Feel like you and your partner are on the way to Splitsville? Trying to figure out how to save your relationship? Sometimes your ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t exactly turn out as you planned.
If things between you and your partner have started to feel a bit ‘bleh’, there’s no need to throw in the towel just yet. Try our advice for reconnecting with your partner and find out how to save your relationship.
The problem: We’ve drifted apart
Often couples think that they have fallen out of love; rather, they’ve just stopped communicating and, instead, have built up resentment towards each other. It’s possible to bridge the divide.
Read more: 8 ways to argue successfully
When you do decide to sit down and communicate with each other, one of the rules should be to accept that everything being said by your partner is true, even if it is difficult to understand their point of view.
If he says you give the kids more attention, find a way to make more time for him. And the same goes for your partner. Feel like he takes you for granted? Suggest ways he can show more appreciation for you and your relationship day to day, or ask that he takes initiative.
The problem: We’ve hit a wall
Even though a frank discussion might be what your relationship needs, you don’t want it to descend into a screaming match. If you’re at a stumbling block, seeing a couples’ counsellor can help you work through issues in a safe environment.
They can also help you to identify negative behaviour patterns and teach you how to communicate better with one another. It’s impossible to move forward if one person is holding onto resentment or reminding the other of their indiscretions. Without this, your relationship doesn’t stand a chance.
The problem: Forever is a long time
You both feel like you’re walking on eggshells and you’re terrified that this is how it will be for the rest of your lives. Instead of looking at the bigger picture all the time, try to take life one manageable step at a time.
Instead of thinking about your relationship over the next 50 years, answer a simple question like this: Could you happily stay with your partner for the next week? The answer will most likely be yes.
How to make it work:
Don’t panic, almost all couples go through this at some point. Here’s how to save your relationship and get it back on track.
- Perform a post-mortem
If you’ve both decided to stay together and work it out, the trick to doing it differently is to try creating a ‘new’ relationship. That means saying goodbye to the comfortable routines and old behaviours.
Talk frankly about what went wrong in the past and, at the same time, show each other how to do things differently.
- Relationship first, kids second
It’s controversial, but some experts believe that the obsession with ‘perfect’ parenting can be a factor in why relationships falter. You can’t give so much attention to your children that there’s nothing left for each other. Even with kids in the house, successful relationships still require time and energy from both of you.
Parents should always greet each other with a kiss when they arrive home, before turning to their kids. But, first things first – get a lock for your bedroom door!
- Let’s get physical
Touch each other more. Make an effort to hold hands and kiss – it will help you to reconnect emotionally and physically.
Discuss what you want in bed – always try to start with a compliment when you’re talking about sex. Saying something like, ‘I love what we have, but let’s have more,’ rather than criticising, can help keep things positive, and your partner will likely be more receptive.
Treat sex like something special again and make your bedroom sexier by cleaning up and create some ambience with new candles.
Be adventurous and initiate lovemaking – you’ll be surprised how sexy it makes you feel to make the first move.
- Synchronise your schedules
It’s simple enough: make sure you’re keeping to a similar schedule. For example, try to eat dinner together, preferably at the dinner table for most nights, so that you have some time to chat and catch up with each other. That might mean having a deep conversation about the terrible day you’ve had or chatting about the TV series you watched the night before.
And a shared bedtime is just as important, especially if you want to stay intimately connected.
And a few quick fixes to try:
- Drop him a message during the day to let him know you’re thinking of him.
- Make eye contact with your partner as you greet them when you get home.
- Have dinner together at the table – but you need to turn off the TV and ban phones during meals.
- A small act of kindness goes a long way, whether it’s making a cup of tea or giving up the TV remote for the night.