11 tips to start over in a relationship and find happiness together again

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Sometimes, a relationship doesn’t work out the way you planned. In such a situation, you and your partner can decide to start over if you both believe the relationship is worth fighting for.

However, starting anew is more than just being on the same page. You and your partner must both be willing to make changes and work for it.

The process will take time and effort, but if you value your partner and your experiences with them, then it’ll be worth it in the end. I’ve written this guide to help.

Keep reading to learn how to start over in a relationship.

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11 Tips To Make A Fresh Start In A Relationship

1. Take a break.

If you don’t know how to start over in a broken relationship, I recommend spending some quality time apart. You and your partner should agree on how long you should be apart.

During that break, you should have little to no contact. However, you shouldn’t treat this break as a time to see how single life feels or think if you want to pursue a new relationship with someone else.

Instead, I suggest using this time to gather yourself and reflect on your relationship.

Taking a break allows couples to decompress from the possible heightened emotional states they’re both in. This helps you think more rationally and mentally prepare yourself to change for the better.

You should also spend time thinking about why the relationship is important to you.

Hitting the reset button on a relationship is tricky since you’ll face many challenges.

As such, knowing why you value the relationship can motivate you to push through the difficult times.

2. Work on your personal development.

The next step in how to start over with someone is to work on yourself first.

You might not realize that some of the wounds you experience in relationships are because of the projection of childhood trauma.

For instance, either you or your partner might struggle with emotional intimacy due to having emotionally immature parents. Or, you might be too clingy because of a fear of abandonment.

This next step is connected to my first tip above. Fostering self-awareness lets you identify and work through any emotional baggage you’re consciously or unconsciously holding onto.

To do this, you can enter counseling or therapy. This can help you sort through your emotions and process your past to understand how to break that cycle.

You’ll understand your unhealthy behaviors and learn to take responsibility for them by spending time working on them so you can be the best version of yourself.

3. Indulge your partner.

You might have heard people say that you should fall in love with the person rather than their potential. While it’s true that you should accept each other as you are, remember that there’s always room for positive change.

For instance, if there are things your partner wants you to do, try to do them—as long as they’re within reason. Similarly, if you know something upsets them, try not to do those things if it’s reasonable.

For example, if your partner wants you to cut a friend out of your life because they don’t like them, that would be a negative change that you should not consider—unless you agree that the friend is a negative influence on you.

Aside from changing for the better, I suggest showing interest in the things that matter to your partner.

For example, if they love video games, you can listen to them talk about it. Even if you don’t play, you can still indulge them by being interested and asking about their interests.

Another way to indulge your partner is by speaking their primary love language.

If theirs is physical touch, a hug for comfort, a kiss goodbye, or a gentle arm on the shoulder while you’re walking together will go a long way in making them feel loved.

4. Discuss negative feelings.

Unresolved emotional pain can make couples struggle to get back together. It’s also hard to let go of emotional pain if it remains unrecognized.

However, both of you will have to air things out to start with a clean slate and work to get each other’s love and attention back.

As such, I suggest talking about what went wrong. Tell each other and understand the causes of your pains. Learn to empathize, validate, and take responsibility for anything either of you may have done to harm the relationship.

Don’t get defensive when they tell you how your actions hurt them.

Meanwhile, to prevent your partner from getting defensive, talk about how you feel and what you think rather than just saying what they did and how they made you feel.

For instance, you can say, “I was hurt because it felt like I was the only one who was excited about the trip we went on.” This sounds less accusatory than, “You acted like you didn’t care about the trip and would have preferred to be somewhere else.”

This may be an awkward conversation, but getting things off your chest and understanding how to avoid making the same mistake again is the best course of action.

5. Learn to communicate in a healthy and respectful way.

In addition to discussing negative feelings, I strongly recommend learning how to communicate properly.

Healthy communication is extremely important in any good relationship—this is especially true when trying to repair a broken relationship.

Both parties should find a middle ground on how to communicate. That’s because what works for one may not work for the other.

As long as you’re both aware of that, you can keep trying any method that works for the two of you.

For instance, you may choose to write each other letters, which can feel less emotionally charged than face-to-face conversations.

Or, if you’re having problems, learn to phrase things in a non-accusatory way to prevent the other party from becoming defensive. This can also make open communication easier.

Communicating also involves having stress-reducing conversations.

For example, you should know how to support your partner when they’ve received bad news. Or, when your partner starts to discuss difficult topics, learn to just listen with empathy without giving unsolicited advice.

This can help you learn to co-regulate your partner’s emotional state. So, if they’re distressed, consoling them and remaining calm can prevent their stress from escalating further.

6. Learn how to compromise.

I’ve found that it’s normal for partners to be tense about things they disagree on. This is where compromise comes in.

There are several aspects to learning the skills of compromising—learning when to make way for your partner, when you should meet in the middle, and when to stand by what you want.

Compromising makes your partner feel that you value them by meeting them in the middle or, yes, caving into their wishes occasionally.

Compromising also involves choosing your battles. Ask yourself, “Is the toilet seat worth fighting over?” If it bothers you that much, you can always speak to your partner calmly about it.

However, in my experience, both parties must learn to compromise. If you’re the only one compromising, you might end up resenting your partner for constantly adjusting to them.

The other party might also feel like they don’t need to budge even when it comes to things you care about.

7. Don’t bring up the past.

Resisting the urge to bring up past mistakes can be hard—especially if their misbehavior has hurt you deeply.

If you’re serious about wanting to repair the broken relationship, you’ll have to forgive them completely. Otherwise, you might be that person who always reminds your partner about how bad they’ve been.

If you’re the one who has hurt your partner, you should also learn to forgive yourself. This prevents you from making the same mistakes.

But you also shouldn’t make your new relationship all about “making up” for the past. Instead, I strongly suggest focusing on being a better person.

If neither party learns to forgive, there’s no chance of a fresh start.

Not bringing up the past doesn’t mean just sweeping everything under the rug and forgetting that bad things happened, either. Both of you should learn from those mistakes and become better people.

8. Consider couples counseling.

If your self-motivated attempts aren’t quite working, I suggest seeking professional help from a couples therapist.

Getting advice from a relationship counselor can help couples start anew.

That’s because a relationship expert can equip you with new tools and skills, such as communicating effectively, processing emotional wounds, and improving emotional connections.

A third party also offers unbiased perspectives regarding a couple’s relationship, which can give a different insight into their experiences.

This can result in a deeper understanding of difficulties and unwanted mistakes.

Undergoing couples counseling can help you move forward in the same direction. They also offer support in your journey together.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

9. Create shared goals.

One main reason couples begin anew with the same person is that they believe life is better when they’re together than apart.

As such, talking about and creating shared goals and dreams gives you a common thing to work toward. This also helps you know where you’d like the relationship to be after a certain amount of time.

For instance, ask yourself questions like, “Do you want a family? Do you want to start a business? Do you want to live in another country for a while?”

Having shared goals makes it easier to write a new story together since you start acting as a team rather than two individuals.

However, set realistic expectations. It’s easy to get carried away quickly trying to move past your old story to just build a new relationship.

I’d like to reiterate that it takes time and effort. After all, rebuilding trust, processing problems, and learning to compromise don’t all happen overnight.

10. Think and speak positively about your partner.

How you think and speak about someone can shape how you perceive and interact with them.

If your relationship has soured, you might be viewing your partner in a negative light. If you’re complaining about them to friends and family, they may also be impacted by what you say about your partner.

This will only become a downward spiral where their opinions feed the negative narrative and worsen how you think of your partner.

As such, if you’re serious about a new beginning, focus on your partner’s good points. Saying nice things about them to close friends and family will make you love and care deeply for your partner.

This can also influence the people around you to think positive things about them and prevent falling into the same relationship as before.

Thinking positively about your partner can also help you forgive and let go of the hurt from the relationship so far.

11. Celebrate progress.

In my experience, making a relationship work again is a daunting task. After all, you’re working on changing for the better—which involves things like mending a broken heart and processing things with your partner.

As such, celebrating any progress gives you a sense of accomplishment, making you feel closer to each other.

Celebrating progress helps you recognize your efforts and see that they’re making a difference in your relationship. It gives you a sense of hope for your relationship’s future.

Regardless of what milestone you’ve reached, take the time to celebrate those moments to create a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

Why Should I Start Over In My Relationship?

Most couples think that relationships are always “make or break.”

However, even the most complicated problems aren’t necessarily a sign that the relationship is hopeless.

Whether you’re experiencing a rocky time in your relationship or not, below are several reasons that may convince you to start anew.

1. You realize breaking up isn’t the best option.

You and your partner have realized that things aren’t as hopeless as you first thought. Because of that, you can start working on repairing your relationship.

Or, in the heat of a recent betrayal or argument, either of you might have decided to end things. Then, later on, that person might have realized they didn’t mean that or want that.

They can then prove that they value the relationship by improving as a person—which can include being more mindful of their temper and words.

2. You genuinely want to give things a second chance.

Not all couples get relationships right on the first attempt. Sometimes, you feel like you need to start fresh.

Because of that, when an unhealthy behavior or bad decision makes either of you want to break up, maybe it’s time to just rebuild the relationship.

3. You value the relationship.

No one wants to restart a relationship they hate. If either of you has the urge to reach out to the other, it means you value them and your relationship with them.

It means that regardless of everything that has happened, you can still envision a life together.

4. You wish to rediscover your partner.

The spark you felt from your partner might fade over time, making your current relationship feel stagnant.

As such, starting over can help you rekindle those dying flames and rediscover intimacy. You can do that by going on dates to bond over new activities and discover new interests together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting over in a relationship with the same person involves a lot of hard work and patience.

Below are some frequently asked questions that can further help you decide if starting anew is a good idea or not.

What does it mean to start over in a relationship?

Starting over in a relationship might mean getting back with a recent ex-partner.

Or, it might mean showing a willingness to find a middle ground and improve an already-established relationship.

Either way, it means forgiving and letting go of the old relationship. I find that you also need to be willing to positively change your mindset regarding your partner.

When does a fresh start make sense?

In my experience, a fresh start makes sense when both partners are willing to let go of the past and move forward together.

Both parties should feel that they value the old relationship enough to want to try again. You should be committed to putting in the effort to help you and your partner heal.

Is it okay to start over in a relationship?

My simple answer is, “Yes, it’s okay to start over in a relationship” — as long as both you and your partner believe that getting back together aligns with your individual goals, values, and well-being.

However, you should both also be willing to meet in the middle and improve as individuals for the sake of the other.

When is it not okay to start over?

Not all broken relationships deserve a second chance. Sometimes, there are betrayals and overstepped boundaries that people can’t forgive and don’t want to work through — and that’s okay.

Some issues are deal breakers for some people, making them prefer to just move on.

Some life situations where a relationship is not salvageable include the following.

  • Abuse
  • Continual lying
  • Ongoing affairs
  • Unwillingness by a partner to admit their wrongdoings

Does starting anew work?

Yes, starting over in a relationship works as long as both parties are willing to put in the effort.

That’s because starting over involves rebuilding trust by addressing underlying problems and improving communication, among other things.

Undergoing couples therapy can help you identify what you need to work on and how to improve while providing support on your journey.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to start over in a relationship is essential in case both you and your partner decide that your relationship is worth saving. I should reiterate that both of you should agree to make it work.

You can seek professional help to get moving in the right direction—that of a healthy relationship.

While rekindling your old love sounds exciting, remember that there should also be clear expectations as to what either of you wants from the other.

As such, you should improve communication, learn how to compromise, get support, and let go of the past to create a long-term relationship together.

Still not sure how to start over in your relationship? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.