The early days of many relationships are filled with magic, romance, and perfection. Your partner is the most desirable being in the world; you are mesmerized by the things that make him different and are charmed by the mysteries surrounding him.
As time passes, you go through some ugly experiences which provoke both of you to manifest characters you never knew existed and imperfections are revealed. You then realize something is not right and your relationship is deeply flawed and hanging by a thread, yet you are entirely committed to staying but without a clue on how to fix a relationship that is falling apart.
The ability to mend a communication gap or fix a relationship that is falling apart isn’t something that is taught in school and to be realistic; no one gets with someone hoping to one day struggle in untangling the undesirable knots that have found their way into a once beautiful friendship. However, it is a knowledge that can help us through the deepest crises our relationships may ever encounter.
If your relationship is falling apart and you want to fix it, consider these seven ways below.
Many of us are wandering the earth without a clue of who we truly are or what we want. We move around with baggage and wounds that stop us from bringing our best selves into relationships. We get into relationships expecting our partners to solve all our unknown problems and save us from our demons.
More so, we don’t have a stable sense of what we want; our values or judgments and a simple criticism from our partner leaves us helpless and defensive. Worse yet; we are forced to be slaves and uncritically accept the public’s opinions to ideas that do not serve us simply because it is a trend or the way things should be done.
The realization that you are lost in life can be sobering but it leaves you with feelings that can propel you towards understanding how to get things to work again. However, you can visit a therapist who will help you understand some of the important truths surrounding your being and make sense of your feelings. It’s also worth noting that it is not just past friendships but also childhood experiences that have formed you into an obscure adult.
More so, knowing yourself includes understanding your values, the things that excite you, what you want out of life, when you are most productive, your love language, etc. In fact, a good understanding of yourself helps you develop original thinking and decision making without relying on external opinions.
Finally, to make sense of it all, there is a common saying by Lao Tzu; “He who controls others may be powerful but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” This goes to say that we must conquer our self-esteem issues and acknowledge that we are flawed beings open to learning and growing. If you can fix yourself first, then you will be armed to fix your relationship.
Sometimes, the answer and ability to fix a couple’s problems are deeply rooted in the psychological makeup of both partners and this make-up is often groomed from childhood. This means it is important to understand the psychological nature, temperament, and intellect.
Dr. Gary Chapman, author and director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. coined the five (5) love languages in his book to help people better understand how and when they feel most loved.
The five love languages are; ‘quality time’ (which speaks to giving your partner undivided attention and doing things with them). This is then followed by ‘receiving gifts’ (which dwells on gifts as a sign of affection), ‘words of reaffirmation’ (this is the act of expressing appreciation and compliments) ‘physical touch’ (the act of expressing affection through physical touch), and ‘acts of service’ (using actions to express love).
No doubt, a person may be attuned to more than one love language but we tend to speak our dominant love language when we express love and we are only able to appreciate love when it is spoken through our love language.
In fact, I remember the frustrating feeling when a past boyfriend accused me of not loving him enough, simply because I was not comfortable with public displays of affection. His love language was physical touch, while mine was acts of service and we kept having clashes caused by doubts because of lack of knowledge. However, once we discovered each other’s love language, it was easy to have our emotional needs met and everything practically blossomed.
That being said; it is not very often that you will find partners who share a common love language and that is why it is so important to ask and understand your partner’s love language when figuring out how to fix your relationship. This way, you can focus on ways to love him exactly the way he wants and he is more likely to see, appreciate, and reciprocate the efforts you are making to fix a relationship.
The falling out of two people in a relationship does not have to be the end of it all. Sometimes, problems can be fixed if we just find a way to rekindle the feelings we had at the beginning that lifted our moods (remember how his phone calls made you excited when you first met?). Surely, deep down, you still have feelings for each other but a lot of issues have accumulated and you haven’t tackled them properly and these impending issues have metamorphosed into resentment.
More so, love is a choice and hard as it may be, you can commit yourself to always making that choice even when it feels like there is nothing to hold onto in your relationship. Go the extra mile to be nice to one another just as you did at the beginning of the relationship, don’t take the things that matter to them for granted, focus on positivity because oftentimes, positive acts bring about positive reactions.
This basically means you should be the change you want to see in your relationship – if you want more love, do things to show more love. But how do you do this? Well, planning a date is a great way to create time for honest and overdue conversations. On these dates, dare to name your problem as opposed to general criticism but make sure it is wrapped in layers of love. This makes it easier for your partner to hear and see how it affects you.
No doubt, feelings can be rekindled if we simply engage in the right set of conversations.
However, if you are having trouble gathering your thoughts, The School of Life compiled an extensive list of questions that can be asked in times like this when you need to rekindle love and fix a relationship that’s falling apart.
While having a good support system built around family and friends is great, it is best if you resist the urge to purge out all the difficulties your relationship is facing during the next girls’ night or reunion.
When going through a rough patch in your relationship, no matter how emotionally mature you may think you are, it may be difficult to narrate your situation without knowingly or unknowingly painting your partner in a bad light. And even when you manage not to taint their image, members of your support group are still more likely to see you as a victim and your partner as the villain or individual who is just not doing enough or tolerant enough and things can get out of hand from here.
This is because our friends and family are understandably out to protect us and save us from situations that we are unable to deal with. They will want to provide you with advice and solutions that may or may not help your situation.
Certainly, I understand that your relationship is falling apart and you feel like crying out to the people around you about all the woes your partner is putting you through but think of how this will affect their relationship with your partner in the future.
However, accommodating the opinions of external parties when it comes to the finding ways to fix a relationship will not only expose you to advise that stem from the dangers of a single story, but it could permanently ruin the relationship they have with your partner especially if your partner’s shortcoming is the reason why your relationship is falling apart. More so, don’t be surprised if they have a harder time forgiving them even after you have both moved on.
Now, since you have made the commitment to figure out how to fix the relationship, you must, therefore, focus on that alone without having the voices of external parties influencing your decisions. It is okay if you vaguely tell them you are merely having a misunderstanding but you would appreciate it if they allowed you to figure this out on your own. Assure them that you will not hesitate to bring them in if need be. This way, they don’t feel completely shut out and your privacy is maintained.
To love is to be vulnerable and to make yourself vulnerable is to give someone the ability to hurt you. If we understand and fully grasp this concept, then surely, we must learn the act of forgiveness.
Look at the broken pieces of your relationship and understand it. Acknowledge the part you played in crumbling the pillars of your relationship and apologize. Maybe you had pushed too hard for change or you may have ignored their emotional needs but whatever the case, make sure you acknowledge that you are just as guilty for neglecting your relationship.
You should both say sorry and open up your heart to forgive and be forgiven as forgiveness is one of the first steps to figuring out how to fix a relationship that is falling apart.
More so, when your partner apologizes, try not to listen to any inner critical voice rather, focus on what you are trying to achieve – a new beginning. Forgiveness does not mean that hurtful behaviors are condoned in your relationship. It simply means that you recognize the idiocy and imperfections in one another but you are both willing to step away from it and forge ahead.
However, if you are having difficulty forgiving, you can seek the professional assistance of a therapist for relationship advice. They can walk you through the process of forgiving and healing.
Contrary to what social media might tell you, a healthy relationship is not defined by the absence of problems; rather, it is defined by how these relationship problems are resolved. When it comes to relationships, surface harmony is not a reliable sign of health because, in reality, a lack of arguments points towards the idea that a couple has given up on caring or even worse, they never even cared.
More so, the non-existence of arguments in any relationship is not a superhuman accomplishment to maturity. So, accept that when people are in a relationship, they will never be able to fully do away with arguments and that should not be a goal. Instead, if you want to fix a relationship, aim towards arguing ‘well’.
Remind yourselves that you are both deeply flawed and sometimes, outrightly mad beings who are constantly in need of forgiveness. Furthermore, try not to act self-righteous; as it is the enemy of engaging in mature disagreements. This is because people often concede when they feel loved and not when they are challenged or afraid of losing something.
Finally, do not be desperate for a change from your partner because certain behaviors formed in childhood will take a while to disappear(or may never even go away). Rather, make peace with the idea that your partner is not you. More importantly, during arguments, instead of seeing your partner as a bad person, see him as someone who is confused, worried, or not thinking straight and the fact that he is hurting you is just his way of coping.
Generally, as a society, our intrinsic idea of a functioning couple involves two people who are the center of each other’s lives and they do everything together. So, it’s no surprise that some people believe that partners are expected to complete each other in matter and spirit. More so, they should have mutual friends, to meet each other’s needs in every aspect of their lives; sex, intellects, music taste, style, social life, etc.
It sounds endearing but in reality, it is a recipe for disaster, especially when you are trying to fix a relationship. You cannot match each other in areas of existence and relationship problems are often formed from an attempt to do so. To put it simply - it generates bitterness and disappointment.
In an ideal relationship, any act of independence is frowned upon and seen as an impending danger and evidence of betrayal. Yes, there are important areas where couples should meet each other’s needs but you must also recognize the areas where you both can flourish independently - such as attending concerts alone or traveling.
Furthermore, stable couples are not those that do everything together rather, they are the ones who manage to interpret their need for occasional independence in a non-dramatic and disloyal relation. This helps you to focus actively on what your partner has to offer you and because we have encouraged the desire to build various sources of stimulation, excitement, and reassurance away from the relationship. So, you can stop being upset and disappointed in their interests and ideas and learn to focus more on things you both agree on.
Often times, the signs that a relationship is falling apart isn’t always clear and difficult to pinpoint but a few things you can pay close attention to include how much time you are both spending apart, you are easily irritated, you hesitate when asked if you are single, your once active sex life is almost non-existent.
It is quite common to find that the communication gap is the reason why a good relationship is falling apart. Gottman in his metaphoric analyses of the four horsemen of the apocalypse identifies how communication styles can predict the resilience of a relationship. Efficient communication is a major step towards saving a relationship that is falling apart.
The modern understanding of a healthy relationship is one with constant excitement and zero conflict so when faced with hurdles, it is easy to conclude that surely, we have made a mistake. More so, the fragility of modern relationships can be attributed to technology and its promise to access new people who are less tricky and difficult to understand than the humans we are in a relationship with.
One sure red flag in a relationship is when partners are unwilling to share and they hold back important information from each other. It goes to show that there is little to no trust and if this is not addressed, they slowly start to seek gratification from outsiders.
A toxic relationship is not something that is normal. In fact, it is one of the most hostile environments anyone can be in. While disagreements are normal if you feel emotionally or physically abused and your relationship seems to be draining you; chances are you are in a toxic relationship and may need to take a break to fully re-access the situation rather than struggle to fix it.
Dr. Phil once said, “People say time heals all wounds but time heals nothing. It is what you do in that time that helps in healing”. More so, the earlier you communicate and take responsibility for your actions, the less difficult it will be to fix your relationship which is falling apart. These are sure ways to help something bad (such as a bad situation) become smooth again.
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