Relationships aren’t easy. No matter how strong your chemistry with your partner is, you’ll face challenges, things that make it harder to stay connected and together.
Those tough times can spring from a variety of sources. Something may have happened that has damaged your trust or created jealousy. You — or your partner — may not have clearly communicated expectations, leading to hurt feelings or resentment.
Regardless of what has caused the problem, you need a solution. You need to figure out how to fix your relationship, how to make sure you and your partner can move past your issues and grow stronger together.
1. Realize there’s no quick fix.
You’re not children anymore, and a hug, a lollipop, and a Band-aid won’t fix every hurt. Instead, make sure you’re ready to begin the healing process in earnest before you approach your partner to try to fix the relationship.
Sometimes you have to decide whether you want to win an argument or strengthen a relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to give in or be a pushover, but you should look for ways to make peace and reconnect without forcing your partner to grovel before you.
Examine yourself closely and analyze your motives before approaching your partner. Talk with a trusted group or third-party if needed, to make sure you’re seeing your relationship issues from multiple unbiased perspectives.
If you’re headed into the conversation with a desire to prove your partner wrong or to force them into an apology, take a little longer to think about the situation and what your end goal is before engaging.
There’s something to be said for spending time together and stepping away from your normal everyday routine. Find ways to set aside time to connect with your partner and do things you both enjoy.
When you do new activities together, you release oxytocin, the bonding hormone. As an added surprise, you might even try something like a shared art class; men who did this released 2 to 3 times the amount of “happiness hormones.”
And, if you’re trying to figure out how to fix your relationship with your partner, you should also take some time for relaxation and reflection on your own terms.
When you feel relaxed and prepared for your conversation, you’ll be better equipped for a proactive discussion. You’ll be able to communicate in a way that allows both of you to express your frustrations or concerns without a lower chance of an aggressive or reactive response.
3. Open up emotionally
When you start to open up, you may feel like your body wants to shut you down. Opening up and showing vulnerability means giving up some control and giving someone else the power to hurt you.
When you anticipate losing control, you may start to feel anxious. And, when you start to feel anxious, you’re more likely to either clam up or to express yourself in a selfish or thoughtless way.
If you need to, go back to the relaxation part of the process. Examine the emotions you’re feeling, get yourself comfortable, then prepare to have a conversation where you’ll open up and allow yourself to be made vulnerable.
It can feel risky and may give you a few minutes of tension, but put yourself out there. Keeping the lines of communication open is one of the top ways couples can fix or improve their relationships.
Start with a simple statement about how you feel and how you want the relationship to work. Showing that level of vulnerability can be frightening – after all, what if they don’t feel the same way or they mock your openness?
Chances are, though, your partner has also been waiting and hoping for a moment like this, one where you’re both ready to let your guards down and work toward a better relationship.
4. Connect – and move past fear
When that emotional groundwork is laid and you’re both open for a conversation, look for a way to connect.
It doesn’t have to mean heading straight for sex.
You can restart a physical connection with your partner through something as simple as a touch on the arm. Physical touch is integral to connection with each other, in addition to providing a wealth of other physical and emotional benefits for you and your partner.
That little moment of connection can spark additional conversation, and a stronger desire to work together and make the relationship better.
Are these steps a foolproof guide for how to fix your relationship? No.
It may be that the pain or division between you has gone on for a while, that you’ve reached a place where it will take many hours, many conversations and many good-faith efforts to show that you want to fix the relationship and you’re willing to put in the work.
However, these steps are a good start and open the door to those deeper, more in-depth healing rituals. They show your partner that you’re ready to engage, to be vulnerable and to find a way to make your relationship stronger and better.
They’re not a one-time solution either. You’ll need to keep using these skills over and over, avoiding the temptation to fall back into defensive or reactive behaviors. You may need to practice these skills with a trusted friend, coach or counselor, so you feel prepared to approach your partner in a way that works.
Where are you in this process?
Are you ready to re-engage with your partner and to make your relationship better? Where do you need help or guidance to feel like you’re ready to take the steps needed to fix your relationship?
how to fix your relationshiprelationship help
If you’re looking for a sounding board and a place where you can be honest about your relationship, EVRYMAN may have a group that can support you and model openness for you as you seek to restore and renew your relationship.