Experts Say These 7 Things Can Save A Failing Relationship
All relationships go through rought patches. But if yours is really bad, it can leave you feeling like things may be coming to an end. The good news is, no relationship is really doomed to fail. According to experts, there are some things you can do right now to help save your relationship from failing.
First, it's important to know why relationships fail in the first place. As Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle, many relationships fail when partners don't feel heard, seen, respected, valued, appreciated, or loved.
"A relationship is meant to be a safe place to land. Each partner must feel like what they say matters," Scott-Hudson says. "If a partner begins to doubt their significance within the partnership, they may begin to question the need for the relationship at all." When one partner starts second-guessing the relationship, it can lead to resentment, distance, and disconnect.
It isn't easy to save a failing relationship. But you can do it. As Alyssa Petersel, CEO of My WellBeing, tells Bustle, the first thing you need to do is communicate. "Relationships become vulnerable when communication isn't as strong as it can be," she says. "But if one person expresses a need, they may be surprised to learn that their partner is ready and eager to provide it." The more you express yourself and communicate, the more you'll find that your relationship is exactly what you want it to be.
Open communication is important. But here are some other things that can help to save a failing relationship, according to experts.
1. Reliving The Good Times
Think about the early days of your relationship. What made you two fall in love in the first place? "Look at old pictures or videos of good times together," Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist and board certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle. Reminiscing about old times together can help you recapture the spark you used to have.
You can even take it a step further by actually going back and doing some of the things you used to do in order to reconnect. "Too often relationships fail or grow apart because the couple is no longer spending quality time together," she says. So carve out some time each week to relive the early days. Go back to the restaurant where you had your first date. Do things you used to do in the beginning. You might find yourselves falling love all over again.
2. Forgiving Past Hurts
"Holding onto past hurts or sins of your partner is a quick way to drive a wedge in the relationship," Dr. Jackson says. Resentment is ugly and is one surefire way to destroy a relationship. When you're still holding on to something from the past, the tendency is to keep bringing it up during every fight you have. When that happens, nothing ever gets solved. It's important to find ways to truly forgive your partner so you can move forward in a healthy way. "If forgiveness is not easy, process your thoughts and emotions with a licensed professional to help you," Dr. Jackson says.
3. Understanding That Relationships Go Through Phases
The reality is, all relationships go through phases. For instance, once the honeymoon period is over, your relationship will settle a bit and you'll become more comfortable with each other. Sometimes, being too comfortable can make you worry that you're stuck in a rut. But this is completely normal. As Dr. Saira Sabzaali, registered clinical counsellor, tells Bustle, understanding that relationships have phases can help to ease your anxiety over your relationship.
"It just takes one person to start learning," she says. "This learning can happen on your own by reading the incredible evidence-based literature that is now available to us, or with the support of an expert." Learning more about relationships and how they work can help you to be more forgiving and accepting.
4. Having Your Own Interests
One small way to save a failing relationship is to do your own thing. Diving into your own interests and letting the relationship breathe for a bit, while staying together, can help to turn things around. As Margaux Cassuto, relationship expert and matchmaker, tells Bustle, "Allowing for some space within the framework of the relationship can save it by taking the focus off the issues and redirecting it to more interesting and positive things."
5. Showing More Empathy Towards Each Other
If you want to save your relationship from a breakup, find ways to show more empathy towards your partner. In other words, try putting yourself in your partner's shoes more often. According to Cassuto, showing more empathy in your relationship can be as easy as asking your partner about their day and giving them space to talk about their feelings.
"They can also do some independent reflection on what upsets or lights up their partner in order to understand them and act accordingly," she says. "Oftentimes, empathy just requires you to ask yourself how you would feel in such a circumstance and do unto others what you want done to you."
6. Having At Least One Six-Second Kiss Each Day
When a relationship starts failing, there's usually a decrease in the amount of physical contact and affection between the couple. According to Michelle Terry, LMHC with Next Chapter Counseling, there is one very simple fix to this. "A small thing couples can start to do each day is a six-second kiss," she says. "John Gottman, a well-known relationship researcher, has shown that it takes a six-second kiss for our brains to start releasing endorphins." If you don't really feel like doing this because you're not in a good place, just try it out. As Terry says, "If you commit to do it every day, it may start to improve your relationship."
7. Going To Therapy
If you really want your relationship to work and you've exhausted all the options you can do on your own, seeking out a professional may be helpful. You can start going on your own, with your partner, or maybe even a couples retreat. "Yes, therapy is costly, but so is divorce," Terry says. "The relationship probably needs some outside help from an expert to start healing and there's a variety of ways to make this happen."
If your relationship is toxic or abusive in any way, you may want to consider ending it for good. The same applies if you're incompatible in major ways. If not, you can turn your relationship around. As long as you and your partner are both committed to making things work, there's no reason why you can't save your relationship from failing.