When your partner refuses to budge





Eckhart Tolle





The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way. That immediately takes you beyond ego.


All mind games and all addictive clinging are then over. There are no victims and no perpetrators anymore, no accuser and accused.


This is also the end of all codependency, of being drawn into somebody else’s unconscious pattern and thereby enabling it to continue. You will then either separate – in love – or move ever more deeply into the Now together – into Being.

Do not accuse each other of being unconscious. The moment you start to argue, you have identified with a mental position and are now defending not only that position but also your sense of self. The ego is in charge.


And it is also easier to recognize the source of negativity in your partner than to see it in yourself. It can manifest in many forms: possessiveness, jealousy, control, withdrawal and unspoken resentment, the need to be right, insensitivity and self-absorption, emotional demands and manipulation, the urge to argue, criticize, judge, blame, or attack, anger, unconscious revenge for past pain inflicted by a parent, rage and physical violence...


At times, it may be appropriate to point out certain aspects of your partner’s behavior. If you are very alert, very present, you can do so without ego involvement – without blaming, accusing, or making the other wrong.


How many people does it take to make your life into a spiritual practice? Never mind if your partner will not cooperate. Sanity – consciousness – can only come into this world through you. You do not need to wait for the world to become sane, or for somebody else to become conscious, before you can be enlightened. You may wait forever.



Awareness is the greatest agent for change. Whenever an answer, a solution, or a creative idea is needed, stop thinking for a moment by focusing attention on your inner energy field. … When you resume thinking, it will be fresh and creative.


Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, non-defensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself.


Be present. Accusing, defending, attacking — all those patterns that are designed to strengthen or protect the ego or to get its needs met will then become redundant.


Giving space to others — and to yourself — is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. In fact, the moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.


First you stop judging yourself; then you stop judging your partner.

When you are enlightened, there is one relationship that you no longer have: the relationship with yourself. Once you have given that up, all your other relationships will be love relationships.

If you continue to pursue the goal of salvation through a relationship, you will be disillusioned again and again. But if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born into this world.