What to do when your partner DGAF about health

Having a partner that doesn't value health the same as you is a common struggle for women vying for consistency. Here's four tips for dealing with the mismatch.

The Flourish team
Woman seated, feeding her partner a cookie across a wooden table

We spend a lot of time on social talking to you, trying to better understand how we can serve you. We often ask you about what’s getting in the way of you creating consistency in your nutrition and other healthy habits.

One response we get all the time is, “My partner doesn’t like to eat healthy," or “My partner just doesn’t care about health!”

If that’s you, you’re in the right place. This post is for you… But it may not be what you expect.

Keep reading.

Know your why and share it.

You’ve gotta start here. Why does the pursuit of health matter to you in the first place? Before you can bring anyone in, you need to have this clarity for yourself. In fact, regardless of whether you get your boo on board or not, this is must-know info for you on your own journey.

You might say something like, “My why? I just want to eat healthy and exercise to feel good.”

Ok, yeah sure. But you can do better than that.

What does “feel good” mean to you? Is it more energy? Better digestion? More confidence? Cool.

And what will feeling that way do for you? Maybe you’ll be able to play more with your kids or feel more comfortable being intimate with your partner.

If you’re here reading this post, then this stuff obviously matters to you. Take a minute to look inward and understand why. And then—very important next step—share that with your partner. 

This will keep you from spinning your wheels in frustration, wondering why they don’t do the things you want them to when the root issue is that you haven’t communicated what’s important to you and why.

Know what you need and what you want.

Now that your why is in order, let’s start to think about where your partner fits into this. What do you need and want from your partner when it comes to your health journey?

Emphasis on your.

Here’s the thing: When it comes to health (and most other things in life), you can’t want it for someone more than they want it for themselves. So if you came to this post looking for ways that we can help you make your partner healthier when they aren’t interested… You’re barking up the wrong tree.

But what you can do is focus on you and the ways in which your partner can be supportive of, or at least neutral to, the health journey you’re on. Take some time to understand where you stand here and then communicate it. Don’t assume that your partner knows your every need, can predict your desires, or distinguish between the two.

Here are some examples:

  • “Honey, exercising regularly seriously helps me manage my stress. I need you to watch the kids a few times a week so I can get to the gym. Can we plan this together?”
  • “I’m happy to handle the meal planning and prepping on my own since I’m really focusing on my nutrition right now. But if you’re interested, I’d love it if we could sit down and pick out a couple dinners together.”
  • “I think it’d be really fun if we started going on more walks around the city! Do you want to plan one for the weekend with me?”

Like my girl Brene Brown says, “Clear is kind.” And it also helps your case.

Bring them in and make it fun.

Maybe your partner isn’t interested in health because it’s just not something she/he/they values. Fair enough. Just like you wouldn’t want someone forcing a value on you, you shouldn’t force yours on other people.

But maybe your partner isn’t interested in health because she/he/they has preconceived notions about how boring, hard, and/or joyless it is. And while it definitely can be—we’re looking at you, grilled chicken and broccoli on endless repeat-- it certainly doesn’t have to be.

So how can you make healthy habits a joint venture that’s also really enjoyable? Well, that’s totally up to you. Here are some ideas:

  • Into food? Pick a cookbook and set a goal to cook your way through it as a couple.
  • Love to travel? Select destinations that are conducive to healthier, more active itineraries.
  • Big sports people? Sign up for an intramural league together!

Ditch the dependency.

Let’s say you try all of the above and it doesn’t work. Your partner understands where you’re coming from but still doesn’t DGAF about health, at least for themselves.

Guess what?

That doesn’t mean you can’t.

Sure, it’s great to have a gym buddy, an extra hand in the kitchen, or an accountability partner. But that person doesn't have to be your romantic partner! (In fact, this is why we have such a strong community focus in our membership.)

The thought that your health depends on how your partner feels, thinks, or behaves is mostly just a big ol’ limiting belief.

The Model (a concept by Brooke Castillo) states that circumstances (or the facts of life) exist. Based on those circumstances, our mind creates thoughts. Our thoughts dictate our feelings. We act based on those feelings. And our actions determine our results.

Let’s examine what this looks like in the context of your partner not caring about health:

See? Big, big, big changes through simply adjusting a thought. If focusing on your health and engaging in healthy habits is important to you, act like it. Ditch the dependency by recognizing where and how you may have given too much power to your partner’s preferences. Do you, girl.

Headshot of Claire Siegel
Claire Siegel
Co-founder, CEO
Claire Siegel is the founder and CEO of Flourish. Claire has made it her life’s mission to help women create a sustainable approach to their physical and mental well-being.
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