How can I manipulate my friends

This is how you manipulate your partner to improve your relationship

Hardly anyone has as much experience with relationship failure as a divorce lawyer. After all, his entire professional life consists of listening to reasons for breakups and developing suitable strategies based on them in order to achieve the best possible for his clients.

And that brings us to the next thing a divorce lawyer has a lot of experience with: They make a living manipulating people. The word "manipulate" sounds very negative, but as divorce attorney James J. Sexton proves in an article for "Psychology Today", you can also do extremely positive things with it: Improve your relationship, for example.

True love doesn't mean accepting your partner for who they are

"Society tells us that it is true love to accept your partner for who they are," says Sexton. “But we are constantly changing our partner, just through our presence. He reacts to us and we to him. That's the point of a relationship. We influence each other and ideally help each other to become the best version of ourselves. "

When something bothers us about our partner, we tend to criticize him for it. We expect that the next time he will act differently in the same situation, because he now knows that we did not like his original behavior.

However, Sexton has repeatedly observed that this expectation is not fulfilled. He concludes from this that criticism is the wrong strategy to change the partner. Based on his observations as a divorce lawyer, he is convinced that changing your partner's behavior works best through praise.

Complete exaggeration leads to the goal

So if you are bothered by a certain behavior pattern in your partner, do not criticize it. Instead, wait until he does something that falls outside of this pattern and emphasize this specific behavior with appreciation. He suggests the following phrase: “I love it when you do something unexpected. That’s so sexy. It reminds me of the beginning of our relationship. "

Sexton advises to clearly exaggerate the praise, that is, to praise it more than would actually be appropriate for the situation. The behavior that you want to see more often in your partner should be portrayed as a meaningful, inspiring change. You could also reward them with sex.

This will have the effect of making your partner remember the exuberant reaction and try to replicate the situation. You have already achieved the desired change. And even if your partner finds out you are using this trick, they are unlikely to complain about it. After all, you are not acting out of purely selfish motives, but to strengthen your relationship - it makes both partners happier.

James J. Sexton has many more relationship tips based on his many years of experience as a divorce attorney and can be found in his book "If You're In My Office, It's Already Too Late - A Divorce Lawyer's Advice on Keeping Your Relationship Strong" Office, it's too late - advice from a divorce lawyer for a strong relationship) published.