurity: fear that he’ll dump her for someone else, fear that he’ll stop loving her if she doesn’t change herself, worry that he’ll expect her to change her lifestyle when she doesn’t feel ready to make that change. But she’s really got to face and deal with those fears; that’s not for him to fix.
The decision could boil down to (1) he could break up with her because he’s not getting that support, or (2) he could resent the hell out of her, leading to fighting, resulting in the first option – breaking up. But there’s a 3rd option: communication.
Both people must be on the same page, and communication is the key. They need to figure out how to meet his needs without judgment and discuss it. So, communication is the cornerstone of ANY healthy relationship. If you need more support in the change process, open up and communicate with the other person. Let them know how important their communication and support are to you. And say thank you when the person does even little supportive things. Positive reinforcement, gentlemen!
Pursuing change and personal growth is self-love. If change means feeling better about yourself, you’ll be a better co-worker, boss, husband, father, lover, and everything else. Ultimately, if someone in your life resists, they don’t love themselves, you, or both. I would talk to the person honestly. Try to reassure any fears that person might have.
If the person is your significant other, remind her why you fell in love with her and tell her that you want to have a long, happy life together – which means sometimes changes happen. Remind her that she’s part of your future and that change isn’t necessarily bad. If you want to be with this person long-term, you’ll have to develop a dynamic where you can support each other in your goals, even if you aren’t on the same journey. Life is better the more aligned we are with our partners.
But the most crucial aspect is to maintain sight of yourself. Think of your personal change as a hike up a mountain where your supplies slowly disappear. You lose your lantern, food, hat, maps, and first-aid kit. You feel insecure and vulnerable to failure and miss the supplies, but you keep moving forward. You may wish you had that food or that hat, but they aren’t with you anymore – yet, you keep climbing, not turning back.
The journey is not about the supplies but the climb. Eventually, you go around a bush, and you see the view. The wind whips past your ears, and the sun shines brightly on your face. You made it to the top! You realize now that you didn’t need those supplies. You had yourself and made it to the top through your determination and dedication. YOU are a crucial and critical part of the support you need!