If you’ve committed adultery or have a secret love child (no judgment here, Mr. Schwarzenegger), let’s just call it a wash and admit it’s over. For everyone finding it difficult to fix his/her relationship, there are ways on how to fix a struggling relationship or at least provide enough cushion so you can get to a place where you’re addressing the real issues.
Oddly enough, it’s not major stuff that causes the majority of split-ups. A recent study found that the most common cause of divorces in the U.S. is “lack of commitment,” with “arguing” following close behind.
On paper, not committing and arguing may sound like signs a couple is headed for trouble. But in reality, it’s not that simple. According to experts, lack of commitment in a relationship has more shades of grey than a certain BDSM-based tome — maybe it’s choosing a buddy’s bachelor party instead of her family reunion. Or never seriously having the “I do (or don’t) want kids.” conversation. Then there’s the whole you won’t put a ring on it until she makes you 300 gourmet sandwiches. (Some dude seriously said that.)
And arguing’s the same: A spat over who’s supposed to clean the bathroom, week in and week out, can create the initial crack that leads to joint custody of your puggle. So how do you keep your relationship safe? Here, five expert-approved ways.
#1. START FIGHTING CLEAN AND ABOVE THE BELT
Fights are going to crop up from time to time. The key to fighting clean is to focus on the present situation. “Bringing up past disagreements, using words like “always” or “never,” or making it sound like her behavior is inevitable turns into a personal attack,” explains Lisa Baher, a marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach, California.
And if you tell a woman she’s acting “crazy” or like her mom, expert her to Hulk up and get super angry. And you won’t like her when she’s super angry. Trust me.
#2. OPEN YOUR YAP WHEN FIXING A STRUGGLING RELATIONSHIP
Unsurprisingly, the number one way to prevent a breakdown is to communicate, says Baher. “After the honeymoon period of a relationship, you’re going to disagree. Lowering your expectations and being prepared for bumps in the road will make it easier to talk about what’s bugging you, instead of brushing it under the rug.”
#3. STOP INSISTING YOU GET YOUR WAY
You don’t want to go to her best friend’s birthday brunch — who can blame you? — and she’s not that psyched about spending Sunday at the bar watching football. While it’s fine to have separate interests, it’s equally important to let each other know how much you want each other at one of “your” things. “People sometimes act out behaviorally when they feel they can’t tell their partner what they want,” explains Baher.
So if you want her to be present at something, tell her. And insist she does the same for you. Just realize that it’s a give and take, so if you bail, don’t get your undies in a wad when she follows your lead.
#4. LEARN TO LET THE LITTLE THINGS SLIDE TO FIX YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Say she never remembers to take out the recycling. Instead of seething every time you see the overflowing bag, it might be easier to just do it yourself. “Things that seem like a big deal to one person may simply not be on the other’s radar,” reminds Baher, and that’s especially true for the little annoyances that can ignite major fights.
#5. LET A SHRINK MEDIATE
It’s not a last resort, and if you find yourselves frequently caught up in little arguments, silent treatment situations, or other communication breakdowns, just a few sessions can help you both learn to communicate. “Often, couples come to therapy as a last resort, when someone’s foot is already out the door. But when both partners are committed to figuring out how to fix their struggling relationship, just a few sessions can ward off a lot of future misunderstandings,” Bahar says.
How to Fix a Struggling Relationship FAQs
What are the signs of a dying relationship?
If you’re not sure what to do, keep an eye out for these six telltale signals that a relationship is dying;
- There is no Emotional Bond.
- Physical intimacy no longer appeals to you.
- It’s difficult to come to an agreement on anything.
- Someone Else Appears to Be More Attractive.
- The Trust Has Been Lost.
- Your goals aren’t in sync.
What is a struggling relationship?
You know you are in a Struggling Relationship if;
- You (or your partner) would rather be doing something else than spending time together.
- For the sake of your relationship and to prevent conflict, you compromise your integrity.
- You both make each other feel unworthy or inadequate.
- In your relationship, you (or your partner) lose yourself.
What are the signs of struggling relationships?
Some of the most prevalent indications of struggling relationships include;
- Scarce and often Negative Communication.
- Criticized Differences instead being celebrated.
- Spending less time together.
- Constant reminder that the relationship is in trouble by one partner
- Unwillingness to listen by one partner