What can I do about my relationship
Prevent separation and save relationship? With these tips it can work
The air is out, sex is boring or a crisis throws love into chaos. Was that it? We give tips on how you can save your relationship shortly before the end.
Why does love go away?
The reasons for a breakup are varied and often tragic. For some couples, a crisis leads to the end of their love, for others it is a breach of trust. Often the boring everyday life and everyday problems cause the couple to grow apart and the love to pass.
However, you can still save a troubled relationship. The beloved partner does not necessarily have to become an ex. If the boring everyday life and frequent arguments about little things are to blame for a couple to think about the separation, even small gestures can mean that the love lasts.
Often it is small rituals that long-married and happy couples name as the secret of their partnership. Be it the morning kiss, a little compliment, a stupid joke or the phone call during lunch break. If these gestures become regular rituals, they can keep love alive for generations.
Because, on the other hand, the widespread opinion that a strong love shows itself through great feelings, eternal romance, passionate sex and regular tokens of love, it is rather the small and almost overlookable everyday moments that strengthen the cohesion of a couple.
The "magic ratio" (from the English "magic ratio"), which was defined by the American Gottman Institute, is a good indicator of whether the relationship is still working. In scientific studies, the institute tested when people were still happy in a relationship and when they were heading towards separation.
The institute found out that the “magic ratio” of positive and negative events in functioning relationships is 5: 1. This means that every negative encounter between lovers must be followed by around five positive situations in order for men and women to be happy in a relationship.
Unconstructive criticism, disrespectful gestures such as rolling eyes or a lack of empathy should therefore be followed by at least five positive situations on average. These can be small interactions: a hug, a smile or a sincere "I love you". If the ratio is worse than 5: 1 over a longer period of time, the couple steers inexorably towards the end of the relationship, as the Gottmann Institute found out in long-term US studies.
What to do when the relationship is about to end?
If arguments, boredom or a crisis have been burdening the relationship lately, you quickly ask yourself: Is it all still worth it? Sometimes love just falls asleep in long-term relationships. Then it's time to take stock and have a clarifying discussion.
Do I still love my partner? Are there any solutions to the existing problems? Perhaps, as a single or with a new partner, am I happier in the long run? You must clarify all of these important aspects with yourself and your partner in an open conversation.
If there is still love, you should at least try to save the relationship. This also applies to a tangible relationship crisis. In a marriage between a man and a woman or in a stable partnership, there are not all good days. Provided that both partners are willing to work on themselves and the relationship.
The first step is to take stock. Find out on your own and in the next step in a joint conversation why you are dissatisfied in the relationship. Was there a specific trigger - for example an affair or financial worries - that led to a relationship crisis? Or have you just drifted apart over time? Are frequent arguments and disagreements a burden on the relationship?
"Red flags" are particularly dangerous to relationships. These concern the behavior of one or both partners. If you cannot rely on your husband or wife, if your partner is not ready to communicate or if jealousy, disrespect or even violence put a strain on the relationship, you should consider separating, but then also "properly" break up. This is especially true if the partner is not ready to work on himself and the behavior.
>> End love relationship: How do I break up the "right" way? <<
The clarifying conversation:
Do not make your partner an ex the first time problems arise. Our tip is an honest but possibly painful conversation in which you and your partner answer the following questions without pointing the finger at you:
- What do I want from the relationship?
- When do I feel good in the relationship?
- What am I missing in our relationship?
- What has changed in our relationship with the negative over time?
- Which areas are particularly stressful for me in the relationship?
- What is hurting me in our relationship?
- What can we do to save and improve the relationship?
So that the honest answer to these questions does not degenerate into an argument, you should use I-messages. Tell your partner how you feel, not what he or she did wrong in your eyes. Our tip: Express your needs instead of evaluating your partner's behavior.
For example, say “I have the feeling that you don't care if you prefer to watch TV instead of talking to me” and non-judgmental statements such as “You never talk to me!”. An ego-message is less often perceived as criticism or blame. Also, avoid words like “always” or “constantly” and prefer to refer to specific situations.
What can I do to save my relationship?
There are several things that can be done to save the relationship between two people. Above all, the willingness of both partners to work on themselves and the relationship, to find solutions to existing problems and to clear up misunderstandings.
First, make it clear to yourself what you (still) feel for each other. But even when the big feelings are gone, it can be worth fighting. Maybe love is buried under injuries, everyday stress, problems and worries - but it is still there.
Just think once about your first meeting, the first date, the first look in love. What was it that attracted you to your partner back then? Why did it become love? What activities or common interests did you pursue to make everyday life exciting? What is different today
Do you also know which language of love your partner speaks? There are five languages of love. It is possible that you speak a different love language than your partner and tokens of love are not recognized as such.
Some people express their love through intimacy and tenderness, others through helpfulness and care. For other people, on the other hand, it is important to spend a lot of time together as a couple. Love can also be expressed through gifts and attentions or praise and recognition.
Perhaps you have unconsciously hurt and rejected your partner in the past when he showed you a love affair. You just didn't recognize it as such! Perhaps you did not appreciate the dinner you brought with you or you did not give him enough recognition for his help.
Our tip is: Find out together which languages of love you speak and what you can both do to make you feel valuable in the relationship. You should also clearly formulate your own needs and wishes to your partner. Too often your husband or wife doesn't realize what you really need.
Also get clarity about why the relationship crisis arose. In most cases, there isn't a specific trigger that can be seen at first glance. A good relationship gradually deteriorates. Analyze the possible reasons and think about possible solutions.
How do love and eroticism blossom again in a well-worn relationship?
At the beginning of the relationship, the tingling, excitement and eroticism are in the foreground. You laugh, get to know each other and have great sex. Sooner or later, however, everyday life moves in. The good news is, frequent sex isn't all that important.
How often you make love with each other is not an indicator of a happy partnership. Conversely, little sex is not a sign of an unstable relationship. It is normal for the frequency to decrease after two to five years. Sex moves into the background, the house, the common children or hobbies, on the other hand, gain in importance. This is not a bad thing at first, as long as it does not burden the partner.
Nevertheless, you can occasionally let the erotic flare up again in your relationship. For example, treat yourself to a short break in a romantic hotel, spice up your love life with role-playing games or move the place of tenderness to unconventional places. You can also surprise your partner with sex in the hallway, in the kitchen or in the bathtub - and here you will find ten more hot ideas for an exciting love life.
If, on the other hand, the love life comes to a complete standstill, this can be a sign that something is wrong. Instead of living like lovers, you live together like good friends. Stress this situation, talk to your partner about the possible reasons.
Perhaps the birth of a child messed up the love life or hormonal contraception led to a loss of libido. Even too much closeness can reduce the desire for sex. A good tip is to give yourself time and space to miss.
Do something separately from your partner, go on vacation with your best friend and live just for you. This creates new topics of conversation and brings variety to everyday life.
Doubts at the altar - can the relationship still be saved?
The wedding is imminent and suddenly there are doubts: is that a reason to call it off and end the relationship? Cold feet in front of the altar may be an indication that the wedding is a mistake. Or maybe you just need thicker socks.
In general, you should take your doubts seriously. After all, half of all marriages nowadays are divorced and eternal love is often just a pipe dream. So before you make a big mistake, think about it: do I really want to spend the rest of my life with this person?
According to a US study at the University of California of 232 newly married couples, those who had doubts before the wedding were more likely to divorce in the first four years of marriage. Men doubted more often in percentage terms, but separated less than women after the wedding.
If you have any doubts, take a closer look: is it just the "usual" cold feet or do you secretly long for your ex-partner or a new relationship with another person? Do you feel like you are missing out on something or are there behaviors in your partner that can lead to big problems over time?
Don't hope that your partner will change after the wedding and watch out for the “red flags”. A few small doubts are not a reason for separation, but an indication to check the partnership before the wedding.
Can a child save the relationship?
For some, it's just another child, for others, buying a house: Big decisions are made as a last-ditch effort to keep the relationship alive. But be careful: If a partnership is about to end, pregnancy can no longer save the relationship.
It would be wrong if the woman did not use contraception in the hope of being able to keep her partner through a pregnancy. Sometimes, however, a baby is born unconsciously shortly before a separation - and the couple is suddenly faced with a whole new challenge.
The emerging life can be an incentive to try again. You can see a new pregnancy as an opportunity to work on the relationship in a targeted and motivated way. However, the emphasis is on “can”.
Because children together or a baby are not a lifeline for the relationship. On the contrary: If the relationship is not stable by the time the offspring is born, it quickly breaks down in the strenuous initial period with the newborn. Instead of a clear separation, you have to pull yourself together with your ex as co-parents.
How can a relationship be saved after a crisis?
Couples often only realize that they are not happy when a tangible crisis is looming. If money worries, an affair or a stroke of fate suddenly occur, this puts a seemingly good relationship to the test and forces the partners to grapple with each other.
If you want to save your partnership after a crisis, get help from outside. If you are worried about money, you can look for a debt advisor nearby or take advice from Caritas. In the case of relationship crises, on the other hand, long-term couple therapy can help to mend the relationship.
Trained couple therapists can offer good solutions and tips, improve communication and steer the relationship on the right track. However, both partners must be ready to take this step. Then couples therapy can be a great opportunity for a new beginning after the relationship crisis.
Saving a relationship after cheating - is that still possible?
Regardless of whether it was just a slip-up or a long-lasting affair: Cheating puts a strain on every relationship. Not only was the partner's trust abused, lies were also told and details kept secret. For many couples, infidelity is an immediate reason for separation.
Sometimes love is still stronger. Because in every relationship there are ups and downs. With common children, the common house and many good years together, you should at least have tried again. Provided that the man or woman accepts the big mistake.
A relationship crisis due to infidelity needs one thing above all: time. The betrayed partner has to cope with the breach of trust and think for himself whether he still wants to stay. In return, the unfaithful partner must give the other enough time, be able to withstand accusations and mistrust, and gradually regain trust.
If the betrayed partner decides to stay, couples therapy is advisable. Together with the couple therapist, the couple can find out how the infidelity came about and what needs in the relationship were not met or neglected. The therapist can also give the betrayed partner valuable tips on how to deal with the injury.
Can distance or a temporary breakup save the relationship?
If nothing works, maybe the temporary separation helps? Or is it the beginning of the end? In fact, the distance can do both. Time out can provide new insights, but it is no guarantee that the breakup can be avoided.
The distance helps the couple to collect themselves and to consider whether the love is still sufficient for the continuation of the partnership. At the same time, couples from a merged “we” can turn back to their own “I”, pursue neglected interests and their own life without their partner and regain satisfaction regardless of the partner.
A temporal separation can also help to gain distance from rather small but annoying everyday problems. There are no arguments about the household, at occasional meetings you can communicate with each other again without a fight. By taking the break, you may remember the good things of your partner again.
A temporary separation does not necessarily have to result in a permanent separation. If the relationship is to be continued in the future, however, both must work on the problems and set goals that can be striven for separately or together. Love and partnership - more on these topics can be found here.
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