Is it possible to bring a relationship back from the brink of breaking up?
This is a question I was asked recently by Ellen Fanning on the ABC Radio National show Life Matters.
Here’s a summary of some of the topics we discussed:
How can you tell if your relationship is doomed?
The research shows that the average couple waits 6 years from the start of problems before seeking help. So as you can imagine, many couples have been experiencing significant stress when they enter the therapy room. And sadly, 40% of couples divorce without seeking professional help.
If you’re struggling in your relationship and at the brink of breaking up, it is possible to turn your relationship around if you’re willing to work on your relationship.
However, some couples see how much work they need to do and give up. It just feels too hard and for some people and they treat relationships like they are disposable.
What causes relationships to fail?
There are many reasons why relationships fail, but some of the top reasons include:
- Unresolved conflict- high criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling or feelings of contempt for your partner
- Betrayal – emotional or sexual infidelity
- Lack of appreciation – taking your partner for granted
- Growing apart – living separate lives, feeling disconnected
What helps relationships last?
Some of the things that can help your relationship last include:
- Create rituals of affection: take the time to connect emotionally and physically when you part or when you reconnect after time apart.
- Learn to regulate yourself and your partner: learn how to soothe yourself when you feel distressed and learn what you can do to calm your partner when they are upset.
- Take a time out when things escalate: take time away from each other if you start to get furious, or your argument escalates to the point that neither of you is hearing each other.
- Create a relationship vision: decide on your individual and relationship goals so you can support each other in growing individually and as a couple.
- Get the owners manual on your partner: learn what your partner’s vulnerabilities and strengths are so that you know when your partner needs help and how to support your partner.
- Don’t cause pain to your partner in public or private: never undermine your partner in public or private and always seek to support your partner’s hopes and aspirations.
- Attempt to repair conflict: don’t let issues got on unresolved for long periods of time as this erodes the goodwill in your relationship.
- Be each other’s go-to person: make sure you always share important news with your partner before anyone else so they know they are the most important person in your life.
Click the link below to listen to the full discussion on ABC Radio National:
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.