How to Fix a Dysfunctional Relationship

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Dysfunctional relationships most probably happen because the couple set them up that way. This is not to say that they intentionally did it, but it just did not work the way they expect it to be. Keep in mind that a bad relationship cannot exist if you are not feeding or nurturing it in some way, but if you think you are in one, there are steps that you can take to fix it.

1. Understand the problem.

The first step is to identify the problems that could be plaguing your relationship. Maybe both of you are just not connecting or one of you is contributing more than the other, which can stir issues. Look for signs of problems that you might be facing.

2. Talk about the problem with your partner.

When bringing up a problem in your relationship, try to be as specific as possible and make sure you are not angry at the moment. Using a calm tone, share what you think is going wrong between you and your partner, looking at patterns, and not people. As you can see, it can be easy to point fingers, but you should avoid this behavior and look at the patterns instead.

3. Keep your emotions at bay during discussions.

If it happens that you are getting angry when you are about to start a discussion with your partner, try taking some time to calm yourself down first. You can listen to some music, take a short walk or take a relaxing shower. Whatever you need to do, you should take a few minutes to calm down before starting or continuing a discussion.

4. Listen attentively to what your partner has to say.

One of the best ways to develop empathy for what your partner is feeling is to listen to what he/she has to say. Make sure not to just let your partner’s words pass over you. Instead, you should absorb what he/she is saying and then understand what is behind those words.

5. Be willing to compromise.

An important element in a healthy relationship is being able to compromise, which means that you cannot just expect to be victorious in every argument, as it should involve “give and take”. Find common ground and give a little on the issue at hand.

6. Reintroduce the connection.

Like when you are in a new relationship, reintroduce some connection while making your relationship a priority. Over time, you would become accustomed to your relationship and then stop putting effort into it. Once you understand that this has caused some problems, work things out to change it.

7. Maintain communication with your partner.

Communicate with your partner how things—positive and negative—make you feel. Make sure you maintain communication, as both of you cannot be expected to guess what each of you are feeling or thinking.

8. Move forward

Together with your partner, make a plan to move forward. Agree with solutions and then put them into concrete terms.

Aside from those mentioned above, you should not forget to also spend time on developing yourself and your own interest. As you can see, you will be able to bring more to your relationship when you are developed and independent person.

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