While it's normal to go through ups and downs as a couple, sometimes things can feel a bit rockier than usual. Maybe your partner's been ignoring you, pulling away, or clamming up whenever you try to talk about the future. It may even seem like they're thinking about leaving the relationship. And that can be stressful AF.
The bad news is that, if you're feeling like things are on shaky ground, you're probably right — to some degree. But the good news is there's plenty you can do about it. You'll want to eventually sit down with your partner, have a frank discussion, and figure out whether or not your suspicions are warranted. But you can also make some changes now that'll help create a healthier, happier relationship — and one you both might want to stay in.
"It is possible to save a relationship headed for a break up if you acknowledge there is a problem, rather than deny it or ignore it thinking it will go away," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "As long as you and your partner are still talking and really listening ... you have a chance to get back on the same page." Below, Rappaport shares some great places to begin.
1. Try To Let The Little Things Go
If you two have been bickering, it may feel like the only solution is to call things off. And yet, if you're both willing to let it go, you'll see that's simply not the case at all. "One of the best things you can do is pick your battles and let a lot of things go. Small, little petty things are what can ruin any relationship." Save the arguing for the big things, and you'll notice a lot less stress in your lives.
2. Listen To What Your Partner Is Saying
Assuming the worst can make for a shaky — and very stressful — relationship. So get in the habit of hearing what your partner says, instead of what you think they said. "Ask your partner what their intention is when they say something... if you really need to know. What saves relationships are two people willing to ask each other for clarification. Never assume anything."
3. Give Each Other Plenty Of Space
If your partner seems to be pulling away, it's natural to react by getting closer. But you should resist the urge to cling at all costs. "If your partner needs space because they may feel smothered, or they have to process something, give it to them. Being secure in yourself ... will definitely create more love and trust." And it can even save your relationship.
4. Don't Be Afraid To "Lose" An Argument
While you certainly don't want to put up with a toxic situation, or become a total pushover, it can help to occasionally "lose" an argument. As Rappaport says, "If you and your partner have a disagreement, rather than argue or blow things out of proportion, if it makes them happy, why not let them be right? It’s a small price to pay to keep the peace." (At least until things smooth over.)
5. Go On A Fun Date ASAP
When things aren't going well, romance is often the first thing to fly right on out the window. And yet, if there's ever a time to show each other how much you care, it's in situations like these. "Making time for something special that you both enjoy, including romance, helps to bring back some intimacy that may have been overlooked." Life can get busy, and it's easy to lose touch. But if you bring back the fun, things can feel fresh again.
6. Resolve Any External Issues
Your failing relationship may have nothing to do with you or your partner, but rather all those people on the periphery — like friends, family, and maybe even toxic exes. "If one or both of you have family problems, have a conversation about what you both can do to keep your family from interfering in your relationship. Mutually decide ... that you will not let family members get in between you."
7. Remind Them What They Mean To You
It's often easy to forget about that spark that you brought you together in the first place. So take a moment and remind each other about the good things. "Remember to tell your partner you love them, how much they mean to you, and thank them for just being who they are. Everyone needs to know they are loved and appreciated, just because they are the person they are."
8. Ask For Help
If up until now, you've both tried to stay out of each other's hair and remain as independent as possible, it may help to change that. "Your partner may want to feel needed and appreciated, as well as loved." There's even some evidence to suggest people bond over favors, so don't be afraid to ask for help.
9. Let Go Of Your Baggage
While this is obviously easier said than done, it's important to keep your relationship light and healthy — instead of weighed down by old baggage. If you're holding a grudge, for example, or feel negatively affected by past relationships, Rappaport tells me it may be a good idea to see a therapist. They can help you work through any issues, and thus create a happier relationship.
10. Turn To Each Other In Tough Times
Another thing that can make for a rocky relationship? Turning away — or worse, towards other people — when times get tough. To prevent this, get in the habit of sharing your stresses after work, or turning to each other when sh*t hits the fan. "Sharing will help solidify your bond." And, it'll serve as a great reminder that you're definitely in this together.
11. Do Something Nice For Each Other
If it's been a minute since you did something sweet for your SO, take some time to bring the tradition back. "Do nice unexpected things — a small gift because you love them. Perhaps make a special meal, [or] bake the cookies they love most. Whatever would show your SO how much you still care. And how much you want this thing to work.
All relationship go through ups and downs. But if you truly think your partner is pulling away, have a chat. Then, make an effort to bring back communication, fun, and lightheartedness — so this relationship can remain something you both want to stay in.
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