Check out this new piece from Carmen at UpJourney on how to fix broken relationships. I offer tips that you can do on your own and together. Remember, it takes two to tango, so keep in mind both pathways. Check out the full article at: https://upjourney.com/how-to-fix-a-broken-relationship
Here’s my contributions to the piece:
Feeling frustrated, alone and disconnected in relationships can feel defeating and hopeless. It can be exhausting to work on a relationship, but there are things you can do on your own and with your partner to work through this hard time.
Long-term relationships are going to have there ups and downs, and the downs may persist for a while. Couples who are willing to stick through the tough times have been shown to be more satisfied and trust their relationships more over time.
What to do on your own:
Stop blaming your partner
If you’re choosing to stay in this relationship, you need to take ownership of that choice and support your choice by doing your part, or whatever you can to maintain and strengthen the relationship.
Be mindful of the assumptions you’ve built up about your partner and try quieting those down.
If you want to move forward in your relationship, you’ve got to control how much these assumptions take over your thoughts when you’re triggered.
I know this isn’t easy- it’s actually a skill that takes practice- over and over again. But if you want to make things better and ultimately have more intimate and frequent sex- then these assumptions are going to slow you down
Built-up frustration festers into resentment- which ultimately leads to disconnect.
You’re choosing to be in this relationship to be with your partner, so it’s important to take ownership of that choice and take control of your thoughts and reactions to triggers in the relationship around sex.
Don’t take actions or statements from your partner that might feel hurtful personally
If you’re fighting a lot in your relationship and feeling blamed or attacked often, it’s natural and common to feel rejected and minimized. Following these feeling, it’s common to go on the defense. This can come out by being aggressive, passive-aggressive, distant or cold.
Unfortunately, none of these behaviors help the relationship. So check yourself. Look at what thoughts are coming up for you when you’re feeling rejected or attacked. Take control of these thoughts and find alternative ways to react that focus on connection rather than distance.
Look inward not outward
What are you wanting and what choices are you making that keeps you where you’re at? What have you been hiding or keeping secret from your partner about your desires, fears, and boundaries? Why have you been keeping these secrets? Are you leaning into the trust in your relationship or are you assuming all hell will break loose if you share your desires, fears, and boundaries?
Healthy trusting relationships support you and your partner’s health.
Couples who are in healthy trusting relationships have been shown to have lower cortisol levels, the hormone that increases and causes a cascade of negative physical reactions. So the more you’re able to lean in on and trust your relationship, the better overall your health will be.
Take care of yourself – physically, emotionally and sexually
Focus on supporting your body, mind, and heart by focusing on self-care and self-pleasure to control what YOU can control during this tumultuous period, so that when the time comes you can share with your partner you’re refueled and open.
What to do with your partner:
Talk to your partner
Whatever you think may happen – be honest, it’s already crap, talking about it will only give voice to the reality. You likely aren’t the only one noticing it’s crap so by bringing up the conversation, you’re telling your partner, it’s ok for us to talk about this — it’s important enough to talk about.
Realize the importance of intimacy
Often times sexual intimacy reduces or disappears when relationships are going through a rough period. Prioritize your intimacy in your relationship, but keep in mind that the target should be about connecting intimately, not just having intercourse.
Start focusing on the other aspects of your relationship where you do connect and lean on those for a while.
Remind yourself of the qualities your partner has that you find most attractive and the reasons you fell for your partner in the first place.
Compliment your partner and express gratitude for these traits. This will bring more tenderness in the relationship which can open the space for intimate connection.
Do little things to show you care. Cups of coffee, a hand massage, cook dinner- simple everyday things that maybe you stopped doing, can reignite the sparks in the relationship
Provide concrete support to your partner. If they’re stressed about something at work, what can you do to help your partner out- role play out tough conversations, help them job search or do research for a project.
Schedule time and space to connect
Make sure it’s a time that works for you both. Try a new fun, preferably active, activity to do together. Try something new to create new opportunities to relate to one another and connect. This will help break down the routine and habits in the relationship that are contributing to disconnect.
Try taking a massage or tantra class together. These activities can provide a safe space where sexual exploration is the goal and where you both can focus on cultivating your sexual connection explicitly.
Build up the moments of pleasure and enjoyment, to counterbalance the negative memories you and likely both of you have