Unlike falling in love, falling out of love can be painful. Very painful. It’s not something that you prepare for, like an exam or an interview. Most of the time it’s unexpected. No YouTube tutorial, how to guide, or step-by-step list could ever prepare you for the unthinkable–your relationship falling apart. For some, it may be comparable to a scratch only requiring a band-aid. For others, the pain from falling out of love can be likened to falling from a second story building, thus requiring a significant amount of time to recover in the intensive care unit. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, odds are, at some point in your life, you’ve required healing to mend a broken heart.
First, lets be honest. The fall didn’t completely come out of nowhere. There was a beacon that alerted you to the imminent danger, but instead, you chose to ignore it. These warnings could’ve been moments where the conversations were less engaging, there was a decrease in openness about daily or personal issues, or even a lack or decrease in intimacy. The love was fading, but you didn’t want to admit it. How could this be possible? It wasn’t too long ago that the two of you were discussing your future, your hopes, your dreams–together. The idea of being apart didn’t seem to exist.
Then, something happened along the way. Maybe the physical distance grew, the financial situation got worse, a loss was suffered, the schedule got intense, or maybe even infidelity. Now all that is left is a shell of a relationship that once was. Where do you begin to pick up the pieces? Sure, you could talk to family and friends, cry until there are no more tears, or even pray until it gets better. All those things alone will not resolve the issue. You will need to talk directly to the person that matters most– your significant other. You have to be honest about how you feel and what you are going through. This honesty begins with talking with your partner.
To start, identify where you both are mentally in the relationship. If you’ve grown accustomed to letting your emotions get the best of you, this is the moment of change. Do you both want the relationship to work or is it a one-sided deal? If you are both willing to put forth effort to salvaging the relationship, then the seed for reparations has already been planted . If the other person has already thrown in the towel, it is futile to hang on to what is lost. The process has to start with talking and active listening.
During the conversations, you’ll have to acknowledge each others’ feelings. For ease, I’ll use “he” to reference the partner. What is he trying to tell you? How does he feel? This conversation isn’t just about you, it’s about the both of you. You already know how you feel–hurt, sad, disappointed, angry, shocked, betrayed, etc. But do you understand his emotions? Do you understand why you irk him when the first thing you say to him is, “you left the toilet seat up again” or, “you didn’t take out the garbage yesterday.” How do you think that makes him feel? I’m sure there are deep rooted issues that lay in the depths of many relationships, but sometimes it’s the little things that worsen the situation.
Ask yourself, what do you do that brings about these negative feelings from your partner? What can you do to improve them? Sometimes it’s the tone or the wording of the sentence that changes the outcome. I’m not advocating changing who you are or your personal values. I’m a proponent of people taking the time to get to know each other again. By that, I mean set aside text message, social media, and other distractions, and really try to understand your mate. You probably know more than you think you do.
While you actively work on your relationship, actively work on yourself. Most of the time, general principles that you are working on with your partner can be applied to other relationships in your life. Active listening and empathy can allow you to better connect with your co-workers. Smiling and expressing gratitude are simple things, but these actions bring warmth and good vibes to anyone that you approach. The ability to control your emotions and to articulate yourself is a trait that will expand your interactions. It will allow you to make level headed decisions and in turn have better control of situations, therefore better outcomes.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that you’re doing this because you care about your significant other and you care about your relationship. Your approach has to be objective. There has to be openness and willingness from both parties. You have to identify that there is a rift in the relationship. That you care, and you want things to change for the better. If it is a joint effort, reconciliation is possible. If the other person has already thrown in the towel, it is futile to hang on to what is lost. Continue to pray, to discuss with family and friends, but most importantly continue to have open discourse with your partner.