So, you’re sick of fighting all the time? Is it starting to feel like your relationship is on the rocks? You’re probably wondering how it got to this. Or worse, if all the problems that have now become the daily themes mean that the two of you simply aren’t meant to be together. Every long-term relationship drifts through good times and bad. It’s perfectly normal. But the ones that last are the ones where both parties care enough about the other person to work through the difficult stuff. Relationships take, well, maintenance to keep them in a healthy condition. Here are some tips for how to fix a broken relationship and get back on track if you’re not feeling happy in yours.
The first step is to take some “me” time. Go for a walk or veg out on a blanket under the sun, and ask yourself if you genuinely care enough to put the effort in. This is the difficult part. You need to be brutally honest. Has the tension come about because you’re subconsciously trying to create distance? Or has the tension come about because you’ve embraced bad habits that are now detrimental to the health of your relationship? If the former rings true, you know what you need to do. But for most of us in this situation, if we ask ourselves this question we know the answer deep down at our core to be the latter. We want to get things back on track, however that’s possible.
The second step is to make sure that you’re both feeling this way. It’s no use putting the effort in and trying really hard to make amends if your partner wants out. You’ll need an open, honest conversation first to discuss if the two of you want to make things work. Often you find that when both people directly communicate to each other that they both still want to be together, this gets the healing ball rolling. When your behavior towards each other feels anything but caring, it’s easy to feel unloved. This causes resentment and a negative response in return and the cycle continues and strengthens. Admitting to each other that things suck a little at the moment, but that you both want to heal the relationship is an essential first step towards being happier together.
8 Tips for How to Fix a Broken Relationship
Once you’re both on the same page, here are 8 tools that you can apply to lift the spirits:
- Make eye contact – Never underestimate the power of eye contact when speaking to your partner. In the age of technological distraction, too many of us spend too much time looking at our phones and not enough into the eyes of our loved ones. If you have something to say, maintain eye contact. It will make your words more memorable and encourage the message to sink in.
- Speak with how you feel – The easiest way to make someone defensive is to criticize them. So, if your partner is late meeting you for dinner, instead of charging in with a, “You’re always late!” which will generally elicit a, “No I’m not! That’s totally unfair!”, try this tactic: “I feel really upset when you’re late because it makes me feel like you don’t care about me.” You’re not being aggressive. Instead, you’re telling them how you feel.
- Listen & cultivate empathy – Let him or her say what they’ve got to say before replying. And let it sink in. So many of our conversations consist of waiting for the other person to finish so we can say what we want to say. We aren’t very good at listening. But try doing this, and you might just be surprised how much more understanding you are and how quickly anger dissipates. Try to see things from his or her perspective before arguing your point.
- Make time for each other – Many relationships begin to disintegrate when we don’t make time for each other. This causes sadness that is often expressed as frustrated bickering. Schedule in time to just hang out and have fun together.
- Ask if you would like to be treated the way you are doing the treating – This one can be a massive eye opener. When we know someone very well and for what seems like forever, it’s shockingly easy to treat them in ways that we wouldn’t dream of treating a friend. We shout, we criticize, and we speak with contempt. Next time you have something you want to say and it’s coming from a place of anger or frustration, ask yourself if you would appreciate being spoken to that way. It might just make you bite your tongue.
- Communicate honestly – Resentment is a relationship ruiner. It stems from pent-up emotions from situations that weren’t resolved. If your partner does something that upsets you, tell them. Discuss what upset you so that you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. If you say nothing, he or she will likely do that same thing time and time again until you’re at breaking point because you’re so angry that it keeps happening. Get this though: we aren’t mind-readers. Unless you vocalize your unhappiness, how are they supposed to know that it makes you upset?
- Be a giver – When we first get together, it’s all about impressing each other. We get dressed up, we buy each other gifts, and we take each other out on nice dates. But as time goes by, we stop doing these things. We get lazy. We no longer make the other person feel special. Keep making the effort to do nice things for each other and you will continue to feel special in your long-term relationship. Something as simple as bringing the other person a cup of coffee in bed in the morning speaks volumes.
- See past the flaws – Part of the deal of being in a long-term relationship is that the mystery disappears. It gets replaced by getting to know every part of that person: the good and the bad. We all do things that our partners don’t like, but it’s really important to do your best to overlook these as much as you can. Start focussing too much on those things that annoy you and you can miss all the good stuff.
Have you and boo made it through some rough patches? Do you have any tips for how to fix a broken relationship?
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