When You're Afraid it Might Be Over - But You Don't Want it To Be
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
When your relationship is falling apart it can seem hopeless, and like nothing you do can fix the problems that have built up between you. But many relationships, even ones that may feel like they are beyond repair, can be rebuilt into strong, happy relationships if you invest your energy into rebuilding authentic, intimate connection. If you want to fix your relationship here is what you can do to get it back.
For many couples, even those who frequently argue, the actual issues between them are never openly and honestly discussed. Holding onto expectations, resentments, and anger poisons relationships from the inside out. You need to let your partner know if there are things in the relationship that disappoint or frustrate you. You need to make your expectations of your partner and the relationship explicit so that they can understand what it is you want and then decide if that is something that they are able or willing to do for you and for the relationship.
When people in struggling relationships finally share their honest frustrations and resentments too often it comes out in a blast of anger and accusation. This mode essentially guarantees either a defensive or emotionally overwhelmed reaction. Either way, the person won't be in a mode to constructively respond to their partner's perspective. Make sure that you are in a centered, emotionally calm place when you express your feelings, wants, and needs, and make sure that you do it from a place of love with a goal of getting your relationship back on track, not a place of blame. Express yourself with loving firmness so that you can get your point across in a way that your partner can hear the difficult truth that you are sharing.
Take responsibility for the things in the relationship that you know are not contributing to an intimate, authentic connection. For apologies to be effective they need to focus on what you did that you are sorry for and also include an offer to repair or to describe how things will be different going forward. Don't undermine the apology by mentioning what the other person did that you feel justifies part of your behavior or by using the word "but." Don't ask or expect your partner to do or say anything in response to the apology. Don't offer the non-apology of "I'm sorry if you felt...". Make sure that your intention with the apology is to rebuild the relationship, not to ease your own guilt at the expense of your partner's feelings.
Rediscover joy and excitement together. Seek out new experiences and fun adventures. Try new activities that you are excited about. Visit a new place, even if it's right in your home town. Shake up your routine so that you can build new memories together. Find opportunities to laugh together. Inject some excitement into your sex life by taking an online course together that teaches new techniques for pleasure and try them out.
Get Help if You Need It
Most relationships have periods of difficulty or certain issues that are just too loaded to navigate without outside help. Unfortunately, a lot of couples try counseling and when it doesn't improve their relationship they decide either that the relationship is hopeless or that couples counseling doesn't work. But there are some relationship coaches and counselors and some approaches to couples work that are more effective for certain relationships and certain issues than others. If you work with someone and it doesn't give you the tools and perspective to make it better find someone else who works with a different approach.
It can be better. You deserve to be in an intimate, connected, and cherishing relationship.
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A version of this post was also included in UpJourney.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikki Loscalzo, Ed. M. is an RLT Certified Therapeutic Coach who helps couples and individuals learn to get past surface issues and heal the damage that gets in the way of intimate connection. Nikki first discovered the tremendous power of Relational Life Therapy when the RLT creator, Terry Real, transformed her own marriage.
Inspired by her personal experience with RLT, Nikki trained directly with Terry Real through his Relational Life Institute to learn how to empower couples to transform their relationships. Through his intensive certification program, she learned the skills that she employs every day in private practice at Savvy Strategies Relational Life Therapy, where she works with couples to quickly diagnose the problems in their relationships, uncover why these issues exist, and repair damage to shift unhelpful relationship dynamics and rebuild a truly intimate relationship.