Knowing or imagining that splitting up could be on the cards for you and your partner can be daunting, especially if you want to keep the relationship alive. Sometimes a break-up is inevitable and there is little you can do to prevent the worst happening. However, there are some actions you can take if you sense that a split is looming.
- Remove the ‘accuse’
If you are worried about separating from your current partner, it can feel natural to be defensive. When we’re feeling wary, it’s easy to make accusations. Perhaps you have always doubted a work relationship your partner has, or have been concerned about their whereabouts recently. However, it’s crucial that you resist the temptation to accuse because this will only make your other half defensive too, ultimately resulting in further conflict. Wait for a time when you are fully relaxed to broach the subject calmly, sometimes writing a letter can be therapeutic. You may not send it, but by putting your feelings down on paper, you are channelling your emotions. If you decide to give them the letter, allow time for them to take it in. Above all, send the message that you do want your relationship to work and where you can, use ‘we’. e.g., ‘We both need to work on making more time for each other, rather than ‘you never make time for me’.
- Communicate well
Communication is an art, and when you can do it well, it can make all the difference to the outcome of your relationship. Look deeper into why you are feeling the way you are. If, for example, you are fed up with your partner asking where you are, explain that you understand from their past experiences why they might be acting the way they are, but that their questioning of you is making you feel suffocated. Explain that you want to find compromise and balance so they feel secure in the relationship while you also feel free to do activities on your own sometimes. Equally, if you are feeling suspicious, explain that you will work on yourself to improve your level of confidence in the relationship. Resorting to insults can be easy when you feel the relationship is not heading where you want it to, but shouting and getting angry can become more frequent and you may end up saying something in the heat of the moment that you later regret.
- Explain why you love your partner
Although you will need to communicate your negative emotions at times, you should offset this by describing what it is that you love about your partner. This doesn’t need to be a huge gesture, often the smaller gestures are more meaningful. Be specific too. While saying ‘I love you’ is reassuring for your significant other, the detail is more telling. For example, ‘I love how you make me laugh when I’m feeling blue’ reinforces what that person means to you. Being appreciated in this way is a great way of validating your partner’s role in your relationship. It can also encourage them to offer similar compliments to you too!
- Make time for each other
Modern life often leaves couples time-poor. Work commitments, family obligations and domestic tasks can easily become centre stage in your life if you let them. Consciously making time for each other gives you the space to reconnect again and remind each other why you are together. Date nights, trips to the local pub, a walk with the dog in the park are just some of the alone-time activities you can do. Make sure you’re not distracted with other things when you go and that your mind is on you and your partner.
- Be kind to each other, and yourself
Sometimes in life, your partner will need support from you, and it’s important that you are there and give it in a way that is appreciated. Often, people do not want to explain their woes but you know your partner best, so try to figure out how you can offer them the support they need. And it’s not just your partner, you will need to take care of yourself too. If you are not happy in your relationship, don’t keep it a secret. This can lead to passive aggressive behaviour that will eventually form arguments, and it could lead to resentment on both sides. Striking the balance between satisfying your own needs and your partner’s needs can be challenging, but if you want the relationship to work, the effort will pay off.