He is always trying to get his way in our relationship, how do I make him stop? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris!

My fiancé and I used to be great together, but these days, he is becoming so self-centred it is driving me nuts. He is preoccupied with his career and personal success.

He thinks he is special in some way and is extremely sensitive to even the mildest criticism. He is also endlessly trying to get his way in our relationship, which is making me increasingly miserable.

How can I change him back into the guy he used to be?

Self Centred Fiancé

Chris says,

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Hi Self Centred Fiancé!

It sounds like your fiancé may be a narcissist, who relates everything that happens to himself. We all do that to a small extent, like when you only really pay attention to the news stories that might affect you.

Mild narcissistic tendencies are not all bad. They help you feel good about yourself and be assertive. And you need to focus on yourself sometimes. But when narcissistic behaviour becomes a dominant part of someone’s personality, then problems are inevitable.

So your fiancé probably boasts a lot and thinks he is better than everyone else. He will tend to treat people as objects, whose only purpose is to help him to achieve his goals. Only the most expensive cars and gadgets are good enough, and he will throw his money around, especially where other people might notice.

He was probably charming and attractive when you first met him. Exciting, charismatic, a little bit ‘dangerous,’ and forever making breathtaking romantic gestures. But gradually, his fundamentally self-centred character will have started to show through.

Narcissists usually try to dominate their partners, and they are often unfaithful and unavailable. So one minute you are the centre of his world. The next, he is treating you as if you mean nothing to him.

He just cannot see how his behaviour is affecting you, because his narcissism’s deeply woven into his personality, and he will also almost certainly be unwilling to change his behaviour.

The saddest thing about narcissists is that their bad effects are always felt by other people. And yet, they get away with it because modern society admires ambition, assertiveness and self-confidence. They are also often professionally very successful.

Unfortunately, there is practically nothing you can do to change your fiancé. He will almost certainly refuse to see a therapist, for example. So you might be wise to consider ending the relationship.

Alternatively, you could try to deepen your understanding of his behaviour. Develop your sense of humour, and a degree of detachment. Set clear boundaries that limit his attempts to push you around. Otherwise, accept that is just the way he is. His behaviour will still drive you nuts, but without preventing you from being happy together.

All the best,

Chris