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Is your relationship on its last legs?
Maybe the two of you have felt unhappy for a long time and have just been maintaining the status quo.
Or perhaps you’ve been actively avoiding one another because you don’t want to deal with the elephant in the room.
If you’re reading this, then the time has come for you to fight to keep this relationship going. The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and you probably know that already. In fact, most people try to avoid that road whenever possible because they know how bumpy it is.
That said, if you want to keep this relationship going, you’re going to have to take the first steps onto this road. Hopefully the tips below can be useful tools in your relationship rucksack.
1. Determine how you reached this point.
How did the two of you get here? It’s unlikely that your relationship was like this from day one, otherwise you wouldn’t be together.
It’s safe to assume that there was enough compatibility to draw you together, and keep you in a relationship for some time.
So what happened? Did things between you cool down over a long period of time? Or was there a sudden glitch that threw a spanner into the works?
Take some time to determine when things started to sour between you. Maybe there was an event that you can use as a landmark, like a holiday gathering, birthday party, etc. Were things still pretty good before then, but went downhill afterwards?
Can you figure out what the catalyst was that caused these changes to happen? Or did things seem to break down bit by bit over a long period of time?
It’s often easier to backtrack when there’s a definite drop in the quality of a relationship. Sometimes it’ll happen after a big fight, or when a change has happened in the family dynamic. For some people, it can happen after a shared loss. In other cases, adding a child or a pet to the family unit can cause disharmony, especially if it’s just been the couple together for a really long time.
Write down everything you feel could have been a contributing factor to getting to where you are now. Be honest – we all mess up, and it’s important to recognize when you may have contributed to this downward spiral, as well as your partner’s missteps.
2. Speak your truth to one another.
Are you familiar with the adage “speak the truth, even if your voice shakes”? Many people don’t, and it’s this lack of honesty that’s at the core of many breakups. They’re so focused on keeping their relationship and home life pleasant and comfortable that they’re not honest about what they’re really feeling.
Keeping those emotions bottled up doesn’t just lead to resentment. It can lead to anxiety and depression, as well as physical illness.
This is just one of the many reasons why it’s so important for you to be open with one another about everything that’s going on.
Being honest like this can make a lot of people feel really vulnerable. This is especially true for those who have been through a great deal of difficulty and have strong defensive walls up. Opening up about how they’re feeling can be hard, so they often avoid saying anything; choosing distance and silence instead of addressing their emotions, and working toward a resolution.
Furthermore, they might be afraid of rejection. Let’s say the two of you sit down and discuss how you’re feeling. If they open up and say that they still love you and want to be with you, and you respond by saying that your feelings are dead and you want to break up, that will devastate them.
As a result, they might prefer to stay within the comfort zone of neutral expression and reservation.
If you think that your partner falls into this category, you may have to be the one to take the risk and speak up about how you’re feeling. Should they feel the same way, it’ll be a sense of relief for them to open up about their own emotions once you’ve displayed vulnerability first.
Some people are more comfortable writing down what they’re thinking and feeling rather than discussing it. This is especially true if they’re prone to crying or other emotional outbursts that make them feel frustrated. If this is the case, write a letter and give it to your partner to read.
Whichever route you take, make sure you do something. Salvaging this relationship is going to need action. Any action is better than the stagnation you’re dealing with right now.
3. Take note of all you do to help and harm the relationship.
Be honest with yourself about the role you’ve been playing in the situation.
For example, if you feel like you’ve been neglected by your partner, do you punish them with silence or distance if and when they reach out and try to spend time together? Perhaps to try to make them feel the same kind of hurt you’ve been experiencing?
Alternatively, are you the one who’s putting in all the effort to keep things going, only to be met with apathy and distance from your other half?
Take notes about everything you’ve been doing to try to inspire greater closeness between you. This could range from how much of the housework and meal prep you do versus their efforts, to ways that you try to engage them in things like date nights, games, and other couple-y things.
4. Find out if you are both invested in trying to save your partnership.
Are the two of you at odds because something happened to drive you apart? If so, you could be dealing with a situation in which one person is trying to save the relationship, while the other is apathetic. One might even be trying to sabotage the other’s efforts.
This often happens if there was a deep hurt or betrayal that happened between you. It might have been a situation where one partner cheated on the other. They may have been forgiven, but there’s a long-lasting resentment, and the other partner is maintaining distance and aloofness.
Similarly, if one partner had an issue with gambling or made a poor investment, they might have lost a lot of money from a shared account. If the other partner has had to step up and work overtime (or a second job) to help make ends meet, they might be angry and resentful about it. This can result in subconsciously punishing the one who lost the money by freezing them out or being verbally abusive to them.
Regardless of what caused things, it’s important to determine whether both of you are invested in saving your relationship, or if it’s a one-sided effort. If only one person is throwing light into a black hole, then the other has to admit that they’re done.
Alternatively, if both parties want to fight for this relationship, then you will need to develop an action plan together. There are two people involved here, and both need to play an equal role in saving this.
5. Work toward saving your relationship as a united force.
You got together for a reason. Furthermore, you love one another, have mutual goals, and work exceptionally well together, right?
So let’s turn this issue around so the two of you are facing the problem as a united force, rather than warring against one another.
Sit down and figure out what you want your next steps to be. If you know when and where things started to go wrong, then you’ll know where to begin the healing process.
It can help to have a conversation about everything you have overcome as a couple. Perhaps there have been financial challenges that you’ve worked toward as a team. Maybe you’ve been there for one another through health challenges or familial strife.
Make a list of all the ways you have overcome obstacles by being each other’s rocks. This provides a great reminder of why you make such a great team. You know you can do anything if you join forces and work side by side.
6. Create a goal to work toward together.
One of the best ways to fight for your relationship is to create a goal that you can work toward together.
That might be saving up for a new house. Or, if you are both adventurous types, you can take a year’s sabbatical together and travel the world. Write a book together, cultivate a garden, get back into shape to encourage each other.
Choose something that both of you have always wanted to do, and make it a priority. So many people put dreams and aspirations on the back burner. They figure they’ll get to these things “one day,” when they have a bit more time, money, etc.
There’s no time like the present, especially if you are trying to heal a relationship that’s on its last legs.
Working toward a goal together means that you can encourage each other during the difficult times, and celebrate victories as a united team. This won’t undo the hurts and difficulties of the past, but that’s the past. Focus on the here and now, and the future you’re building together.
7. Take things one day at a time.
Things didn’t start to dissolve between you overnight. As a result, they’re not going to be fixed overnight either.
There will be more bumps in the road to overcome as you work together to smooth things out. You may have arguments, and you may still get distant toward each other now and then. And that’s absolutely okay.
The key is to keep moving forward. Celebrate your little victories – they are stepping stones to where you want to get to.
You can do this, together.
Still not sure how to fight for your relationship and the person you love? Whether problems have grown over a period of time or something big happened to push the relationship to breaking point, if you truly want to save it, one of the best things you can do is speak to a trained expert, either as a couple or by yourself. They can provide the guidance you need to get your relationship back to being happy and healthy. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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