A broken relationship will often involve a downward spiral that is fed by an ever increasing amount of insecurity. Before any form of tangible action takes place, it is imperative to slice the chains that keep you sliding towards an emotional oubliette. Without further a-do, I give you my subjective take on how to fix a broken relationship.
1. Redefining the role of fear
Assess the role fear (most notably the fear of abandonment) plays in your relationship decision making progress. How is it impacting the relationship?
- Have you, or has your partner been accused of being suffocating, jealous or possessive?
- Are you, or your partner quick to bring up the question of splitting up during a random, unrelated argument?
- Do you, or your partner, tend to be overly defensive or spiteful?
In most cases, ironically, the objective truth about these abrasive behaviours is the reverse of what is actually being displayed. Hurt, anger and defensiveness stem from caring, not from indifference. If they, or you, didn’t care — they wouldn’t take place. The first step with regards to fixing a broken relationship is that of walking through the smokescreen of feelings and containing the self-destructive elements that fear brings into play. Regain your composure, monitor your self-esteem and act with renewed confidence.
2. Choose dignity over sympathy
Given the topic of the article, this may seem like a surprising idea to bring up. Consider this step a very personal, subjective take. The main gist of my point relies on attempting not to be swayed by emotional fencing, mind-games, personal fears or self-righteous indignation. Why is this important? Preferring dignity in a difficult moment means:
- Removing yourself from conflict scenarios.
- Not playing mind-games and rejecting the projection of fears and guilt.
- Being direct, heartfelt and honest with your communication.
- Erecting and maintaining your personal boundaries.
Not only does letting go of guilt and hurt level the playing field and make a great deal of headway with regards to communication, it also helps keep the ever-necessary flame of romantic attraction alive.
Does this mean that sympathy has no place in a relationship? Of course not, I am merely hedging that because it is likely that both you and your partner are hurt (if your objective is fixing the relationship then who is right and who is wrong is presently meaningless), it has a tendency to make things worse in this particular scenario.
3. Spark a fresh wave of change
One lesson I learned in one of my psychology lessons back in university was that how heightened stress levels can affect every aspect of our life. In relationships, this can mean things become unsustainable very quickly indeed, despite the fact that you are both fundamentally the same people. One example of this is the “car-key” phenomena.
Imagine you’re in an energetic, positive mood. You’re about the leave the house and notice that you can’t find your car keys. While frustrating, it barely impacts your mood. At worst you make a couple of phone calls to let people know you’re late, scour the house and do what you can to find them. It happens.
Now image you’re in a famously black frame of mind. All of a sudden, the simple and typical act of not remembering where you left your car keys is the straw that broke the camel’s back — prompting overreaction and impulsiveness. It becomes a much-needed vent for an unsustainable level of stress that needs to be channelled somehow.
This principle holds particularly true with relationships. A good way to reduce the impact of day-to-day stress compounding an already difficult situation is to break the mould and do what it takes to make your life a little better. This might mean joining a gym, taking up new hobbies, improving your financial situation, setting up a romantic getaway with your partner or travelling. The key here is breaking free of your comfort zone and mixing it up — for yourself. After awhile, you might just find that the issues that were previously unbearable, to be far more manageable.
4. Drop judgement and idealism
Idealizing your partner or the relationship provides an unrealistic measurement of success, where reality always falls prey to hopes. One of my favourite quotes on this topic has to be:
Love is loving someone imperfect, perfectly.
While, it is necessary to have standards, and to uphold your own personal wants and needs. Attempting to drag your partner (or be dragged) up a figurative relationship tower of Babel will only result in both parties falling to their romantic deaths. Letting go of media or extra-personally projected standards for relationships is also, dare I say it, incredibly alleviating. Taking a great deal of stress out of the equation. Removing the need to impress and continuously measure-up to an impossible standard.
Are you able to accept the present as is? If not, communicate why and let them haggle with it without demanding change (although you will probably expect it). If realistic compromise rears its head, you have something to work with. If not, you have food for thought.
5. How to fix a broken relationship
By repeating that there is a problem, you are consolidating it, gradually turning it into a unsolvable riddle, an artificially enraged construct of your own making. Yes, ignoring it is also equally destructive, but I find that the only solution is in the middle-ground. The important thing is to not make it a cornerstone of your relationship. Self-irony, humor and distraction are powerful tools to keep feelings afloat, even when the ceiling feels like it’s caving in.
As important as analysis and communication are, not all aspects revolve around the cerebral. You’ll want to assuage the body as well as the mind. Along with my third point about mixing your day-to-day up, make sure other aspects of your relationship, such as intimacy and sex, go on a creative walk-about as well (delicately put, I hope). Cater to the senses and keep attraction on the premises.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net