It’s upsetting when a once-flourishing relationship takes a turn. Sometimes, something we’d never expect gets in the way—maybe you lost his trust after seeing him flirt with a girl at the club, or maybe her story about where she was last night has a few suspicious holes in it. Maybe your partner had a lapse in judgment and cheated, but promises it’ll never happen again. Where do you go from here?
No matter what, you’re not obligated to stay in a relationship based on the amount of time you’ve spent together. But admittedly, it can be scary to move on, which is why so many people try to forgive and forget. If you feel as if your relationship has broken, here are some ways you can try to fix it before calling it quits.
Sincerely forgive your partner.
This isn’t going to work if you don’t. And remember, it’s okay if you just can’t forgive them. After betrayal or mistrust, it’s hard not to keep revisiting a bad incident within your relationship. If you can’t stop thinking about the time he or she cheated, or let their anger get the best of them, it’s time you split for good—otherwise, there’ll be some rocky roads ahead for both of you.
So, what does sincere forgiveness mean? It means that if you get into a petty fight that explodes into something serious five years from today, you can’t bring up the past and throw it in their face to supplement your side of the argument. You need to single out this negative time in your life, make peace with it, and honestly believe that your partner will work their hardest at being better for the sake of the relationship.
There’s no shame in finding a counselor that can help the two of you work on your relationship. On that subject, there’s no shame in finding a counselor for any reason—and plenty of people do it. Trying to work something out with a third party might help you understand your partner in ways you’ve never thought possible. Perhaps the two of you are going through a rough patch and can’t find the proper way to communicate about it. Relationship counseling will help you both reach a better understanding so that you can move forward.
Remind yourself of their good qualities.
Now, this suggestion is only good if there’s just been a disconnect between the two of you recently. If he or she is abusive, either verbally or physically, there should be no forgiveness—you should find a way to safely leave the situation. But if nothing is reaching a level of danger, and you’re just not too happy with your partner for other reasons, it might be good to reflect on the early days of your relationship. What changed from then?
Now that you have their good qualities listed, you might feel a sudden warmth towards them. If so, it’s a relationship worth working on. But if their bad qualities outweigh the good, or if you still find yourself feeling upset, it’s a telling sign that the relationship may have run its course.
It’s common to feel unheard in a relationship—and sometimes, arguments turn into bigger issues because as people, we forget to really listen to what the other person is saying. If you shut down at the sign of conflict, you’re not listening. If all you hear is someone else nagging, you guessed it, you’re not listening.
Try to calmly sit down with your partner and let them talk about anything that’s on their mind. Even if it’s something you’ve heard 15 times before. Don’t interrupt or try to counter what they’re saying. Then, have them do the same with you. It’ll be good for both of you to let it all out without yelling at each other due to the fear of being cut off.
Many relationships take two people to break. Sure, one of you might be more guilty than the other given the situation, but there’s a chance you’re not completely innocent. Not everyone is expected to be perfect in a relationship, and often times heavy emotions cloud our decision-making skills. If you did something to escalate the situation, own it. Then, apologize for it.
It’s important to realize when you’re at fault for a situation. Only when you take accountability can you learn and grow. By recognizing that you’ve made a mistake, you’re less likely to make it again. Plus, your partner will see this as a mature step in the right direction.
Plan a trip together.
A vacation alone won’t solve the problem, but a change of scenery might be good for both of you. If your relationship is on the rocks since your partner has been more like a roommate than a boyfriend or girlfriend, this might be the reset button you need to continue forward. Just remember, the trip is about rebuilding—you’ll want to make sure you plan a lot of fun, social activities together to try and create some pleasurable memories together.
Just remember, relationships aren’t easy—they require maintenance to function at even the best of times. And every relationship and situation is a little different. There are many reasons why a relationship may break. If it’s due to infidelity or lack of trust, being able to move forward can be especially tough. If it’s because either you or your significant other has taken the relationship for granted, it may be a little easier to rebuild.
It’s possible to mend a broken relationship, but you also need to ask yourself whether or not it’s worth fixing in the first place. For one, if you’re in danger, or are fearful of your partner, it’s important to confide in someone you trust and leave as soon as possible. But if you can’t find any redeeming qualities about your partner, it’s probably best to cut them off and move forward to find a relationship that’s more beneficial for you.