The holidays are just around the corner and you feel as if your relationship might break up soon. If this happens, you will be stuck spending the holidays alone – no kiss for you under the mistletoe! To prevent this from happening and keep your relationship together for the holiday season I have decided to show you five effective and very do-able relationship tools you can use now to prevent a relationship break up.
1. Take a time out from each other. If your partner has just told you they want to break up, or want a divorce – or if you feel this way – take a time out from each other to gather your thoughts. When emotions run high, our ability to think rationally often goes right out the window. So take about a week or so to think about your relationship in totality.
In other words, remember why you fell in love with your partner in the first place and focus on the positive aspects of your partner, and your relationship. We don’t realize how we get so caught up in the negative aspects of our relationship – allowing us to forget about all the positive aspects. Take time to regroup your thoughts and feelings and revisit your relationship after this time out period with a new mindset. Think about respectful ways to approach your problems with your partner once you have reunited and see each other again.
2. Look in the mirror. Take a long hard look at the issues you have brought to the difficulties you are having in your relationship. We get so caught up in what annoys us about our partner; we often forget that we are not exactly a walk in the park to live with either. We all bring our own emotional baggage into our relationship from our past relationships and childhood. As I tell couples I help make up when they are on the brink of a break-up: “there is no such thing as a one-handed clap”. Sure it takes a while to work through our own baggage, but acknowledging our issues to our self – and our partner – will go a long way in making your relationship work.
3. Tackle the issues creating conflict. Many times we ignore conflict in our relationship hoping the issues will just go away. It just doesn’t work that way. The longer we ignore conflict/issues in our relationship, the deeper the conflict becomes. Ignored conflict(s) in our relationship acts like an untreated wound. Left untreated long enough, your minor wound may end up getting infected, leading to more serious complications. So address the issues in your relationship once you have taken a time out from each other, and acknowledge the issues you bring to the problems in your relationship.
4. Prioritize the relationship. By the time couples are ready to break-up, they have been spending less and less time together. Not spending enough time with each other is often what creates many problems in your relationship to begin with. This problem is so easy to solve. Schedule and prioritize time together. Two important rules apply to these date times – you must be able to have a conversation (taking a walk, going to dinner, etc) and you are not allowed to discuss problems in your relationship during these “dates”. The point of these scheduled times together is to re-create the positive feelings which have been lost (or are significantly diminished) in the relationship.
5. Act now! In other words, don’t wait for issues to solve themselves by brushing them under the rug and hoping they will go away. And you all know what I mean. Take action right now to begin repairing your relationship. It can be a small baby step, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Doing nothing about the problems in your relationship insures nothing in your relationship will change. So take action on all of the steps mentioned above and you will be well on the way to laying the foundation for a make up – instead of a break up.
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Dr. Patty Ann