It’s perfectly okay if your relationship has run its natural course. You aren’t serving anyone by just going through the motions to keep the relationship afloat – it’s just a waste of both of your time. However, if you want to fix your broken relationship, it’s important to ask yourself a few important questions. Do you see your partner in your future plans? Are you nostalgic for a different time, or for having someone – anyone – to give you attention? There is truly no wrong answer here, but you have to know yourself and what you want. Assuming you want to give it another go, here are some tips.
- Up your communication game. All relationships will have their ups and downs, so it’s important to be comfortable enough with your person to express your doubts. Sometimes the hard conversations are the simplest ones when you can either admit that your relationship is over or commit to fixing things. That way you can get emotions off your chest and lighten your own load. At the same time, you can encourage greater intimacy and vulnerability in your relationship. If you can’t be honest with your partner, that’s telling you something important about either not valuing the person enough or not trusting them enough.
- Be honest about your shortcomings. Sit down and think about your own faults. Are you good at expressing your emotions? Sharing anecdotes about your embarrassing mistakes when you were a teenager is one thing but being open and expressive about your mental health is so much harder. Discussing the scary things like your personal goals can really forge and strengthen your connections because it proves that you trust this person with your secret desires.
- Could you be doing more to make your partner feel loved and cared for? Do you spend too much time on your phone and not enough on date night? Your partner is likely partly at fault for the state your relationship is in. However, you have to own up to your own faults too. Don’t just sit and feel ashamed if you realize you’ve been neglecting your partner – do something about it!
- Establish your relationship as a safe space. You should be able to discuss your needs and boundaries without rushing the process or feeling like you’re going to be judged on them. We can’t expect anyone to be mind readers, but in the immortal words of Tan France from Queer Eye, we need to make an effort. Let your partner know that it’s okay to talk about tough stuff without fear of judgment. This sets a really solid precedent.
- Do something to show your partner you care. All rebuilding efforts have to start somewhere. Don’t just sit in the kitchen you always waft around in, go outside! Ask his friends what he likes. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people who are important to him and get him that jumper he’s been dreaming about.
- Make a new date night idea. Find a hiking route and have a picnic or just leave a card for them on the nightstand. These gestures don’t need to break the bank. As all romantic comedies worth their salt inform us, sometimes it just takes a quick text or bringing home a well-timed jar of peanut butter to show you care.
- Let your instincts guide you. Even if your relationship looks perfect on the outside, there are always ways we can learn and grow. Try some new things out in the bedroom or talk about moving in together. You want to be able to take risks together but also plan for a future together. Figuring out that someone doesn’t have a role in your future is a great way to realize that the relationship isn’t working.
- Don’t get stuck in your head. Relationships are hard, but they shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should always feel worth the effort if you are both invested. Think about the ways you can shake things up for your special person and don’t get hung up on the surprise factor. Also, if there are serious issues such as cheating, lying, or other toxic behaviors, figure out if those can be worked on via couples therapy or whether you’re better off walking away. You know the answer deep down.
- Talk to your friends and family. Ask for their advice and see if they have noticed anything off about your relationship. Everyone has different experiences, which is a great way of getting out of your own head and taking some space to reflect. However, take that with a grain of salt – after all, you know your relationship best. This isn’t the time to let Aunt Gwen keep you from the love of your life because she still hasn’t forgiven him for that time he wore ripped jeans in her house…