What you need to know:
- Before going separate ways, check whether there is enough relationship value worth salvaging.
- Mutually resolve to cut out negative external influences from your relationship.
- If you have been faced with infidelity, but still want to patch things up, there must be a genuine apologetic commitment from the wrongful partner.
Many good relationships end because partners could not to save them. Some end because a couple mistook an anthill for a mountain. If you are afraid your relationship is on the verge of breaking up even though there are no justifiable reasons, and you both still want to be together, there are some steps you can take to save the relationship.
The first step
Before going separate ways, check whether there is enough relationship value worth salvaging. Dr. Leon Seltzer, the author of Paradoxical Strategies says you must be fully aware of whether you have the capacity to look at the problem at hand from your spouse’s point of view. “You may have concluded that he has changed from the person you fell in love with but in reality, he may not be all that different from the person you saw or thought he was when you decided to commit,” he says. But if you can’t see their actions or behaviours as representing something other than unacceptable flaws, call it quits. “If you were afraid they would turn out the way they have, this might be an indication that breaking up is wise,” he says.
Why are you together?
Rekindling fond memories and reasons that brought you together in the first place is one of the best ways to save a dying relationship. “Ask yourself: What drew you to your partner? What qualities did they have that you found valuable? Do they still have them?” says Alexandra Harra, the author of Karma Queen’s Guide to Relationships. This is important in evaluating whether the attraction that swept you off your feet was a front for hidden bad traits such as narcissism or even psychopathy.
The infidelity ghost
If you have been faced with infidelity, but still want to patch things up, there must be genuine apologetic commitment from the wrongful partner. “There must be an understanding that trust has been breached and the aggrieved partner will no longer see their spouse the same way they did prior to the cheating,” says Dr. Berit Brogaard, the author of On Romantic Love. At the same time, the victim of the affair must be willing to forgive in order for the relationship to detach from its weak position. “Unforgiveness will breed unending bitterness, anger and recurrent animosity that will ruin the relationship. Lingering on past, hurtful memories and episodes only serves to perpetuate them,” says Ms. Harra. “Still, be aware that forgiveness is a two-way street, driven by small regular acts reflective of the intention to be pardoned and to pardon.”
Healthy relationships have boundaries. Failing relationships on the other hand are characterised by constant violation of boundaries. Reset boundaries in order to rebuild mutual growth, security, respect, and healthy individualism. Ryan Howes, the author of What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex says boundaries should be the line where you end and your partner begins. “This means you must ask permission out of respect, take one another’s feelings into account, show gratitude, and respect differences in opinion, perspective and feelings,” says Ryan.
Mutually resolve to cut out negative external influences from your relationship. For example, says Ms. Harra, take account of things and people who drove your relationship to where it is and cut them out. “The trick is to keep your relationship as private as possible and divulge as little details to your social circles as you can,” says Harra. “Cultivate workable communication between you and your partner in order to eliminate the need for exterior voices, most of which can be toxic.”