seven ways to stop a separation

has your relationship hit a rough patch? are you worried you could separate? or remain trapped in an unhappy relationship? don’t panic, there’s hope. sometimes a relationship needs saving and that’s okay.

handily, the seven ideas i share below could be just what you need to stop a separation.

let’s not waste another second.

communicate better

when we use our words to hurt, criticise, or highlight shortcomings, we attack the very bonds that hold us together.

have you ever paused and wondered if your partner is still in love with you after receiving hurtful words? of course!

and it’s not fun to be stonewalled, either.

lack or misuse of communication is one of the biggest predictors of separation in couples.

when couples speak more about the bad than the good, they will, in turn, feel more negative than positive. and when we feel bad, we say and act bad, too.

a spiral of negativity.

there is also something to be said about reducing communication, too.

while it may be surprising to hear, the truth is that communicating more is not always the right answer. trying to work at the relationship can backfire.

in other words, if you have nothing good to say, or you are not sure your words will heal, then retreat and say nothing.

of course, this means what you communicate when you do talk is critical. your words mustn’t trigger your partner to react or lash out. and your words must not leave your partner feeling worse.

if they feel a need to defend themselves or have a sudden desire to leave the room, you are doing it wrong!

consider what would be best for the relationship for both parties.

for example, try to speak to what they’re doing right far more than what they’re doing wrong. highlighting the good is the opposite of what most couples do.

if you only focus on what is “bad,” then everyone is going to feel bad. and besides, a cheesed-off partner will double down on the bad, giving you more to complain about in turn!

learning to communicate in the way necessary for a happy relationship means having less focus on what is right to make room for what brings happiness.

play the long game!

if people knew how to relate more effectively with each other, many relationships would avoid separation entirely.

know when to back down

when you fight, and things get out of hand, retreat and give your partner and yourself time to cool off.

small breaks stop the heat from reaching critical levels.

if you don’t retreat soon enough, you’ll hit flight or fight.

when neither is willing to back down, something is going to break. and that could be the relationship.

as a rule, it is better not to talk when emotions are running high, as there is a tendency to say and do the wrong thing.

use these small breaks to give yourself time to let off steam and reflect on the relationship.

if you can identify the cause of the argument, then you are less likely to repeat it or take the same ineffective route.

only once you’ve both cooled off should you try speaking again, hopefully with greater clarity and headspace.

don’t be afraid to take charge

waiting for the other person to make the first move in saving the relationship is wasting precious time.

think of it this way: you could be days away from a breakup! do you have any idea how many men and women there are, now single, who got caught off guard?

for that reason, it is better to act now than wait and risk experiencing a surprise ending.

take the steps you must take to mend the bridges in your relationship.

what you get done today will serve you tomorrow.

take charge, and your partner may well be inspired to match your energy.

of course, if you have something important to say, keep in mind that it isn’t entirely what you say but how you say it.

check you are not coming from an accusatory place.

if your partner feels attacked, you can expect them to defend themselves in turn.

try to keep a positive tone. it helps. trust me.

apologise for your share of wrong-doings

if you hurt your partner, it is fundamental that you take responsibility.

don’t just say you’re sorry to get past your transgression quickly.

instead, acknowledge your faults and what you did wrong, and apologise for those actions appropriately.

you must not make excuses when giving your apology because that will only sound like a justification.

own up to what you did wrong without blaming other people or the circumstances surrounding you.

if you can, you should aim to validate what your partner was feeling at the time.

the better you can describe what your partner felt and was going through, the more your apology will resonate.

a weak apology is one that avoids responsibility and suggests the issues caused are someone else’s responsibility as well.

forgive and show you care

your partner wants to feel valued and connected to you.

no one is perfect, of course, and your partner may have said or done things to make loving them harder.

if your partner has hurt you and has shown adequate remorse, not forgiving them will drive you apart.

holding on and holding a grudge is the death of a loving relationship.

forgiveness is not trivial, of course. it means detaching yourself from the bitterness, anger, and hostility that are holding you back from progressing together.

it may help to keep in mind that forgiveness is a process and may not be something that can happen overnight.

tip: if you struggle to forgive, try acceptance instead. it is easier to accept what has happened than it is to forgive. and acceptance gives space for healing and love to flourish.

guard your relationship against toxic influences

sometimes outside influences can breed toxicity in a relationship.

unfruitful opinions could come from your friends, in-laws, family members, co-workers, and so on.

try to keep the matters of your relationship as private as possible. your love woes shouldn’t be everyone else’s business.

instead of confessing your concerns to the people around you, try to re-spark communication with your partner.

if you do venture outside your relationship for advice, pick your counsel wisely. unbiased people do not exist. but some are more balanced than others.

don’t forget you are two individuals, too

taking a break to let off steam and enjoy time away from your partner is healthy.

you should encourage each other to maintain your respective hobbies and interests.

the problem with doing everything together is that you lose touch with what made the other person special to you in the first place.

familiarity can blunt the energy and unique attributes we were attracted to in the first place.

by taking small breaks, each can appreciate the time spent together all the more.

breaks are your friend!

how to save a dying relationship

when a relationship goes off the rails, it is reasonable to think it is the end for you both. yet in reality, you can get things back on track. and love that has gone cold can return to a blazing fire with the right attention.

you can save a struggling relationship because people do just that every day. and so, if you are determined to do what is necessary, odds are good, you too can revive your relationship.

and what is necessary?

the seven tips i have shared! these ideas are fundamental to saving a dying relationship. which means the advice here is essential and should be at the core of your efforts to make your relationship work.

to recap:

  1. proper communication is vital: communicating better means knowing when to talk, what to talk about, and when not to talk at all! the kind of communication that uplifts a couple minimises negativity at all times and includes knowing when to bite your lip and knowing when to postpone tough topics for a more appropriate time.
  2. backing down: taking a break after a heated debate (or breakup) is almost certainly the right step to take (learn more.)
  3. take charge: it is better to take action than to wait for your partner to save the day. it is easy to pause and tolerate the cracks in your relationship “for just a little longer.” waiting is asking for trouble.
  4. apologise: if your partner can only think of how you wronged them, you can not expect to increase their good feelings for you until after you address said wrong doing!
  5. forgive: the opposite of forgiveness is to hold on to all the unhappy feelings. holding a grudge can not bring two people closer!
  6. be wary of external negative influences: friends and family can interfere and derail a relationship. perhaps someone prefers you were single or in a different relationship. it happens. and they may have no good reason that concerns you and your partner.
  7. enjoy your individuality as well: healthy couples nurture three relationships: the one they have with themselves and the one they share.

practise the above points, and you can stop a separation.

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.