You can find your way back to happiness.
Relationships are hard. The darkest moment in a relationship is when communication weakens and two people stop listening to each other. I found myself in one of those unhappy places and I knew I needed to get serious to find out what went wrong and how to fix it.
In relationships, when two people somehow become estranged, and they stop speaking the same language. This happens because partners stop working on their relationship and each other, and they fall into everyday monotony filled with everyday situations, which makes them drift apart.
It’s rather simple, really – if you stop caring for a plant, you can be sure it will wither and it’s the same with a relationship. I sincerely believe that practically any damage can be fixed if both sides are ready to make an effort to re-establish communication and rebuild those bonds.
Here is what I discovered.
1.- Recognize a problem when it appears
My experience showed that the biggest mistake two people in a relationship can make is ignoring a problem, even if it’s a minor argument. Every frown and every remark are bits of negativity that don’t go away – they simply build up until one of you snaps.
My partner adopted a habit of not continuing a negative conversation because it might lead to a more serious argument or a fight, and neither of us had enough energy to deal with that after a long and exhausting day. Even if I tried to find out the root of a problem, he often refused to talk further and I eventually stopped bothering.
Obviously, our priorities were misplaced. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells while you’re in each other’s presence, but if one of you has a problem that needs attention, it should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Perhaps it’s difficult to find enough positive energy in those moments, but that’s exactly when you should remind yourself of – just how much your partner means to you. Do you really want them to feel bad when you can do something about it?
2. -Don’t let anger stop you from listening
Even the smallest frustration can escalate quickly and turn into anger, especially if you’re dealing with a problem that keeps reappearing. This is nothing abnormal – when your mind constantly encounters the same problem and it can’t find an appropriate solution, it reacts negatively. A situation like this causes a line of negative feelings like helplessness, which may be the worst of all.
Understand that your partner is feeling exactly the same, and the fact that you’re both on the same page – even if it’s a negative one – should calm you down and bring you a millimeter closer to each other. My partner and I had serious issues because he was unable to control his anger, which often led to him being blinded by rage. He was unable to hear me out, and that made me even more frustrated.
If you and your partner have similar issues, it might be a good idea to look into calming, breathing exercises, and start taking breaks when your conversation stops being constructive – that worked for the two of us.
3. – Look at that problematic situation from your partner’s angle
I was unaware that my partner had issues with looking at things from another point of view – he never thought of placing himself in my shoes until I asked him to. Some people simply don’t have minds that work this way, and they are concerned with their feelings and their perception only.
A lot of our problems disappeared when we realized this. You’ll be surprised with how much you’ll learn about your partner and the cause of your problems if you genuinely try to learn how they perceive things and what their world looks like.
The majority of couples I know think they know everything about their other half, but I don’t believe this to be true – you can learn something new every day and all you need to do is ask.
4. – Show that you are willing to solve a problem
A positive attitude is half of the solution. The key is in moving your focus from feeling frustrated and angry towards being truly willing to find an appropriate answer to your situation. It’s not simple to switch our feelings around, but it gets easier in time and with practice. After all, the darkest points in our relationships are when we need to try really hard to bring out the best in ourselves.
5. – A strong relationship is built on compromises
I have a partner who is strong-willed and he gets highly frustrated when things don’t turn out exactly how he planned. Although the fact that he is so driven enables him to achieve a huge percentage of his goals, his stubbornness turned out to be more damaging than helpful when it comes to our relationship.
In order to emerge from the sea of problems that surrounded us, we both had to learn more about compromises. At one point, probably the hardest one since we’ve been together, I began to perceive his strong will as nothing more than spitefulness, which made everything harder. Fortunately, my parents and their marriage is a great example of how a strong relationship needs to be built on compromises, and they were most helpful when I turned to them for advice.
It’s necessary for every couple to find common ground, which is unbelievably hard when your communication is … let’s euphemistically say lousy … but not impossible. You just have to work on each other – both individually and as a couple – and everything will turn out just fine.
6. – Don’t go to bed angry
This is another piece of advice I got from my parents and it showed itself to be more than helpful. Being unable to solve a problem before bedtime doesn’t mean that you should both go to bed angry; giving each other the silent treatment. Face it – none of you gets any sleep in these situations and it only makes everything worse.
In times like these, you need to be able to press the pause button, give your partner a supportive hug, sleep on it, and see if the morning sheds any light on things (chances are, it will.)
I sincerely believe that these six steps will be helpful if you have similar problems with your partner – at least, they were helpful for the two of us. You mustn’t forget to continue to work on your relationship after the dark period ends, to avoid getting to the same place again. The bottom line is that you need to find a way to make your partner happy again, and happiness requires plenty of sweat and effort.
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