Every relationship goes through good and bad periods. When things are going well, your love for each other can make each day a rewarding experience. When problems begin to arise, your relationship can quickly turn into an anxiety-inducer that prevents you from enjoying your lives together. How you handle the difficult times directly influences your ability to maintain a long-term, healthy relationship. Here are some tips for managing a broken relationship.

Attack the Issues The most common mistake that couples make when encountering relationship problems is ignoring the issues at hand. It is human nature to avoid confrontation, but this behavior will only allow the problem to fester and grow worse. If you know the reason for the fallout with your partner, then you should discuss the matter. This is the only way that a true solution will be found.

Be the Bigger Person The worst arguments occur when both sides become defensive and try to “win” the fight. Unfortunately, this strategy only results in escalating the argument and making the problem worse. This ugly pattern will continue forever unless one side concedes to a more logical solution. Pride yourself on being the bigger person and offer alternative solutions to your issues. Recognize early when you are in a “no win” situation and provide some concessions. By being the first person to draw back, you will lower the defensive nature of your partner and reopen the channels of communication so that you can work on fixing your broken relationship.

Take a Timeout Sometimes the best thing to do when your problems become overwhelming is to simply take a timeout. Step back from the situation and think about what went wrong, and what you can do to fix it. With broken relationships, it is always good to think about the positive things that brought you and your lover together. Remember why you fell in love and think of ways to build on those positives.

No Bossing A direct effect of relationship problems can be changes in your demeanor. Your anxiety and discomfort with your troubles may make you say or do things you normally wouldn’t. One common example of this is to become bossy with your partner. Giving them directives or tasks can give you a sense of power over the relationship, but ultimately you are just making things worse. In order to solve the underlying issues, you need be more of team player…instead of the coach.

Apologize Apologies are one of the greatest equalizers in interpersonal communication. You can use apologies to help fix your broken relationship, even if you don’t feel you’re directly at fault. No matter what the original problem was, it is likely you have displayed some defensive behavior or lashed out at your partner in some way. As mentioned before, these heated exchanges only complicate matters. By apologizing for harsh words, or for not handling a situation better, you will begin to rebuild some of the lost respect in your relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to own up to something you didn’t do, but surely there is some aspect of your argument that you could have been more receptive to.

Not all of these strategies will work for every person or situation. The key is to use these quick suggestions as brainstorming material for your own broken relationship. Apply the ones that fit, and create others that will help you solve your own specific problems.

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