How to save a relationship in conflict?
Problems in a relationship are not solved spontaneously. Depending on the severity of these, and how long problems have been allowed to manifest over and over again, it will require more effort from both sides.
However, this does not mean that it is impossible. Communication, empathy, respect and humility are essential pillars if you want to connect again with your partner, recognize your mistakes and accept those of the other person.
1. Determine the main problem
Not all rabbits we hear apply to our relationship because each relationship is unique and, therefore, requires specific solutions for it. However, you need to recognize that it’s not working in your relationship.
First, take the time to identify the problem, give a specific shape and name to the things you don’t like about your relationship. It is also important that this is a collaborative process.
That is, listening to the other person’s perspective. For example, a woman might say “my husband doesn’t pay enough attention to me,” while on the other hand, the husband might say “his wife doesn’t give him enough space.”
In addition, it is important to determine what are the patterns of behavior that further fuel the problems. Know how much of the problem is fueled by your partner’s actions and your own actions.
Finally, we recommend being more aware of the environment and how your relationship develops. Recognizing the factors present in your relationship when both parties are not in dispute will allow you to discern their absence during discussions.
2. Vent your feelings and emotions
Unfortunately, certain people do not share their feelings, desires, and ambitions with the other person. Therefore, the other person acts without knowing that he could be hurting his partner’s emotions.
At the other extreme, there are those who do not listen to their partner when they share their emotions. They are too absorbed in their routine or do not pay attention. The other person feels that her emotions are being belittled.
This, in the long run, leads to both parties feeling emotionally distant from the other, driving both parties further and further apart. Couples therapy encourages communication and the honest expression of your feelings.
3. Maintain assertive communication
Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitborneexplains that every relationship requires intimacy and, to achieve it, the “three C’s” must be met. These are: closeness, commitment and communication.
Empathic and intimate communication requires opening up honestly with the other person. Express your desires and feelings, as well as being able to listen to the other person when she is doing it.
In true communication, ridicule or destructive criticism of the person should be avoided. Also, instead of avoiding conflict and/or problems, they should approach it, but not in a malicious way.
Determine each other’s role during past discussions, express what you don’t like, and listen to what the other person doesn’t like. In this way, you can establish a clearer vision about what affects your relationship.
4. Accept failure
Each person is an amalgamation of ideals, perspectives, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, ambitions, and dreams. We are naturally contradictory and irrational under certain circumstances.
Therefore, you and your partner are excessively complex beings. We are naturally attracted to those who share certain of your interests or ideals, but it is impossible to agree on every aspect.
Acknowledging each person’s limitations is an important step in healing a relationship. The way your partner acted on a comment could have been very impulsive, but for this reason, communication is important: you must let them know.
By having effective communication, a couple is able to identify the faults of the other and of the person themselves, building practical and healthy solutions to prevent these mistakes from destroying the relationship.
5. Avoid impulsive and violent reactions
Having a bad day at work, university or school is inevitable. We have our good and bad days. In the latter, emotions of frustration and anger tend to accumulate, especially if we don’t know how to control the former.
However, it is essential to learn to keep our emotions online. One person responding impatiently to another under stress is understandable. But it is not justifiable.
Before healing and improving a relationship, improve your behavior. Emotional intelligence is an important tool for recognizing that our emotions are part of us and shape our actions, but they can be controlled.
6. Forgive sincerely
Erik Erikson , a psychologist who developed the theory of psychosocial development , described a series of stages that the individual must go through throughout his life. At each stage, there are conflicts that generate positive or negative changes in the person.
One of the first stages is trust vs mistrust. The individual learns to trust, or not, others. Years later, the individual seeks intimacy. The desire to deepen emotional relationships with another person, in an honest and open way.
However, if a person has gone through a moment of betrayal, they may lose the ability to feel trust in the other person. It can occur after disappointment, arguments, deceit or even from childhood.
A person who feels a general distrust will not be able to open up to the other (generating other kinds of conflicts in relationships), nor will they be able to forgive the other person.
Sincerely forgiving those who have wronged you, whether in the past or in the present, will generate a more positive self -concept and give you a sense of autonomy over your own life, generating more confidence in yourself and your decisions.
7. Respect each other’s personal space
Some people like to be close to their partner all day, every hour, while others want their own personal space. Whether it’s to reflect, pursue their individual hobbies or just because they want to.
This dilemma is, in some relationships, among the main reasons that generate crises, if it is not resolved. Schedules must be established for each person, time to be together, time for each one to do, individually, what they want.
8. Determine what you want back in the relationship
Relationships, particularly long-term ones, are not static. These change over time, for better or for worse. This can lead to a loss of communication, trust, or time together.
These changes can be passive at first, with no one realizing it until the problem has reached larger magnitudes. On the other hand, it may be that the other person does not have enough confidence to speak it.
In either case, the narrative of the relationship must be changed. When establishing honest communication, it’s important to bring back those positive factors that gave life and vigor to the relationship, determine what caused your loss, and seek to fix it.
9. Take as much time as necessary
Personal or interpersonal conflicts cannot be resolved in short periods of time, especially if the root of the problem has taken deep root. They require perseverance, patience and time.
Taking someone else’s time doesn’t mean you’re done. It means that both parties have chosen that the best thing, for the moment, would be to physically distance themselves from the other.
This can help both partners in the relationship to recognize the importance of the other and what they used to bring to their daily routine, now that they are not together. It is also a period of exploration, where the person can reflect on what they want, both in life and in the relationship.
10. Avoid creating unattainable expectations
Relationships are not perfect. Pretending or wanting your relationship to be will inevitably fail. This only puts pressure on the other person, who may not feel good enough about failing to meet those expectations.
Returning to previous points, it is important to recognize and work on your own faults and that of the other person, but in a healthy and realistic way. You cannot expect your partner to change spontaneously, it takes time and commitment.
11. Do not neglect your physical and mental health
Significant relationships have been established between health habits and moodin people. Inadequate diets, nutrient deficient, chronic substance use (tobacco, alcoholism, etc.), lack of exercise and much more.
All of the above contributes to an inadequate body condition, the consequences of which reverberate in every aspect of our lives. Among these are interpersonal relationships.
Eating healthy, exercising more frequently, abandoning harmful habits, undertaking cognitive therapies such as meditation and yoga, are some examples of changes that you can implement in your life.
12. Keep the focus on the positive in each other
Certain couples, when trying to solve their internal conflicts, tend to focus excessively on the “bad” in the relationship. While it’s important not to lose focus on why you need these issues, it’s not all negativity.
It is important that couples, their counselors as well, create positive narratives. Where the couple is reminded of the positive factors that brought them together in the first place, the qualities and virtues that made the relationship a happy bond between both people.
13. Get out of the monotony
When starting a relationship, new emotions overwhelm us and we want to know every corner of the other person’s body and mind. Over time, however, these novelties become commonplace.
Thanks to this, people tend to take their relationship for granted, they lose that desire to get to know the other person more and more, which leads to emotional distancing. To avoid this, the couple must maintain an active interest in the relationship.
Schedule trips, outings, excursions, a romantic dinner or any event that the couple can share, that is capable of breaking the icy monotony that harms many relationships.
14. Value the good times shared
A relationship is made up of happy moments and bitter moments. Clinging to the latter generates resentment, dissatisfaction and even frustration towards the other person and the relationship.
Learning to forgive these incidents, acknowledging your own mistakes, learning to look not only at the negative, but also at the positive that has happened and what is happening in your relationship will foster a happier outlook on it.
15. Maintain physical contact
Physical contact is essential for a relationship. For some, the main problem may stem from a lack of intimacy in a relationship. Intimacy does not necessarily mean having sex.
Intimacy means closeness and honesty. When we come into contact with someone who makes us happy, our body releases serotonin, activates the endocannabinoid system, and generally lifts our mood.
We recommend that, at bedtime, you leave the television off or turn off any distraction: phones, tablets, television, and even books. The focus of attention should be your partner.
In this way, we learn to value and remember the importance of having a healthy physical closeness with your partner. Dissatisfaction in the physical and/or sexual sphere can culminate, for some, in infidelity.
16. Go to therapy if necessary
A couple must recognize that not all conflict can be resolved at home. Psychological disorders, problems that have been going on for a long time and emotional traumas are some examples of these.
The psychologist, marriage or couple counselor, are professionals who study a relationship, from the therapeutic, emotional and social point of view. They observe the points of view of each other and take into account the influence of the environment that surrounds them.
Based on the formulated diagnosis, they establish emotional therapies that promote the healthy expression of emotions, create happy narratives for the relationship, modify dysfunctional behavior, and reduce emotional distancing.