Advice for broken relationships
22 Ways to Save a Struggling Relationship22 Ways to Save a Struggling Relationship
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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Cindy Lamothe — Updated on September 9, 2021
You’ve heard it a million times but it bears repeating: even the strongest relationships face challenges.
Building a happy, healthy partnership takes work and may not always be easy, especially when there’s been a breach of trust. “Issues are a part of life and a part of being in a relationship,” says clinical psychologist Stone Kraushaar. “And the goal is to not fixate on the past, but work to create together in a meaningful way.”
So, you do you go about that? Here are some tips to get you started, whether you’re dealing with the fallout from a betrayal or trying to keep a long-distance relationship going.
Anytime trust is broken, there’s going to be a rift in the relationship. It might be painful to face, but leaving these issues unaddressed won’t help anyone in the long run.
1. Take full responsibility if you’re at fault
If there has been infidelity or trust has been broken, it’s important to take full responsibility for what happened and be understanding of how your behavior hurt your partner.
Avoid becoming defensive or sidestepping your mistake, but don’t fall into self-loathing either. “You should own it in a loving way that creates the space to start to rebuild trust,” says Kraushaar.
In a nutshell: Take responsibility, but don’t attempt to justify your actions or blame them on someone or something else.
2. Give your partner the opportunity to win your trust back
While you have every right to feel hurt and angry, there should be a desire to work on the relationship.
“Trust can never be restored until the person whose trust was broken allows their partner a chance to earn it back,” Kraushaar affirms.
Not sure where to start? Our guide to rebuilding trust can help.
3. Practice radical transparency
Instead of bottling up emotions, Kraushaar encourages couples to be “radically transparent” with each other about what has hurt them. This involves truly getting it all out there, even if you feel a bit silly or self-conscious admitting certain things.
If you’re the one who broke the trust, this also involves being radically transparent with yourself about what motivated you to do so. Was it simply a lapse in judgement? Or was it an attempt to sabotage a situation you didn’t know how to get out of?
In order to be honest with each other, you’ll have to start by being brutally honest to yourselves.
4. Seek professional help
Broken trust can take a toll on everyone in the relationship.
If there’s been a significant breach, consider working together with a qualified therapist who specializes in relationships and can provide guidance for healing.
5. Extend compassion and care to the person you hurt
If you’ve hurt your partner, it’s easy to fall into a spiral of shame and disappointment in yourself. But that’s not going to help either of you.
Rather than spend all your time beating yourself up over what you did wrong, try shifting that energy toward showing care and compassion to your partner.
Being physically apart more often than not can be rough on a relationship. Keeping the romance alive takes extra effort on everyone’s part.
6. Manage expectations
Have a discussion with your partner and set ground rules that take into account your exclusiveness and commitment to each other.
Being honest and upfront about your expectations from the beginning can prevent things from going wrong down the road.
7. Have regularly scheduled visits
“It’s so important that couples know and have scheduled visits and can look forward to those times and plan to make them special,” notes Kraushaar. In fact, research has shown that long-distance relationships where partners have a reunion planned are less stressful and more satisfying.
8. Set aside time for online dates
If you’re not able to organize scheduled time together due to significant distance or finances, Kraushaar recommends setting up regular online dates with a theme or specific focus.
Don’t just go for your usual conversation topics. Cook a meal together, watch a movie while you keep the video chat open, play a virtual game, or even read a short story aloud, taking turns.
9. Don’t let your world revolve around your partner
While it’s important to pay attention to fostering closeness in a long-distance relationship, that aspect shouldn’t consume you.
No matter how much you miss the other person, don’t forget about other important areas of your life. Keep up with your hobbies and interests — a happy and healthy relationship partly involves you being each partner being their own person.
No matter how you dice it, going through a rough patch when you live together is stressful.
10. Plan a weekly ‘couples meeting’
Kraushaar recommends setting up a specific time each week that allows you both to talk about more difficult topics, such as money, sex, and trust so that these don’t bleed over into all of your interactions.
11. Learn to compromise
All relationships require give and take. When you’re living in close quarters, being accommodating of the other person’s needs and preferences without sacrificing your own can help foster more happiness and fulfillment.
Consider working out some kind of temporary agreement that allows each of you to unwind at home alone. For example, maybe you stay a little later the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while they hang out with a friend on Mondays and Wednesdays.
12. Spend time with friends outside of your relationship
Spending time with friends can have a powerful effect on your personal mental health and can help strengthen your personal identity.
Remember, staying connected to your partner means having a life outside of your relationship.
13. Engage in affectionate physical contact
Kraushaar encourages couples to regularly hug each other in a fully present and connected way. Holding hands or hugging releases oxytocin which can reduce stress and boost your mood.
If you’re not on great terms right now, this might be easier said than done. Try starting slow — simply putting your hand on theirs can help to show that you still care.
14. Don’t be hooked on romance
Deep-level intimacy is about creating a satisfying and meaningful relationship that isn’t always based on romantic expression.
Sure, everyone wants to be swept off their feet from time to time, but it’s important to genuinely respect and enjoy your partner for who they are outside of what they can give you.
Picking up the pieces after a big fight can feel like an impossible task. Try these techniques to help you both move forward.
15. Use skilled communication
Once tempers have calmed down, it’s important to make sure you both have a chance to get your points across. Try to give each person space to communicate their point of view.
“Being open and honest about one’s thoughts and intentions about the relationship itself and the future can restore — or newly create — a sense of safety” in the relationship, says Montreal psychologist and relationship specialist Zofia Czajkowska, PhD.
16. Speak from your heart
In order for you partner to truly hear you, it’s important to communicate what you’re really feeling below all the tension.
For example, avoid accusatory phrases, such as, “You did this to me!” Instead, aim for something along the lines of, “When X happens I feel Y and I think it would be helpful if you could do Z to reassure me or prevent that from happening in the future.”
17. Actively listen
If you catch yourself forming a rebuttal in your head as your significant other is talking, you’re not really listening. “You’re getting ready to defend yourself or go to battle,” says Czajkowska.
“Winning” an argument is never truly winning, she adds. “If your partner feels that they lost, it will likely contribute to more distance, tension, and resentment, so in the long run, you lose too.”
18. Break the pattern
When rebuilding the relationship, Czajkowska advises to consider it a new one, rather than saving an old one.
“Seeing it this way creates an opportunity for defining rules and boundaries from the beginning.” This means striving to understand and work through underlying issues as well as letting go of past resentments you’ve been holding onto.
A lack of passion or case of the “mehs” doesn’t automatically mean your relationship is beyond repair.
19. Look at the upside of your relationship
Spend a week noticing or writing down all the things your partner does “right.”
Researchers have found that we tend to see what we are looking for. If you’re looking for reasons to be mad or upset with your partner, you’ll probably find them. But this works in reverse, too. Keep your eyes peeled for the good things.”
20. Say ‘thank you’ for the small things
Similarly, don’t just silently observe your partner’s right-doings. When they do something that’s kind of helpful, even if it’s just tidying up the kitchen after a meal, verbally thank them.
21. Have fun together
Sometimes, you just fall into a rut. It might sound cliche, but setting aside some time, even just a few hours, to go do something out of the ordinary can make a big difference.
Psychological research shows that partners who play together experience more positive emotions and report greater happiness.
Try taking a break from the same old routine and spend time participating in novel, uplifting experiences.
keep the spark
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take a one-time class together.
- Grab a deck of cards or a board game you both used to love and head to the park.
- Scan your local weekly paper for unusual events. Even if you’re not totally sure what the event entails, make a plant to go check it out together, whether it’s a craft fair or a car show.
22. Maintain intimacy and communication
Establish how to take care of each other emotionally, advises Czajkowska.
What does this actually mean? For starters, commit to giving each other a heads up when it feels like you’re drifting apart. Sit down together and look at what might be causing that. Have you both been wrapped up in work? Has it been too long since you spent the day just enjoying each other’s company?
“Commitment to working on the relationship is just as important as commitment to the partner,” she emphasizes.
There’s no easy answer here. Ultimately, you’ll need to evaluate whether the relationship is worth the work that’s required to save it from a low point.
It’s also wise to make sure everyone involved is committed to saving the relationship. If you’re the only one willing to put in the work, reconciliation probably isn’t likely.
That said, abuse of any kind, whether it’s physical, verbal, or emotional, is a red flag. Keep in mind that signs of toxicity can be quite subtle. Are you walking on eggshells around your partner? Have you lost your confidence or sense of self?
If you have any inkling that you might be experiencing abuse of any kind, considering reaching out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by sending a text message to:
- 741741 in the United States
- 686868 in Canada
- 85258 in the United Kingdom
Last medically reviewed on August 27, 2019
How we reviewed this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
- 5 tips for healthy, loving relationships. (n.d.).
- Aron A, et al. (2000). Couples' shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality.
- Breines J. (2014). Forgive yourself, save your relationship.
- Czajkowska Z. (2019). Personal interview.
- Kraushaar S. (2019). Personal interview.
- Maguire KC (2007). “Will It Ever End?”: A (re)examination of uncertainty in college student long-distance relationships. DOI:
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Sep 9, 2021
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Aug 27, 2019
Medically Reviewed By
Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD
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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Cindy Lamothe — Updated on September 9, 2021
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How to Fix a Broken Relationship: Expert Tips
Before you try to fix a broken relationship, you must first know what's going wrong as a couple. Here's where you should start, according to relationship experts.
What is a broken relationship?
You might think a broken relationship is what happens when one partner cheats, is a serial spendthrift, or has a serious drug problem. But you’d be wrong, say experts. Those issues tend to be symptoms. (Here’s the difference between healthy vs. unhealthy relationships.)
In a broken relationship, “you don’t get along more than you do get along, and your overall satisfaction with the relationship is mostly low, below 50 percent,” says Rachel Sussman, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, relationship expert, and the author of The Breakup Bible: The Women’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce. “That goes on and on for a long time.”
It can also be different for everyone. Sussman says she’s seen couples bounce back from infidelity with a stronger bond. The same is true for someone with a drug or alcohol problem (though that can be trickier).
But for the most part, it’s rarely one thing that torpedoes a relationship. “It’s usually a variety of issues that go on for a long time, where you lose hope,” she says. (If you’ve lost yours, read these therapist tips on finding hope.)
That said, relationships on the verge of collapse usually have some telltale signs. And while many relationships are salvageable, some aren’t—and yes, therapists can pretty much tell both things from the get-go.
Here is everything you need to know about a relationship that needs repair, including how to go about it.
Signs of a broken relationship
Therapists don’t always use the term “broken” to describe a relationship in need of repair. Instead, they use “dysfunctional relationship dynamics,” says Amy McManus, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles.
“A dysfunctional relationship dynamic is a way that a couple has of communicating and relating that isn’t working to create an emotionally safe and supportive connection,” she says. “It’s often easy to see. One or both partners is unhappy, angry, and frustrated. Usually, both partners feel like the other one doesn’t hear or understand them.”
(Learn more about whether you’re in an unhealthy relationship.)
So what clues a couples’ counselor into the fact that your dynamic no longer seems to be working?
You’re not talking to one another
“Communication is the number one issue,” says Laura Louis, a psychologist and founder of Atlanta Couple Therapy in Atlanta. “Sometimes it’s a feeling of, ‘Did you hear what I said? Or does what I say even matter? Or do I matter?’ ” When it gets to the point where you’re not feeling heard, understood, or validated, disconnection can take place, says Louis.
You’re disconnected from each other
This can take several different forms. Take, for instance, couples with children. If your kids are the center of your marriage, your conversation may revolve around all the chores that come with raising kids, says Louis. “Things like, ‘Okay, would you pick up Billy? Or when are we taking Ashley to ballet practice?’ And that furthers the disconnection.”
Other worrying symptoms or examples of disconnection may include when a couple stops having sex (see these ways to overcome the obstacles to a healthy sex life) or when they don’t want to spend time together, adds Louis.
One of you has shut down
This is what Louis calls stonewalling, and it can happen when one partner gets overwhelmed by emotions or doesn’t think the other person cares enough to listen. “Someone can shut down emotionally and still come home every night. But when you ask how they’re doing, you get one-word answers,” she explains. “But sometimes I see an actual physical withdrawal where one person literally just walks away, walks out of the room, or leaves the house when their partner wants to talk about something.”
(These are the characteristics of a healthy relationship.)
Is your relationship worth saving?
Therapists will never tell you whether you should ditch your partner or stick it out. That’s up to you to decide. But they can tell pretty quickly if there are obstacles to getting your relationship back on track.
The opposite is true, as well. Experts can suss out if you’ll be able to re-establish your bond.
“A therapist will help you assess how bad the damage is,” says Sussman. “Some couples feel like the sky is falling, and then they come back the following week and tell me they had a really good weekend. And when one partner describes their weekend and I see the other person smile, that tells me there’s glue and the couple has something,” she adds.
You likely won’t make it if…
Your partner is physically abusive
Being afraid of your partner is a sign of a damaged relationship, says Sussman. And all three experts agree that physical or emotional abuse are deal-breakers. “We can’t do couples therapy in cases like this, so I really focus on making sure that the person is safe,” says Louis.
And while McManus has seen some relationships recover from domestic violence, “first the couple will need to be separated so that each person can safely do their own individual work,” she says. Not sure if your relationship fits this bill? Here are the signs of abusive relationships.
There’s no respect
“It’s difficult to save a relationship is if one partner has completely lost respect or feels contempt for the other,” says McManus. “I rarely see this in couples therapy. Couples I see are usually frustrated and angry. But I suspect that the ones who have genuine contempt for one another mostly don’t make it as far as the therapist’s office. ”
Trust is another issue—if partners can’t depend on each other, they’re more likely to break up, says Sussman.
You play the blame game
“If a couple comes to me and they are 100 percent blaming the problems on the other person and they refuse to take any responsibility, I tend to think that relationship can’t be fixed,” says Sussman.
McManus agrees. “Some people just aren’t ready to look at the wounds that have led them to respond to challenges the way they do,” she says. “So then it’s much less likely they will be able to learn to communicate in a healthy way.”
But you have a good chance if…
You fight a lot
You’d think that couples who bicker constantly are doomed. Not so. In fact, it could be an indication that you’re at least making the effort to communicate with each other, says Louis.
Plus, all that fighting may motivate you to change the dynamic precisely because it’s so distressing, says McManus. (Read up on the types of arguments that end relationships. )
One of you holds out hope
Why is this a good sign for therapists? Because it means at least one half of the couple will work really hard, says Sussman. “I use the metaphor of a couple dancing on the dance floor and then one person walks away in the middle of the song. That other person has to change, too. They’re not going to just keep dancing by themselves,” she says. “So if one person’s changing, there’s hope that the other person can change, too.”
In fact, even seeing a therapist on your own will be good for the two of you. When your partner sees how much you’re getting out of it, they might decide to go on their own, says McManus. “Sometimes this is all that needs to happen—no actual couple’s therapy is necessary.”
You refrain from name-calling
This is the flip side of the couple who has no respect for each other. If you aren’t constantly criticizing your partner or saying really hurtful things on purpose, you probably are going to be more inclined to share your vulnerabilities with each other, says Louis. And doing that can bring you closer.
You have kids
Couples tend to be more invested in fixing their relationship if there are children in the picture. This isn’t always true. But Sussman has known partners who leave a relationship thinking the kids are going to be OK—and then they’re not. Or they find that they miss their children too much. “Then they come back,” she says. “And when they do, sometimes they’re more motivated to do the work.”
Others, however, think through how their lives will be when they can’t see their kids every day, notes Sussman.
You’re willing to work hard
That’s the bottom line: if both of you are willing to put in the work you can save the relationship. But you have to keep an open mind and own your piece in it, says Sussman. “When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, that’s how you really create intimacy in your relationship. And at least your partner understands why you’re doing what you’re doing and then has empathy for you,” she says.
(Here’s the quick habit to improve your relationship.)
Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images
How to fix your relationship
Go to a therapist
Well, of course, the pros would say that. But hear out their reasons: “First of all, we are trained in working with couples, watching their dynamic, being able to figure out their unique dance, and mirror it back to them in a way that they might not be able to do themselves,” Sussman says.
Therapists are also objective, in a way that family members or friends aren’t, says Louis. “Sometimes we don’t even know that we’re communicating in an ineffective way. And so that’s why it’s important to have an objective third party to really walk you through some of the patterns that you might be stuck in,” she says.
Plus, they can use science-backed data and evidence to convince you why what you’re doing (like nagging) isn’t effective, Sussman notes. To find a therapist, see what other therapists recommend you do.
Or try DIY therapy
Yes, changing the way you interact with your partner can be tough to do on your own, but it’s not impossible, says McManus. And plenty of well-known couples therapists have resources to help guide you, including websites, books, podcasts, Ted Talks, and YouTube channels. Among the therapists McManus suggests checking out: John and Julie Gottman, Esther Perel, and Ellyn Bader and Pete Pearson at The Couples Institute. “They are all fantastic resources for anyone interested in learning how to improve their relationship,” she says.
Learn how to ask for things
Instead of attacking your partner for never washing the dishes, take a different approach. “I give this example to my couples—when X happens, I feel Y. I would like Z,” says Louis. So, for example, you’d say, “When I come into the house and the dishes are everywhere I start to feel overwhelmed. So maybe we can take turns: I wash the dishes one day, you wash the dishes another day. That will make me feel really supported. ”
It works because your partner feels less defensive if you avoid using words like “always” and “never” and “you” statements. Instead, focus on your emotions, as well as what Louis calls a “recipe for success.” “So instead of just leaving it with a criticism, sharing what can their partner do for things to start to feel more balanced,” she explains.
Know how to fight fairly
Does this sound familiar? In the heat of the moment, you want to talk the issue out until it’s resolved but your partner can’t deal and withdraws. That’s pretty common actually, says Louis. It could be that your partner’s emotions are running too high to deal with right now.
A better strategy, says Louis:
Find some self-soothing coping strategies
A self-soothing coping strategy to fall back on can be beneficial when you get overwhelmed. “It could include meditation, going for a walk, or taking a hot bath, but it’s really important that couples have their own strategies on what they do to make themselves feel better, especially when a conflict arises,” Louis explains.
Don’t beat a hasty retreat
Instead say, “Let’s take a break and then in 20 minutes, we can come back and talk this through when I’m feeling calm again. Because right now, I’m struggling with staying emotionally present.” It’s crucial that you set a time when you’ll be back to resolve the conflict, says Louis. If one “person just walks away, then the other person is going to feel abandoned.”
Set a reasonable time-out
If you can’t calm down in 20 minutes, then you can extend it for up to two hours, advises Louis. But don’t let that break stretch out an entire day, she says. “At that point, resentment and bitterness can start to come in where they’ve made up an entire story from their own perspective and not really got a chance to hear things from their partner’s perspective.”
Here’s another important point, says Louis: If you initiated the break, you set the tie to reconvene. That way, your better half won’t follow you around the house asking you when it’s time to talk. Now that you’ve got these steps down, here are other ways to have more productive arguments.
Start dating again
Louis recommends you spend quality one-on-one time at least once a week, preferably for two hours. No, you don’t have to go out to dinner or do anything fancy. Light candles and put on some tunes, play checkers or cards, or give each other a massage.
The key: Spend a couple of hours of uninterrupted time, she says. “Nobody’s on their phone, nobody’s on their computer, but you’re just knee to knee, eye to eye, really engaging each other.”
It’s a good way to avoid monotony—spending evenings in front of the TV, tending to the kids, or doing chores. “Especially couples who’ve been together for a while—they can get stuck into a routine,” says Louis. So Louis teaches them how to be intentional about bringing creativity into their relationship.
Next, here’s successful relationship advice to make it last.
How to survive a breakup - advice from a psychologist
- Two types of relationships
- Causes of neurotic love
- Five consequences of parting
- How to help yourself
- How to survive a breakup
- Psychologist's advice
Healthy and neurotic relationships
Breaking up a relationship is always stressful and difficult to deal with. Moreover, a gap can occur both in healthy relationships and in neurotic ones. Breaking up a healthy relationship is easier. In such cases, the couple is usually in dialogue, this decision does not become a bolt from the blue. Most often, the decision to leave is made together, the partners are prepared for changes in life, everyone is confident in their abilities, expects the best from the future and is adapted to a new life. Of course, even if the decision was balanced, it takes time to emotionally, physically and from the everyday point of view to separate from the partner, to adjust to a new rhythm. And yet, in this case, all this is experienced as something that can be overcome and lived on. nine0019
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The rupture of neurotic relationships is more difficult. In this case, within the union there was no practice of confidential communication, an open dialogue, where partners frankly express their will and desires. Often partners do not even really know each other, do not seek to understand the motives and feelings of a partner. If the breakup and separation come as a surprise, it is highly likely that it was a neurotic relationship.
In this situation, the one who did not decide to leave is going through a difficult and traumatic experience. This can exacerbate chronic psychological trauma, which will “finish off” a person already exhausted by a break. Fortunately, this experience can become a turning point in understanding yourself and your needs, pathological attitudes and broken schemes in the field of love (and not only) relationships.
Causes of neurotic relationships
Neurotic love, like toxic relationships, originates in childhood and reflects relationships with parents. For example, if a child suffered from the coldness of his parents, it is likely that in adulthood he will look for the same partner. His ideas about love and relationships are associated with detachment, so the colder the better. nine0019
Another example: it is not uncommon for depressed parents (or one of them) to instill guilt in the child. This happens automatically and sometimes without the parents realizing that the child is constantly suffering from the fact that he cannot make mom or dad happy. Such a child will look for a partner who is difficult to please.
Neurotic relationships differ from healthy ones in that, firstly, the partner “loves” through suffering, because, unfortunately, he has no experience of relationships in which everyone is satisfied and happy. He loves those who do not value him, repels and brings pain. Such relationships are based on the fact that a person revisits the cinema of the past over and over again: despite the fact that his partner is cold, nevertheless they are together, which means that it is similar to what happened to him in childhood - in his understanding, this and there is love that he associates with any kind of suffering, just not to be abandoned. nine0019
Therefore, when such a person is abandoned by a partner in adult life, the picture of his childhood, in which he was not noticed, did not share warmth with him and did not pay due attention, comes to life. The biggest fear of his childhood came true - he was abandoned after all. The suffering that arises in response is chronic trauma. They are so painful that they do not allow you to look at this situation differently and benefit from it, for example, recognize the previous relationship as destructive, draw conclusions and still find that person who will honestly love in return. nine0019
Defense reactions of the psyche
If the separation caused the revival of old sores, the psychological defense mechanisms will be the first thing to stabilize the mental state.
“No, this will pass and we will be together again!” A person who uses denial will selflessly look for signs that he is right. For example, a woman can persuade herself that even though her partner left her, he did not leave for another, which means that he does not love anyone and will soon return back. nine0004
An abandoned partner can tell himself: “Nothing terrible happened, it will hurt and be forgotten. ” However, this pain can drag on for several years and become chronic. Those who manage to repress unpleasant experiences may not pay attention to internal discomfort and unhappiness, as they have become accustomed to this as their usual state.
This psychological defense mechanism can induce a person to tantrums - a primitive form of removing responsibility for what is happening. Or, on the contrary, regressing, a person can literally freeze: emotions, as well as will, appetite, desire to live, disappear. A depressive period may begin. nine0004
Well known to those who tend to overlook unpleasant experiences. By sublimating, a person can completely go into work or any other activity that helps to forget and not think about the traumatic event.
- Acute reactions, aggression towards others and self-aggression
If the tension in the psyche is great, it will look for a way out, for example, in the form of sharp reactions: aggressive attacks, a tough style of communication (for example, at work or driving), angry posts on social networks, frequent sexual contacts that carry a feeling of disappointment, leaving in alcohol and drugs. nine0004
All these mechanisms work unconsciously, that is, they manifest themselves not by the will and desire of a person, but automatically. The mind may say that drinking is bad, but the suffering can be so unbearable that any method that allows you to slightly raise the pain threshold becomes suitable.
There is another defense that is at the level of consciousness, which can be controlled and used at the right time. This is the so-called psychological compensation , which is expressed in adaptive behavior. For example, in order not to meet with the former, they block him in the phone book, social networks, and avoid meeting. There is also a reverse situation: in order to better navigate what is happening and get the most complete picture, a recent partner is placed in the field of view. Behind this, there may be a desire to clarify everything to the smallest detail and once again make sure that "this is actually happening."
Whatever type of protection works, you need to remember that this is a natural reaction to severe stress and any psychological protection performs an important function - to protect the psyche from destruction. It is important that after the defense stage, the mourning phase begins, when the fact that everything is over and you can mourn your pain is recognized - this is a natural process when working through the loss of a relationship with a loved one. nine0019
© Ben Blennerhassett/Unsplash
How to help yourself
Breaking up a relationship is a big mental burden. We don’t just say “heart breaks” or “soul hurts” - the body is actually going through a serious psycho-physiological stress. The cardiovascular system, digestion, hormones, sleep and ability to rest, the natural rhythm of day and night, all come under attack.
During difficult changes in life, it is very important to remember that you are in an unusual state for yourself, and, if possible, help yourself: eat fully, get enough sleep, do exercises to relieve stress, eat those foods that give strength and do not burden the body . nine0019
How to tell a healthy relationship from a toxic one: 5 red flags
It's fair to say that not all stages of stress can be done at all. Sometimes lying flat and staring at the wall is the best thing you can do to help yourself. Take care of yourself whenever possible - take time off from work and order take-out instead of cooking. Try to prepare for yourself the space and time where you can fully surrender to your experiences.
In order for the process of loss to proceed smoothly and end, it is very important to honestly go through all its stages. After the first wave of shock subsides, the stage of aggression begins, interspersed with rationalization - the desire to talk to the partner again and again and thus improve the state of affairs (the so-called bargaining stage). These steps can take varying amounts of time and, unfortunately, it is not possible to predict their duration.
One of the last stages is depression - not so acute, but a stable condition. It is easy to recognize it by a breakdown, dulled feelings and reactions, inability to enjoy, sleep and appetite disorders. Despite the difficult course, this is a very important period that prepares us for the final resolution of the situation - the stage of acceptance and the end of mourning. nine0019
Unfortunately, there are no recipes for how to shorten the most painful stage, but to ease the condition, allow yourself to do whatever you want. If you want to leave - try to do it, if you want to lock yourself in the apartment - try to take sick leave. Do not neglect the help of others, but set the limits of what is permitted: tell your family and friends how they can be useful to you and how closely you are ready to communicate now. Ask not to discuss certain topics with you, not to arrange surprises for you to “stir up” and so on. Openly tell them what you need: from domestic to emotional needs. Your sincerity will help set up communication with friends and relatives, who, unfortunately, do not always know how to behave correctly in such situations. nine0019
© Jorge Flores/Unsplash
How to survive a breakup with a loved one
Disrupted communication is one of the main reasons that partners move away from each other and cease to adequately assess the state of affairs. To prevent this, pay attention to whether there is a reticence between you and your partner, silence of any feelings or facts, or maybe someone in your couple expects his thoughts to be read, and thus avoids responsibility ? Silence, ignorance, as well as references to social standards and generalizations ("You're a man!" or "A wife should...") destroy trust and intimacy. Features of your unique relationship can be replaced by “life principles” and public opinion about how everything “should be”, which prevents you from following a special scenario that is suitable for your couple. nine0019
How and why to repair broken relationships
Proper communication depends not only on the degree of closeness and honesty to each other (and to oneself), but also the style of conflict resolution. Family therapy is based on this idea: starting it, partners learn safe ways to express their desires, suffering, fears, learn to enter into conflict and resolve it. The therapist, as a referee, observes the dialogue, leads both partners to ensure that they get the result and satisfaction from the interaction. nine0019
If you feel that you have no strength left to explain what is happening between you, take a few sessions of couples therapy . It will quickly become clear whether you need to continue working on the relationship or whether to stop it. It is important to remember that the therapist does not choose sides and will not support the game of one of the partners to the detriment of the other. The therapist acts as an interpreter between two people who, for some reason, began to speak different languages. nine0019
How to avoid a destructive scenario in the future — advice from a psychologist needed.
Neurotic or toxic relationships are different in that they are used to reduce the degree of personal neuroses and work off personal problems. If both partners coincided in neuroses, the union can be stable and strong. For example, someone for whom it is important to exercise control in relation to the closest person meets someone who gladly accepts this control due to their own childhood traumas. nine0019
Another case is when one of the partners does not need to work out the pathological scenario and still meets a less stable person and serves as a constant source of relaxation and recharging for him. Then a person who becomes a testing ground for working off a neurosis will most likely want to give up relationships that drain him.
Other roles we play in relationships can be learned from transactional analysis . The main idea of this method is that each of us in different life situations takes the position of a child, parent or adult. Knowing your patterns of behavior, you can adjust the attitudes and inadequate expectations from the relationship. This is important, since a full-fledged and multifaceted strong union is possible when two "adults" meet who know their needs, boundaries and their weaknesses. Knowing these weaknesses allows you not to provoke situations where they can manifest themselves to the detriment of the couple. nine0019
All this may seem rather complicated, but in reality, in order to have a healthy and strong relationship, it is not at all necessary to store a store of knowledge in theoretical psychology. To choose a suitable partner, it is important first of all to solve your personal problems, get to know yourself, find out your preferences, understand what attracts in people and what repels you. Mark for yourself with whom you manage to build strong contact, and who you don’t want to see even as friends. Do not forget what is valuable in a relationship, what kind of alliance you would like to build with another person and how you see your happiness in a couple. nine0019
What to do after a breakup:
• Three sessions against depression. How to train the brain to be happy and healthy.
• How to tell a healthy relationship from a toxic one: five red flags.
• How to mend relationships if they have been broken.
How to survive the breakup painlessly: TOP-5 tips
The end of a relationship is a time of melodrama, tears, irritation from couples in movies and sad love songs. Despite the experiences, this is a great opportunity for dramatic changes, important conclusions and time for yourself. We have collected the most important tips, after which you will forget about suffering.
Breakups are often accompanied by depression and fear of a new relationship. Depending on the level of emotionality, everyone experiences this process differently. Psychologists say that feelings after a breakup are no less painful than from other tragic life situations. At this time, a person experiences several stages: shock, denial, anger, insight and a moment of complete freedom. nine0019
First stage. At this stage, you will feel a sharp pain, then indifference, and the world around you will become gray and alien. This phase is the most difficult and the most tragic.
What to do?
It is important not to keep emotions inside: cry, call your friends, see a psychologist. Let yourself get hurt. Just do not go to extremes, because it can drag on and lead to depression! After some period of stress, you will feel emotional relief. This is the first step towards healing. nine0019
Photo: Elijah O'Donnell, Pexels
After you've had enough of crying, the next stage begins. The brain blocks negative emotions and experiences, so there is a denial that this is the final end. You hope for the return of your partner and forget about all the bad things that happened between you. At this moment, you can break firewood, or you can take one step closer to harmony.
What to do?
Forget about all the illusions and how good you were together. All memories and thoughts are the work of your nervous system. Ask yourself: if everything was perfect, why did we break up? Remember all the shortcomings of a partner, find the advantages of breaking up a relationship. You can write them out. It will be difficult, but necessary to take a sober look at the situation. nine0019
Photo: Trent Szmolnik, Pexels
Then comes anger. After fully realizing the end of the relationship, you will feel aggression towards the former or towards yourself, because there is only one step from love to hate. If you broke up on a good note, guilt may appear instead of anger.
What to do?
In this period, thoughts are your biggest enemy. First of all, you need to take up a new business or remember your hobby. In relationships, we often don't have enough time for ourselves and our preferences. Go dancing, go to the gym, attend a master class. Do what you have been putting off for so long, because the moment has come. nine0019
Photo: Oswaldo Ibanez, Unsplash
Your morale is finally starting to get back to normal. You notice more and more beautiful things around, and clear thoughts in your head. But from time to time, the brain will remind you of moments when everything was good in a relationship - and you will be sad.
What to do?
At this stage, it is important to put the final point. If your relationship ended unexpectedly, and you have a feeling that something was not said - be done with it. Talk to a former partner or write a letter. Share all your feelings and thoughts. Imagine it's a live conversation. On the other hand, write the answer you would like to hear. Then burn or tear the letter - you will immediately feel light. Psychologists advise to carry out such a ceremony if you need to let a person go. nine0019
Photo: Alvaro Serrano, Unsplash
The moment of complete freedom has come! The most anticipated stage in the end of a relationship. The last threads that connected you with your partner have been broken, and finally you will be able to close the door in your heart for the previous relationship. All the worst is over, you are confident and happy again.
This is the best time to draw correct conclusions.