Emotional Fitness

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12 Ways to Prevent Relationship Breakdowns

Learn to keep your love life on the positive track.

Relationship breakdowns happen for a multitude of reasons, and all of them are preventable. Here are some ways you can keep your love life on a positive track.

  • Let go of grudges. When you feel resentments starting to build, talk to your partner so you can resolve the issue.
  • Avoid taking your partner for granted. You have to continue to do things to make your partner see how much you care for him or her. By putting just a little extra energy into your relationship, you will help it thrive.
  • Face adversities with your partner. If your mate has a problem, you need to be there for the one you love. The two of you can deal better with whatever comes your way when you act as a team.
  • Be trusting of the person you share your life with. If you worry about your partner cheating or leaving you, or you don’t trust that he or she will do the right thing in a particular situation, discuss your fears and let your mate help you feel safe.
  • Help your mate rise to the challenges that we all face. Partners often start to fight more when they’re disturbed by changes in their lives, but by being sensitive and supportive, you can stop the fighting before it has a chance to start.
  • Discuss and deal with problems head-on. If you don’t, your problems will only grow and become more difficult to solve. Communication is your best ally, and it’s the only way to figure out how to overcome a problem.
  • Don’t let anxiety or depression stop you from living a full life with your partner. We all have difficult days. It’s part of life. When your mate is down or overly worried, do your best to be a cheerleader. Your love and support will help him or her cope with emotional challenges.
  • Do new things together to avoid boredom and to enhance your bond. This is a tried-and-true way to get closer and keep your relationship growing in a positive direction.
  • Speak what’s in your heart. Being afraid to be vulnerable or to speak important truths will keep your intimacy from growing. Talking about what really matters fosters closeness. Make the first move and ask your mate to listen to what you need to say.
  • Learn to stand up for yourself. If you feel that your partner is being a bully, and you’re not getting your needs met, you need to go toe-to-toe and clearly state what you need from him or her. If your partner won’t hear you, it’s time for couples counseling.
  • Maintain your faith in your partner and in your relationship. When you do, you keep unhealthy patterns of relating from developing. You need to continue to make the effort to grow with your partner and to change what you need to change.
  • Go to bed an hour eariler. Not to sleep, but to be together and bond. You can also hang out in the bedroom in the morning and have coffee together. It's delightful.

You have the knowledge and experience to build the skills necessary for a secure and comfortable existence. It starts with a mutual desire to end the bickering and to communicate.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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