We’ve all been in that tense and all consuming position when your relationships feels like it’s hanging by a thread, on the brink of break up, and this can be a very anxiety inducing time that leads many people to feeling anxious, depressed and very worn out.
The most important thing, during this time is to learn to look after yourself – as so often we outsource this job to our partner and when they don’t look after us the way we expect them to, we often feel dejected and alone – yet it is fundamentally your job to look after you, and perhaps this situation can serve as an important reminder to focus on tending to your own needs as well as the needs of the relationship.
If you’re talking about “saving a relationship” then there’s a strong chance something has triggered it to be perceived as ‘broken’. There’s likely to be an emotional rollercoaster going on inside, in both parties, where you’re torn between states of warm nostalgia, loneliness, relief, anger and anguish. It’s a chaotic time.
In addition to taking care of yourself, there is of course, a need to take care of the relationship and also be mindful of what the other person is experiencing – as any relationship is a two person dance, so you’re unlikely to be alone in the way you’re feeling… it’s important to remember there are two people hurting.
In fact, if you approach the situation with this in mind and simply ask how the other person is doing – from a genuine place of care and concern for their well being, this can open up otherwise closed communication. See, in these states it’s very easy to become so self-focused on the feelings we are feeling ourselves that we forget, or at least neglect, the other person that is after all supposed to be your ‘partner’.
If you’re both feeling similarly, then couples therapy retreats can be a great way to work through issues and find peace with each other, yet if the other person is pulling away or wants different things it can be a much harder experience to deal with, for you, and to reconcile as a couple.
The most important thing to remember if you’re wanting to save your relationship is that a relationship is a place to ‘give’ not a place to ‘get’ – meaning, you need to shift your focus on what you can give your partner at this time, rather than what you can get, and try to avoid falling into the trap of giving in order to get… as this can lead to a vicious cycle of score counting.
One of the hardest things you can give your partner, particularly if they are pulling away from you, is the gift of space – yet often this is what a relationship does need to heal.
The analogy of not trapping a butterfly has some merit here, for you don’t want to be so intensely motivated to “save the relationship” you come across as desperate, needy, or obsessed – which can often happen given the psychology of the situation; particularly if your feelings are unrequited.
In summary, the thing that is most likely to save your relationship is if you shift your focus away from what you aren’t getting from your partner and start treating it more as a place to ‘give’ rather than a place to ‘get’… if both you and your partner follow this paradigm then healing can take place, whereas if they choose not to reciprocate at least you can walk away knowing you tried your very hardest.