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Handling Pressure From Your Partner

[ Building Healthy Relationships ] [ Being Assertive ] [ Handling Criticism ] [ Handling Pressure ]
[ Resolving Conflict ]

Pressure is when your partner tries to make you do something you usually wouldn't do, or stop doing something that you normally would like to do.

There are many reasons you might give into pressure. You might worry about what your partner will think or fear that your partner will leave you if you don’t follow their wishes.

Recognizing a “Line”

“Lines”are statements others use to force you into doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable or doing something that you wouldn’t normally do.

Your partner might be “throwing you a line” if:

  • The statement seems logical, but your feelings (your intuition or "gut" reaction) tell you something isn’t right.
  • You don't believe in, or simply don't want to do what someone is asking you to do.
  • The statement sounds like a joke at first, but leaves you feeling embarrassed or scared.
  • The statement makes you feel like you’re being controlled or told what to do.
  • The statement makes you feel you have to persuade, manipulate or control other people.

Ways to Handle Pressure

Always remember that you have the right to decide what you do and don’t do.

Just Say No

If someone is pressuring you to do anything that's not right or good for you, you have the right to resist. You have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away from a situation.

Give a Comeback

In some situations - such as, when you know there's a safety or health risk, or when it's against the law - just say no and/or walk away. You don't even have to explain.

Other times a good comeback will stop your partner from pressuring you.

A Comeback Example

Let’s say you’ve been dating for a few weeks. Your partner is pressuring you to have sex, but you’re not ready to.

Line Your Partner Might Use How the Line Works Comeback You Could Use

“Don't worry. I’ll make sure we use protection.”

This line distracts you from the real issue - what you believe is the right time for your to have sex.

It doesn't have anything to do with using protection. I’m not ready to have sex with you.

Too Many Lines and Comebacks?

Neither lines nor comebacks build healthy relationships. If you're in a relationship where lines and comebacks are used often, you might be in an unhealthy relationship.

If you’re committed to your relationship and want it to grow, try to be more assertive. Using "I" messages instead lets your partner know how the lines are affecting you and what you need instead.

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