How to Save a Relationship
Contributor(s): Sarah Schewitz, PsyD. Sarah Schewitz, PsyD is a clinical psychologist with over 10 years of experience, licensed by the California Board of Psychology. She received her degree in psychology from Florida Institute of Technology in 2011. She is the founder of Couples Learn, an online psychological counseling service that helps couples and individual clients improve and change their love and relationship behavior.
Number of sources used in this article: 22. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
Number of views of this article: 24 988.
If you are being pulled by the feeling that your relationship is going through a tough time, it’s time to evaluate it and try to save it. To save the relationship, you need to work with your partner to try to figure out what the root of the problem is, and think about how you can solve it. You’ll also need to work on refreshing your feelings and restoring the romance that was there in the beginning.
Pay attention to the section on “When it’s worth trying to save a relationship.” This information will help you determine if it’s worth fighting to save the relationship.
- Sometimes you can easily identify the main reason for the deterioration of the relationship: for example, you or your lover were not faithful and this changed your relationship.
- More often it happens that it is impossible to determine one single main reason, because there are a number of them. Minor factors tend to accumulate. For example, your partner spends too much time with his friends, or you never have time to talk, or you are both stressed at work.
- You may have changed in the process of living together. If you’ve been together for a long time, chances are that you’ve become different over time.
- If you don’t know where to start, take a relationship test. The test results will help you determine how strong the relationship is between you.  X Source of Information
Decide if it’s worth trying to save the relationship. Unfortunately, in some cases, maintaining a relationship is simply not possible, especially if your partner is unwilling to make the effort. If only one of you has a desire to save the relationship, then trust me, it’s a pointless attempt. Also, if your relationship is emotionally or physically abusive, there is no point in trying to save it.
Choose a good time to talk to your partner. You should not be distracted by anything during the conversation. Also, you need to talk in private, without witnesses.  X Source of information Also, try to choose a time when you both are not overwhelmed by emotion. You should discuss the problem in a calm environment, putting your emotions aside.  X Source of information
- It’s important to not only talk, but to listen to what your partner has to say about what’s going on in your relationship.  X Source of Information To show that you are listening, summarize what your partner is saying, showing that you have understood. You can also ask questions to show that you have listened carefully to what they are saying and would like to know more details.
- When discussing a problem, use self-statements. For example, instead of “it’s your fault that we’re having problems in our relationship,” it’s better to say “I’d really like to discuss what’s going on in our relationship.”
- For example, in a healthy relationship, two independent, autonomous people respect each other’s identity and boundaries. Also, each partner is interested in the life of the loved one and is a real support to him or her.  X Source of Information
- In an unhealthy relationship, on the other hand, one partner is unhappy with the other’s personality (or it’s mutual) and puts pressure to change it. Perhaps you feel that you are being controlled or manipulated, or perhaps you are the manipulator.  X Source of Information
Focus on patterns of behavior. Instead of blaming each other, think about what repetitive patterns of behavior each of you has caused problems. For example, you may have constantly forgotten to call home when you were late at work, and your partner may have been angry about it. You retaliated by wanting to teach him a lesson and not calling home again, so the circle was closed. Once you recognize the problem, focus on solving it, for example: “I’ll try to call whenever I’ll be late at work. If I suddenly forget to do it, I’ll apologize to you in advance. Or maybe you can send me a message at the end of the day so I don’t forget the time.”  X Source of Information
How to save a relationship on the verge of breaking up – psychologist tips
If you want to preserve marital happiness, and are ready to change and grow over yourself, there are 10 rules that will help the couple to abandon destructive communication, learn to hear each other, understand, thereby saving the relationship even on the verge of breakup. What is needed to do this?
Shift the focus of attention.
A person is accustomed to focusing on the bad. Most people most often recall moments when they experienced shame, defeat, separation and pain.
This is the way evolution has arranged it. To survive, the brain more easily remembers information about a real or imagined threat in order to prevent a similar situation from happening again. Therefore it is quite normal for an adult to concentrate on negativity.
This is the conclusion reached by Weisz A., Grossmann T., and Woodward A., who conducted a major study in 2008 and published the results in Psychological Bulletin.
But such an attitude prevents a person from enjoying life.
When the stage of falling in love in a couple appears resentment, quarrels, dissatisfaction, and all the shortcomings of the partner can be seen as in the palm of his hand, a person has obsessive thoughts. He begins to notice only the bad in his other half.
Whereas the good is no longer worth noticing, because it is taken for granted. And this approach can destroy even the deepest feelings that partners have for each other.
But a person can consciously shift the focus of attention. To do this, one must:
- notice when you’re thinking ill of your partner;
- to remember that it is just a habit of focusing on bad things;
- consciously remember something good about your partner.
Think about what he has done for you, how much he gives, remember why you fell in love with him.
This will not only improve your mood, but also help pump positive thinking. You’ll start thinking less about what’s wrong with your relationship and more about how much it gives you and how valuable it is. This will become a good motivation to keep this relationship going.
Refuse to make excuses.
Instead of taking the “It’s not my fault” stance, partners who want to stay together better stop making excuses. Find the strength to learn to admit your mistakes and take responsibility.
How do you save a relationship and make it happy?
If you and your partner waste energy on mutual accusations, you won’t have the energy to rebuild the relationship.
Ask for forgiveness
A person is taught to do this since childhood, but in a relationship it is sometimes harder to do than after a broken vase. Find the strength to sincerely ask for forgiveness can only be a mature and confident enough person.
Usually this is either forced by a partner, or the man himself says these words insincerely, as if doing a favor, crossing his arms across his chest, that is, all his appearance, showing that he does not agree with the fact that he has to apologize.
Give your partner a chance
If your man wants to make things right, to bring trust back into the relationship, to mend your communication, you need to give him the opportunity. If you want to stay with this man, you need to find the strength to stop recalling all the past quarrels, resentments, problems.
If during the conflict you shower each other with claims from the past, putting them as bonuses in the piggy bank of your rightness, you’re getting away from the main thing – from the solution to the problem that is here and now.
Everything that was in the past cannot be changed. But how you communicate in the present is up to you.
Introduce new rules.
If the relationship has gone bad, it means that something has gone wrong. Some patterns of communication are not working. So you need to form new ones. Here are the rules that will help with that:
- Do not ignore your partner;
- Do not be offended, demonstratively silent, and go into another room;
- Do not run to mom or friends to complain about your partner;
- Honestly, but calmly voice why you are experiencing negative emotions right now;
- Talk about your desires and needs;
- give a positive emotional response to his/her actions – praise, thank you, show your joy and gratitude.
Follow the 3-to-1 rule.
Marcial Lozada, studying the effectiveness of team interaction, came to the conclusion – if you want to achieve a positive result, for every negative remark you say to your partner, you must give 3 positive ones.
Praise and compliments are a better motivator than punishment and criticism – this was proved by B. Skinner. But here it is important not to go overboard. As shown by the same research, if there are more than 7 compliments per 1 remark, it will lead to a drop in effectiveness.
To understand what manner of communication used to couple, you can count the number of times a day partners criticize each other, and how many praise. And then try to change this ratio so that it corresponds to the Lozada coefficient.
Take a break from each other
Try not to “hang out” on each other, communicate more with friends, loved ones, find hobbies that will help you restore resources. Abstraction from each other, you can look at the situation from the outside and reduce the degree of intensity of emotions.
Put yourself in your partner’s shoes
When you argue, argue with each other, your attention is focused on your desires. To better understand your partner, try to put yourself in his place. Try to see the situation through his eyes, assuming he feels.
Think about it, and then say frankly: “I guess when I did so you felt that …”. That way you’ll take your partner’s side, let him open up to you. He will feel that he is heard and understood, and he himself will try to understand you.
Have a real conversation.
To do this you must not attack each other, but calmly:
- Say what is not satisfactory for each of you;
- clarify why this is happening, try to understand your partner’s feelings;
- explain why it is important for you to change it;
- make a joint decision – don’t give ultimatums, but negotiate, look for a compromise.
Sometimes it can be difficult to do all 4 steps, because even in the first stages the couple turns negotiations into a quarrel.
To avoid this, try to approach the issue differently and turn it into a game. Who is the first to raise his voice – the loser. Establish what the loser will have to do. Take the winner to a restaurant, cook him dinner, etc.
Start with yourself.
Trying to remake your partner usually does not lead to anything good. On the contrary, this is one of the factors that lead to separation. Therefore, it is better to start not with your partner, but with yourself.
If you managed to talk frankly, you already know what is important to him, what he wants. Take the first step towards the man you love. Try to quarrel less, encourage him more, show attention. Let him know how much you care about your relationship.
If a man loves, he is sure to start to adjust to you. Your peaceful mood will allow him to relax defenses, make concessions, to admit his wrongdoing. He will try to make things right. And intimacy, trust and love will return to the relationship.