Most romantic relationships go through five clearly defined stages with the first one being the “honeymoon period” when everything is exciting, easy, and effortless. This period, however, is followed by what is known as the “power struggle” stage. This is when differences begin to emerge, conflicts happen more often, and partners try to change each other.
During this stage, it may start to feel like the spark is gone and that you’re falling out of love. You may still have romantic feelings for him/her, but you may also sense that your partner no longer cares as much about the relationship as you do. It is natural to feel anxious and sad when this happens but it’s important to keep in mind that all relationships take work and patience.
If you are currently in a relationship that’s difficult to navigate, broken, or on the brink of falling apart, but you still believe it can work, don’t give up. Consider implementing these three ways to save your relationship:
1. Stop playing mind games
Playing mind games – we’ve all done it and we’ve all seen it can work short-term. In fact, many online sources and experts would argue that playing power games is the way to go if you want results but I believe it does more damage than good in the long run. Withholding affection, sending mixed messages, ignoring and testing limits may lead to an increased attention from your partner for a short while but it will not fix or make your relationship any stronger. The long-lasting effect will be the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve – the relationship will break down.
If you frequently ignore your partner, give them the silent treatment, or act cold you will create a toxic relationship. Instead try being honest and open. Communicate and challenge such behaviours if you’re on the receiving end as otherwise it can lead to detrimental effects to your emotional stability.
2. Identify your love languages
Knowing your love language is key to a successful relationship. Gary Chapman, who is a well-known marriage counsellor, identified five distinct love languages – quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. According to him and other experts in the field, it is important to understand which love language both you and your partner speak in order to be able to satisfy each other’s emotional needs. This is because you may be expressing your love in the best way you know but if your partner doesn’t “speak” the same love language the message simply will not get across.
The best way to address this is to identify your primary love languages and then discuss steps you can implement to make each other feel loved and appreciated.
What tried and tested ways to save your relationships do you know of? Share in the comments section down below!
3. Reconnect with each other
Professor Barbara Fredrickson and marriage researcher John Gottman found that what makes relationships strong is not the big acts of passion, but the small daily gestures of love and appreciation.
The quality of your relationship is the sum of the small choices you make each day. Regularly laughing together, talking openly, giving compliments and focusing on the positives rather than the negatives can be transformational to your relationship.
The first step you can take towards reconnecting is to appreciate each other and remember why you fell in love by sharing three things you like about each other daily. You can also shake things up by trying something new. Plan a date or a little project, explore a new part of the city, take a class together or go somewhere you’ve never been before. Little things can allow you to bond, spend more time together and invigorate your passion.
While you should never remain in a toxic relationship which makes you unhappy and affects your well- being, you should keep in mind that all relationships require effort, compromise and a lot of patience!