You love your partner, and they love you. But all the love in the world doesn't always guarantee eternal bliss. Sometimes things just get difficult, and you might even start wondering if the relationship can be saved.
This is the age-old question for couples on the brink of a breakup. Of course, some relationships are simply unhealthy and aren't worth the effort. Think along the lines of couples who fight dirty, or have lost their trust. If this describes your partnership, it may be time to let it go. But if you two love each other and want desperately to make things work, then rest assured there are things you can do to get things back on track.
The first step? Making sure you're both on the same page. "What really matters is that both people ... are willing to work at it and do whatever it takes to fix things between them," says Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle.
Once that's established, you can both start working on fixing this thing. Sound like a plan? Then read on for some simple changes that can make for a happier and healthier relationship. And hopefully one that can keep you two together.
1. Do Something Special Together
When was the last time you two went on an actual date? If it's been a hot minute, then get to planning a night out. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary to make a difference, according to life coach Alexandra Harra on HuffingtonPost.com. Even a quick trip out of coffee can show that you're both still committed to making this thing work. And, it might also serve as a reminder of why you two got together in the first place.
2. Leave the Past In The Past
No matter how grudge-y or angry you may feel, do not bring up old arguments or past indiscretions. And tell your SO to do the same. If you can both commit to leaving all the garbage behind, Martinez tells me there'll be more hope for a reconciliation. (Got it?)
3. Admit One Dirty Little Secret
This can be a fun, albeit scary way to build back some trust. As Harra said, "... honesty can trigger wonders in your partner’s opinion of you. Admitting one secret or mistake to your partner may make them want to open up, too." When it comes to saving a relationship, that's definitely a necessary thing.
4. Turn Off The TV
Sometimes reconnecting is as simple as turning off that dang TV. I mean, think about it. If you both get home from work and zombie walk past each other to your perspective entertainment zones, how can you expect to feel like a healthy couple? You can't. So make some changes, such as eating dinner together before watching TV, according to lifestyle writer Winona Dimeo-Ediger on TheFrisky.com. It can make all the difference in the world.
5. Make It A Point To Make Out
Kissing can lower your stress levels, according to sex and relationship editor Julia Pugachevsky on Cosmopolitan. And that's probably something you both need during these though times. So surprise your partner with a sexy kiss, or schedule a date night in, and make it happen.
6. Drop Some Compliments
Yes, things are bad right now. But that doesn't mean you have to be negative 24/7. In fact, you should make it a point to turn things around by letting the good comments outweigh the bad. The perfect ratio, according to clinical psychologist Andy Hahn, is 5:1. "As in, for every one negative thing you say to your partner, you should say five great things about them," added Korin Miller on Women's Health. This will obviously make your partner feel good, but can also help change the relationship's dynamic.
7. Get Your Cuddle On
Cuddling can quickly go out the window when fights are near-constant, or you're feeling disconnected. So tonight, make it a point to lie in each other's arms. After all, physical affection is so important in a relationship, according to Dimeo-Ediger. A quick snuggle can be incredibly relieving and reassuring. (And who knows where it might lead?)
8. Stare Into Each Other's Eyes
The next time you guys get it on, make sure to look deeply into each other's eyes. "According to sex therapists, eye contact during sex ... is a crucial part of bonding in bed," said Pugachevsky. It may feel weird at first, but do it anyway. It'll turn your usual sex into a relationship-healing moment of connection.
9. Stop Taking Outside Advice
When your relationship gets bumpy, it's normal to run to friends and family for advice. But sometimes outside opinions can do more harm than good. "Chances are they don’t hold the answers to your problems," said Harra. So do yourselves a favor and keep the issues between the two of you. It'll help with better communication, while preventing things from getting muddier than they already are.
10. Have Some Alone Time
When things are going south, the thought of separating (even for a short time) can feel scary. And yet it's entirely necessary step in getting things back on track. "Make sure both of you are getting a little time alone to relax and recharge: even 15 minutes can make a huge difference," said Dimeo-Ediger. It will allow a chance for you and your partner to recharge and return to the relationship with fresh eyes.
11. Try Out Some Couples Therapy
If all else fails, it may be time for some couples therapy. While "therapy" kind of sounds like a big deal, setting up an appointment and chatting with a professional doesn't have to be difficult — especially since doing so can mean saving your relationship. "Couples therapy can be fairly essential ... to help give [couples] the tools and a roadmap for fixing things," Martinez says. "They can give them communication tools, help them learn to compromise and navigate issues and disagreements, and learn to truly forgive and forget."
And that may be just what you both need to happily stick together.
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