There are two types of couples.
The first is when the relationship is strong and content. When the couple enjoys themselves and everything is humming along with no hangups, glitches, or problems. When everything works as it should.
You’re in sync, in a good way. Things just seem to be happening to you, and not against your will.
You’ve probably been in this situation. Your partner is there, they’re enjoying themselves, and you’re there, too. It’s as if you’ve both been handed a lantern and told to navigate through the nightlight.
The second scenario describes the other half of the coin.
When the relationship is going through a rough patch, you may find yourself drifting apart. Or you may find yourself spending more time alone, and your partner is asking you to share.
In both cases, you may feel confused, afraid, angry, hurt, hungry, and hopeless. But you’ve got to recognize that these are normal feelings during any relationship, not one half of a coin. You’ve just got to be willing to accept that these are the way the universe works, and you’re going to have to deal with them just as you would if the coin was badly damaged.
Here’s what you should do when the relationship you love is in rough shape.
Accept the situation: accept where you are, and accept what’s going on around you.
You’re stuck in a rut. You’ve got nothing to show for yourself, and your best friend has moved on to someone great. It’s not the kind of situation you like, and you don’t expect it to get better any time soon.
But it’s become a part of your life, and you’ve invested a lot of time and energy in this relationship. You can’t let it go, no matter how hard it hurts right now.
You can’t sit in your house, alone, watching the world go by. Not on an empty stomach. This isn’t a situation you can change, but you can decide to accept it and move forward.
Accept the feelings you have right now: anger, confusion, loneliness, fear. These are all normal feelings during a rough time, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to deal with them.
Think about the situation from your partner’s point of view. What did they do or say cause you to feel? Did what they did or said cause you to feel helpless and hurt? Did what they did or said make you feel loved?
Think about what you want from your own relationship. Think about your future together: do you want to invest? How do you want to be supported? Do you want to spend all your time with each other? Do you want to spend all your time worrying about each other?
Figure out how you feel, and then decide whether it’s time to lay off or ramp things up a notch or two.
You’ve got to pick your battles. Don’t blame your partner for not taking your call right away. Don’t get upset that you haven’t heard from them for days. You get it, they’re busy, right?
You get that your partner isn’t going to answer right away. You get that you don’t want to talk to them right now. You get it. The problem isn’t with you. Your partner is not a bad person, they’re just human.
The longer you hold on to the idea that your partner isn’t giving you what you need right now, the longer you’ll be frustrated when you don’t get what you need.
You decide what you need is a specific thing, and you decide what you want from your partner. You decide how you want to spend your time together, how you want to be supported.
When things go wrong, you explain to your partner what’s wrong and why it’s wrong. You decide how you’re going to communicate, how you’re going to allow your partner to be there for you.
When things go wrong with the plan you’ve made, your partner makes changes they agree to and you continue with the plan as before.
You’ve got to forgive your partner and yourself for the rough patch you’re in now. You’ve got to forgive yourself for not sticking around longer. You’ve got to forgive yourself for being in this rough patch in the first place.
You’re probably not the first person to admit it to your partner, but you’re definitely one of the ones who need to hear it. You’re in a rough patch, and you’re going to have to figure out a way to grow through this rough patch.
Give yourself a chance to fix what’s wrong. You’re in a rough patch, so you better figure out what you need to fix if you want to get out of this rough patch and get back on track.
Take a few slow steps back