5 signs you can save an ailing relationship
All relationships go through difficulties and bad patches; it is a natural part of the development of intimacy. However, it can be hard to know when to keep going and when it would be better to call it a day and move on
Sometimes people stay together because they think they should, maybe because they have children, property or simply because they made a commitment and they wish to honour it. Relationships should be enjoyed rather than endured so it is important to feel that even if a relationship is ailing there are signs that it can improve. Here are some signs to look for which may help you believe that even if things aren’t great now they may be better in the future.
1. There is more good about the relationship than there is bad
When there are problems in a relationship it is easy to lose perspective as all the attention is on what is wrong rather than what is going right. When you look at the relationship as a whole – rather than focusing just of the present difficult situation – does the good outweigh what is bad? Take into account the time before problems arose and also areas where things are working well but which you might take for granted.
2. The problems in the relationship are caused by circumstances outside it
Often couples face life challenges that put enormous pressure on the relationship. These could be things like housing problems, money worries, family issues or job insecurity. Even though it is really difficult to cope at the time, and the pressure may make you snappy and irritable with each other, it is important to know whether it is an external issue that is the problem rather than the actual relationship. If someone could wave a magic wand and resolve the crisis i.e. give you a bigger house or make your job secure – would your relationship be ok? There are times when external circumstances are the symptoms of a relationship failing rather than the cause of it and in this case even with the use of a magic wand you would still be having problems.
3. You are both aware of the problems and are committed to work through it
Awareness of what the problem is an essential part of being able to save the relationship. You need to both agree what is causing the problem and what needs to change. Once this is established it is essential that you are both committed and willing to put in the necessary work to make that happen. The relationship cannot be saved if one of you has already given up.
4. The situation is unlikely to be permanent
There are certain types of difficulties in relationships that are unlikely to be permanent and all you need to do to save the relationship is to be patient and weather the storm. Maybe your partner is ill or grieving the loss of a loved one or there are other problems in their life that are affecting how much they can connect with you, or you with them.
It is difficult seeing someone you love in pain or dealing with difficulty especially if you feel as though they are shutting you out. Be patient and try and get your needs met outside the relationship if you can – maybe by spending more time with family or friends for a while. Make sure you ask your partner what they want from you during the difficult time and trust that this will pass.
5. You can still connect
Even in the most difficult of circumstances it is really important that you still feel you connect with each other at some point. For some couples this will be physically – they remain physically intimate despite the problems – for others it will be through their communication – they are still talking to each other or are still able to laugh and share a joke. More than anything there needs to be some point where you feel warmth and love towards your partner and believe that it is still there from them towards you
The Chinese word for crisis is made up of 2 symbols – one means danger and the other one means opportunity. A crisis in a relationship can put the relationship itself in danger but if you can find any of the vital life signs above then it may be an opportunity to go deeper into the relationship and make it even stronger.
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