The Attitude Problem

Q: Dear Love Jays,

Looking for advice on how to deal with the attitude/stubbornness aspect of a relationship.

A: Dear Attitude Adjustment,

Attitude is a learned behavior whereas stubbornness is typically a personality trait.  They can both be worked on, but the person exhibiting the behavior has to be aware and motivated to change.

Let’s start with the attitude problem. More often than not, it does not take long for a nasty attitude to rear its ugly head. Those who possess this quality are usually quick to use it. Big issue or small issue, you will usually get a neck roll or two. The first step is to bring awareness to the issue in a non-accusatory tone. Try saying something like, “When you speak to me like _____ , it makes it hard for me to receive what you are saying because ______”. Calmly let them respond, and prepare for just a little more attitude. If your partner is reasonable (hopefully) they will digest what you said and apply it next time. The second step is to repeat. This can be a process and you will probably have to talk about it more than once, just remember to stay calm and always come from a loving (not frustrated) place every time you speak about it.  

Stubbornness can be a little more difficult to deal with. Sometimes it can be good to be stubborn and sometimes it can be really bad. Because the reward is different each time, it makes it difficult for the person with this personality trait to know when it’s appropriate and when to leave it at home. No one should ever just roll over and do what someone else says to do within a relationship or otherwise. However, it is important to compromise. If your mate is stubborn but you guys are always able to come to an agreement, then I would say you are fine. If the stubbornness gets in the way of you ever finding middle ground then you may be dealing with a “my way or the highway” type. If this is the case, your best bet is to (again) speak to them calmly while they are exhibiting such behavior. Do not make it sound like a “bad” thing or a “flaw”. Just let them know you appreciate he/she is strong willed, but you really need to come to an agreement and it would be great if he/she could meet you half way. Leave them with their thoughts and let them approach you later when they are ready.

Hope this helps!


Miss J 

Dear Managing Attitude,

Growing up, I was the kid who always copped an attitude; if things weren’t going my way, I made it a point to let everyone know I wasn’t happy. As a result, I was forever getting in trouble at school or finding myself on the tail end of a good whooping from my father. Years and years passed, yet I still didn’t have a solid grip on how to control my attitude. Let’s be clear, I wasn’t bad, destructive or abusive (I know some of you were judging); I just had a difficult time keeping my mouth shut!

Fortunately, Miss J came along and help put my attitude right in its place. She effectively communicated how I would hurt her feelings by saying or doing certain things and simply would not tolerate my childish behavior. She wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary, but seeing someone you truly care for upset over your actions isn’t the most rewarding feeling. It’s also important to note that true change is only possible when a person is committed to making a change.

If your partner’s attitude or behavior is causing a rift in your relationship, it’s absolutely critical to communicate your feelings. They may know it’s a problem, yet if they aren’t fully aware of the consequences, chances are very likely business will continue per usual. Relationship maintenance isn’t always fun, but it is indeed necessary.


Mr. J


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