A stagnant relationship may not seem like a big deal when you’re going through it. You think to yourself, It’s not that bad, we’ll get back on track soon enough—or maybe even worse, Well, at least we have each other… But the truth is that being in a stagnant relationship can be detrimental to your health and well-being, as well as your partner’s. Here are some tips on how to revive your relationship when it feels like it might be too late.
1) Check in on your partner
If you want your relationship to last, make sure that it’s you and not just inertia holding it together. You should be checking in with each other regularly about what is going on in your life. This will help you spot problems before they grow too big so that if one of you has an opportunity or thinks about going somewhere else, there will be time for discussion before jumping ship. Sit down together and talk about where things are at between you and then try to avoid growing apart by scheduling regular check-ins or dates (if possible). If there’s an issue of some kind—whether caused by him/her or by you—you have time before it becomes something much bigger than it might be now.
2) Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally
When someone is mad at you, it can be easy to feel like they’re mad at you personally. While it might be helpful to try and understand why your partner is upset or angry, taking things personally can lead you down a rabbit hole of trying desperately to figure out what you did wrong. Instead of stressing over their behaviour, focus on how best to fix things. For example, if your partner seems unhappy about something you said during dinner, don’t stress about where he/she got his/her takeout from—focus on making your partner happy again by either apologizing for whatever upset him or trying another approach next time around.
3) Treat This as an Experiment
If your relationship is in trouble, try approaching it as an experiment. Instead of thinking about it as something you have to fix, think of it as something you need to figure out. There’s no right or wrong answer, and even if your situation has been trying on both of you emotionally and mentally, there are bound to be some parts that worked well early on. By identifying those aspects and trying them again, you might find that your relationship shifts from the stagnant back into positive territory.
4) Talk About What You Want
It’s important to talk about what you want in a relationship, even if it’s uncomfortable. While you may be uncomfortable having the talk, being open and honest early on will help you avoid painful situations later on. If your partner is behaving in ways that make you unhappy, ask for clarification about what they’re doing (and why) before making any assumptions. Be clear about your expectations and don’t settle for someone who doesn’t share them. You can try saying something like: We haven’t gone out much lately and I’m feeling sad because of it.
5) Stop Giving Advice and Offer Support
When you’re experiencing problems in your relationship, it’s natural for you to be concerned about how your partner is feeling and want to help them out. When it comes to relationships, however, your partner is often not ready for your advice—and may even feel judged by it. Instead of offering tips on what they should do next, try listening more and giving support without judgment or analysis. In many cases, they just need someone who will hold space while they work through their thoughts and feelings. And if you can offer that space without judging them or coming up with solutions right away, both of you might feel closer as a result. Sometimes all we need is another human being there with us in our struggle!
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main photo: unsplash.com/Scott Broome