Who said healthy relationships do not go through rifts? Who said couples in “good” relationships do not have disagreements? It is simply a misconception about relationships. But in all honesty, they cannot be any farther from the truth. But if you think things are going south for you, we have your back. There are ways you can save a failing relationship before it is too late.
How To Save A Failing Relationship?
Millions of couples clash and go through the dreaded question of how to save a relationship now and then. Again, who said relationships cannot be saved? Because if there is no room for disagreements and arguments in a relationship, would there be any sailing relationship in the world? The answer is obvious.
Can You Save A Failing Relationship?
When two individuals from two different worlds come together to form one beautiful relationship, there are bound to be disagreements. And that, in no way, is unhealthy and cannot be considered as wrong. Because we are all humans and we have our flaws! Every relationship is the persistent teamwork of two different individuals rooted in two different personalities, interests, views, perspectives, lifestyles, upbringings, childhood, life experiences, and mental states.
Now, you cannot expect every person you meet to have the same perception as you have, can you? These differences of opinions are the essence of our individuality, it is what makes us different from each other. But such perpetual issues are to be managed instead of solved since they do not always mean that your partner is wrong. It simply means they are different from you.
The fact is every relationship goes through cracks and every couple fights for even little things. But what truly matters is how do they overcome the obstacles and not let the bumps affect their relationship in a severe way. Besides, a relationship without arguments is blandly boring. So, yes, you can save relationships even when it is on the verge of a breakup. But only if both of you are willing to work on it.
Be Proactive To Save Your Failing Relationship
We all grew up by easily adopting the old saying “if it is meant to be, it will be” in our lives. I cannot disagree more with it. We cannot simply sit idle and wait for destiny to work its magic on what we want in life. We have to put in the effort, we have to work on it. Be it anything — your dreams, career, personal evolution, and even relationships, you have to make the effort for it to work.
So, to save a failing relationship, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes for the situation to be improved. In fact, earnest effort and compliance with your partner is what can save a relationship. For instance, if one of the two has already emotionally and mentally checked out of the relationship, the other one will be fighting a losing battle.
It requires the willingness and effort of both individuals. Meaning, you and your partner must have the desire to save your relationship before it is too late.
Which Kind Of Person Are You?
Before we learn how to save a failing relationship, let’s assess you as a person. There are four kinds of people in this world. When a person tries to communicate with them, being on the other side, they react in four different ways. The first group includes people who are unable to understand what the other person is trying to convey.
The second one includes people who refuse to understand what the person is trying to say. They simply do not want to understand. The third group includes people who can understand others clearly but are not willing to do anything to change the circumstance. They choose not to make the situation better.
And then there are people who can understand the other person well and will take action to improve the situation. It is crystal clear which kind of a person all of us must strive to be.
Which group are you in? The majority of people do not move forward from the third group. It could be because of their ego, pride, anger, or pain. But as long as you stay there and refuse to move forward to become a part of the fourth kind, you will have a hard time keeping relationships.
You have to become the fourth kind of person to have healthy relationships, even platonic relationships. To become a better human, you must learn to become the fourth kind.
How To Save A Failing Relationship And What Can You Do?
Do not be quick to call it quits, you might regret it later. In order to save a relationship, you can try the following and see where it heads. All these are important for any relationship to work and not just any relationship that is on the verge of a breakup. If you had a breakup previously, these will help you identify what went wrong.
Work On Yourself
Do you love yourself? If you love yourself enough, half the problems that once got you frustrated will not matter to you anymore. Because certain frustrations your partner causes comes from insecurities.
When you work on your insecurities by strengthening your inner values and core values, you will evolve on a personal level. Both of you have to work on yourselves as individuals and sort out your problems to create room for another individual in you. But in a completely healthy way.
Communicate To Understand
Communication can save any relationship. You always have to talk about the elephant in the room. But communication without comprehension is basically like talking to a wall. The words you are saying will keep coming back at you after hitting the wall. That will do nothing to save a failing relationship, if not worsen the situation.
If you refuse to understand your partner when they try to communicate, you will always be going in a pointless circle. Actively listen to each other. Listen, not to only say something back in return, but listen to only understand. When you respond, speak in a calm voice instead of shouting. Especially when your partner is trying to explain their reasoning.
Hone Radical Transparency to save a failing relationship.
Every couple should adopt the communication style of being brutally honest in their relationships. Your partner is human. No matter how well you have known each other, they do not necessarily need to understand you wholly all the time. You need to speak out to them about what is bothering you, what are your needs, and what they should do. Sitting and waiting for them to magically understand how your brain works at certain times is not ideal.
If your goal is to save a failing relationship, all the immature waiting games must be put to an end. Waiting for your partner to catch on without verbally speaking out and later punishing them with silent treatment for not catching on is absolutely unhealthy. In any relationship. Besides, they do have their baggage to carry as well. Set a monthly couple talk time and talk about trust, money, sex, needs, and expectations. You have to work on yourself and be honest about your expectations from them.
Address The Issues
Here, what is essential for every couple is to not leave any issue unaddressed. Even the small concerns you might consider unimportant and disregard the thought of addressing must be acknowledged. Because a few unimportant issues can make one big important issue. Then again, addressing the small issues does not particularly mean that you have to make a huge deal out of it and scream at each other.
It simply means to let your partner know how you feel about a certain incident or action. Leaving issues unaddressed and keeping your emotions regarding the issues bottled up won’t help in the long run; neither you nor your partner. It will merely create more space for bitterness. Also, you cannot let any external influence affect your relationship if your intention is to save a failing relationship.
Agree To Disagree
As I said, there is no absolute need for both individuals to agree on everything. Learn how to agree to disagree. There are certain topics both individuals cannot agree on due to the differences I have mentioned above. When that happens, talk to each other and understand the reason behind the disagreement. Again, to know the reason is not to “change your partner” but to understand them better. But certain decisions need agreement from both. In that case, learn to compromise, sacrifice, and change or break the pattern but not your core values and morals.
Trying to change the other person is not the way to save a failing relationship. Because it is important to stay true to yourself. You should not have to change yourself for your partner. Do not try to change your partner either. Instead, accept that s/he is an individual with flaws and differences, as are you. But if their mindset is wrong, for instance on the topic of injustice or inequality, you can try educating them as to why it is wrong without forcing them to change. It is their decision to change for the better.
Set Ground Rules To Save A Failing Relationship
Set boundaries and give each other space. Do not let your world revolve around your partner. This is the first rule of any healthy relationship. In the end, you are two individuals and should remain as two. Your hobbies, interests, friends, and family must remain out of the circle of your partner’s. Another advice I’d give you is to find an escape route for yourself, something your partner cannot take away from you.
For me, it is reading and writing and I won’t give anyone the power to take that away from me. When you get mad at your partner, you must have something that will hold you to the ground. It could be anything from your hobbies to favorite places to best friends. Sometimes a break of this sort is what you need to save a failing relationship. Similarly, set yourself rules — could be anything from scheduled dates and getaways to coming home at a fixed time to spend time with each other. And the rules apply to both individuals.
Meet The Needs Of Your Partner
It may start slowly and before you know it, you are growing apart. Either or both of you have already started neglecting each others’ needs long back. But the moment you realize that you don’t meet your partner’s needs or they don’t meet yours, sit and talk it out.
Talking about your partner behind their back to your friends instead of straight out talking to them is unhealthy. If your expectations are not met, talk to your partner about it, and manage them together. Any effort from one person to another shows love and care, so let your partner know that you love and care for them and their needs.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, to save a failing relationship, going for couple therapy could do wonders. An expert can help you identify, recognize, and evaluate certain patterns that need to break or change. They can assist you in working on yourself and guide you through the process of healing of trauma inside you.
Some people try to help their partner through their trauma which might be affecting their life choices, but in some situations only an expert can intervene the right way. You can support your partner through therapy but you cannot take away their pain. They might need professional guidance for that.
What To Do When Trust Is Broken?
A relationship is built on trust. If that is broken, it takes a lot of time and effort to mend. In the situation where the trust is broken, you can try the following:
If you are at fault,
- Accept that you hurt your partner.
Accepting and acknowledging the feelings of your partner is one of the first steps to save a failing relationship. If a person (your partner in this case) tells you about how they felt when you did something or said certain words, you have to understand where they are coming from. You have to understand the pain you have caused your partner. You do not have the right to tell him/her that you haven’t hurt them.
Yes, it might not have been your intention. But you did cause the pain and you cannot take away their right to feel it. Their feelings do matter. After all, intention does not erase the impact. You have already caused the pain regardless of where your intention stands.
- Take full responsibility.
Acknowledge your actions or words that caused the pain and accept the pain you have caused. This is often disregarded, which makes it more important. Instead of becoming defensive and justifying your actions, take full responsibility for what happened. Own your mistake in such a way that creates a space for understanding their feelings and to rebuild their trust as well.
- Apologize for the mistake
Apologizing is fundamental to save a failing relationship. Since when did apologizing take a backseat? No one apologizes for their mistakes anymore. If you hurt someone, you should apologize. It is as simple as that. Keep your ego, pride, anger, or anything that is keeping you from apologizing in the closet, and do not let it destroy your relationship.
Let them know that you regret your action or words and how much you wish to take it back. If they are not ready to forgive just yet, understand that and give them more time.
- Try not to repeat the mistake again
We are all humans and we make mistakes. We may make the same mistake again. But when either of you keeps repeating the same mistake, it is no longer a mistake. It has become a choice and you have to be careful with it. So, try not to repeat the mistake.
If your partner is at fault,
- Give your partner a chance to explain
When you are angry or hurt, it is quite natural to be closed off. You do not want to talk or even look at your partner. It is normal and yes, it is your right to feel angry. Especially when your emotions are all over the place. But if your partner is trying to talk to you, give them a chance to explain. Many a time we forget to about this even though we might be trying to save a failing relationship.
Or let them know that you need some time to think, sit with your emotions and thoughts, and cool off. You can talk to them when you are ready. But it is important to let your partner know your decision instead of giving a “silent treatment”.
- Understand your partner’s reasoning
Again, we are all humans and we all make mistakes. So can your partner. Once you are ready to talk to your partner, let him/her explain their reasoning behind the action or words.
Why and what made them say or do it. Try to understand their situation and let that sink in. Even if you do not understand, let them know. Ask them to make you understand. Remember that patience is always the key.
- Talk to your partner about your feelings
You should talk to your partner and have a meaningful conversation. Your partner should know about your feelings and how you felt. You deserve to tell them how painful the situation was and why is it hard for you to understand, and what they can do to improve the situation.
- Forgive if your partner regrets the mistake
If you have any intention to save a failing relationship, then forgiveness is the first thing you need to learn and practice. If you don’t make room for forgiveness, you won’t be able to move on. Sit with the negative emotions, anger, and bitterness, holding you back from forgiving and ask yourself why is it that you cannot forgive. What happened has happened. If your partner regrets the mistake and vows to never repeat it, there is no reason for you to not forgive or to drag it into the future. However, forgiving does not always come easy to everyone alike.
In that case, you need to tell them why it is hard for you to forgive and maybe they can help you. Or you might need more time and help from others. When you finally forgive your partner, it means you have put the mistake in the past. So, there is no reason for you to keep bringing it up in the present or the future. Moving on does not mean you throw the mistake at your partner whenever you get mad at them.
Regardless of the disagreements, differences, mistakes, and wrong decisions, you can save a failing relationship. Your partner is always going to test your patience and tolerance and your capacity for compromise and sacrifice. So, find common ground and negotiate your differences while honoring your partner’s uniqueness. This could truly become the strength of your relationship. But the important factor of willingness and effort from both individuals will remain intact.
Toxic Relationships Do Not Need Saving
It is not always necessary that you try and save a failing relationship. A toxic relationship(1) does not need saving and it most definitely is not worth saving. Recognizing the signs of toxicity does not come easily to everyone and most of us are not completely aware of the signs.
How to identify a toxic relationship?
- Physically or verbally abuses and threatens (or both)
- Passive aggressiveness
- Suffocating possessiveness
- Shows disrespect to you
- Does not support you
- Toxic communication
- Dishonesty, jealousy, and resentment
- Neglects your needs
- Tries to control your life
- Nothing gets resolved
- Violates your privacy
It takes time to identify signs and patterns of toxicity in you or your partner. If you think you yourself have any of the toxic behaviors, you need to work on yourself. If your partner has it, have a gentle but deep conversation with your partner and make them understand where you are coming from. Shift the focus from blaming to understanding and maybe you can help your partner through therapy. If they refuse your help, the relationship may not need saving.
If you keep ignoring these red flags, you are putting yourself in a deeper hole and won’t be able to climb out of it later. And, you don’t necessarily have to identify these signs to know that you are in a toxic relationship. If you feel bad all the time like you are walking on eggshells, trust your gut feeling, and know that it is toxic.
Your partner being toxic does not have anything to do with you, it has everything to do with them alone. It is extremely important to know that it is not your fault and you are allowed to leave from uncomfortable situations. They might try to keep you in the relationship and won’t let go of you claiming that they love you. But that love is toxic as well. You are allowed to leave. Because sometimes, love is not always enough. You need to know not just how, but when to save a failing relationship and when to let go of a relationship, as hard as that might be.