Relationships should be fun, right? They should be loving, and make you feel safe, happy, and secure. And here’s betting that up until a certain point, yours was just that.
But now? OK, so things are a little different. And you think it’s falling apart? Well, before you call time on what used to be great, it’s time to spend a little effort understanding exactly why you’ve ended up in this situation, and if you can do anything to save it.
Because in many (many!) cases, all it takes is a little understanding and a few tweaks to get right back on track again.
First and foremost. Do you still love your partner?
Note the word ‘love’. We’re not asking if you still like them, because if you’re at this stage, you probably don’t very much, right now. But love – that’s a different story.
If you still harbor a deep love for your partner, and as long as there’s not been any terminal occurrences (we’ll cover them in a moment), then there really is hope. But if you’ve honestly fallen out of love, then really? You know the answer already…
OK, so you’re still in love. So let’s get to work.
The first step is….
Take some time to think about your last fight. How did it end? Did you (or he/she) storm off, leaving a big festering gouge between you? The key here is learning to talk about what’s going on between you, WITHOUT being judgmental, critical, or flying off the handle.
Easier said than done, we know. But why not try opening up and communicating when you’re not about to dive headlong into an argument. This can be difficult, but the art of communication within a relationship is the number one reason why so many partnerships fail.
If you’re really struggling to express your feelings without anger getting in the way, consider getting a mediator to help. Yes, by this we do mean ‘counseling’ – an awful word we know. But if you’ve got to such a stage, it really could be the deal breaker that helps you get through.
Now, we’re not talking about trying to forgive a partner who’s done something that’s almost guaranteed to be terminal. You know, cheating, abuse, or anything that is simply a no-no as far as you’re concerned.
We’re talking about forgiveness on a different level. For example, he (or she) hasn’t been giving you the attention you require because of outside influences. Perhaps work’s been getting in the way. Or a family member’s been ill and their attention’s been diverted.
Whatever the reason, you need to dig deep and realize that sometimes it’s not all about you. And he or she is probably just trying to do their best in a difficult situation. Sure – they might be going about it in a way totally different from what you’d choose. But does that make them wrong? No – it doesn’t. Like all of us, they’re just muddling through, trying to do the best they can.
Put like that, can’t you see that it’s you who needs to change. And it’s you who needs to forgive. Of course, you need to sort out the communication issue first, so you can actually talk about it. But when push comes to shove, you need to put such behavior behind you.
Relationships are all about give and take. Think back to when you first met. You probably both made compromises all the time. But as time goes by, and as arguments increase, it can be difficult to budge on even the littlest thing.
But hey, isn’t that somewhat immature – if you think about it deep and hard? After all, you love this person. So what on earth are you balking at such issues as the brand of bread you buy? (Yes, stupid, tiny problems such as this can become major deal breakers when you get to a certain stage).
Of course, compromise has to be mutual. And guess what, this takes us right back to the communication issue once again.
Understand that yours is a dynamic relationship
The thing about human beings is that we’re constantly growing and changing – no matter how old we get. This means that your relationship is also growing and changing.
So your partner takes up a new hobby? Well, why not see if it’s something that floats your boat as well – maybe you can do it together. And if you really don’t enjoy it, then give him or her the space to be their own person. Take up a new hobby yourself – after all, you don’t have to do every single thing together. But at least show an interest in what they’re doing.
As we grow and change, we need to talk to our partners about this. Oh, guess what? We’ve come full circle and we’re back at that pesky communication issue once again.