When your partner refuses to help solve the problem, you have no choice but to focus on your own need until you get cooperation.

As long as you offer every opportunity to cooperate and you extend an invitation to your partner to join you whenever he or she wishes, you are free to focus your attention on solving the problem for yourself.

If you try to please your partner at your own expense, there is no chance for both of you to be satisfied. Once you’ve tried to cooperate without getting support, the best solution is a course of action that puts you in control of your well-being and separates you from the effect of your partner’s resistance. The following steps ensure you can be sure you've given your partner ample opportunity to cooperate, and you're not overreacting.

Dr. Romance's Guidelines For Solving It Yourself

1. Be sure you've made a thorough attempt to negotiate. Don’t go to Solving it for Yourself until you’ve made an honest effort to engage your partner in negotiation – not just fighting.

2. Tell your partner what you are doing. State clearly that you have attempted to negotiate the problem, that your assessment is that your partner doesn't want to work on it, that you would prefer to work on it together, but that you've decided what you are going to do about it on your own. You might want to say you’re sad to have to do this, and you’re protecting what's good about the relationship.

3. Invite your partner to negotiate at any time. Say that you are going to follow your own solution, but that you are open to discussing it at any time. This is your open invitation to negotiate, which keeps it from becoming become a power play.

4. Communicate your good will. Let your partner know that you value him or her and the partnership, and you don't like having to make unilateral decisions, but you feel you have no choice, because your partner won’t work on it with you.

5. Be sure your solution solves the problem for you, even if you think your partner may not like it. If the solution works for both of you, the problem is solved, and needs no further discussion. if your partner is not satisfied with your solution, he or she has already been invited to negotiate, and being left out is a powerful incentive.

To get a different perspective, imagine what you would do about the problem if your partner weren't part of it. What would you do if your best friend were involved? Considering a relationship problem from the vantage point of a single person often points out places where you're being needlessly dependent.

Hopefully, you will seldom need to solve a problem without your partner's cooperation, but knowing you can solve the problem for yourself and still leave the door open to your partner's participation means you can remain calm and gentle in the face of a partner's reluctance to cooperate.

For more on this: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Relationship

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For low-cost phone counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.