You know that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you sense that it is over? Signs are popping up all over. A distant look in the eyes. Simple conversations become difficult often turning into looping arguments. Texts ignored. Your partner is pulling away. Panic sets in. We are failing. Question surfaces, “Is my relationship coming to an end?”
Relationships end for a variety of reasons. However, if your partner is leaving because of things you repeatedly do to push him/her away then it is important that you get a grip on yourself and change your pattern. This is not a quick fix solution.
As a relationship specialist, I work with couples on developing healthy patterns of connecting. Sometimes, individuals come to see me when the relationship is failing and they are looking for ways to save it. I offer these five ways to get your partner’s attention.
1. Really listen and take seriously things your partner said that you previously ignored
“I wish I would have listened” is the lament I often hear from individuals who suffer a break-up in a relationship they cherished. People who do more talking than listening send the wrong message. It basically says, “I’m more important than you.” Maybe that’s not how you want to come across, but you will if you don’t show more interest.
If you want to save your failing relationship then open these three things: your eyes, your ears, and your heart. Active listening involves all three. Eyes have to do with giving your mate your full attention. Look them in the eyes in a conversation. Listen without interrupting. Avoid using terms like, “Yes, but…” Listening with your heart is showing empathy to your partner. It communicates that you care.
2. Own the behavior you have been avoiding
One of the things that drives a partner away is unchecked negative behavior in a mate. They feel stuck with someone who won’t own their behavior. It’s exhausting. Before long, they get tired of the pattern and want out.
If you constantly make excuses for yourself, blame your partner, or make empty promises, then your relationship is in danger of failing. Wake up! Take a hard, long look in the mirror. You better start owning your behavior before he/she leaves you for good.
Owning behavior with your partner is a simple as saying, “You’re right, I tend to take my frustration out on you. It’s not fair to you. I need to be more aware of my actions.”
3. Rebuild trust by repairing hurt you caused by your actions
Relationships cannot survive on love. Trust is the foundation upon which all relationships are built. If you break trust with your partner, the relationship suffers. In order to rebuild trust you have to repair the hurt you inflicted on your mate. In my work with couples, I guide them through a 5 step process to repair hurt. For easy remembering the steps begin with the letter A.
- Admit you are wrong.
- Accept responsibility for your behavior without excuses or blame.
- Acknowledge how your actions specifically hurt your partner.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Agree to work on changing the behavior pattern.
4. Focus on the needs of your partner that you were neglecting
Neglect is an awful word in relationships. So is taking your mate for granted. It communicates a negative sentiment. If you want to save a failing relationship you cherish then you need to focus on the needs of your partner. It cannot be about you all the time. Listen to her music. Go to his sporting event. Show a genuine interest in the things that matter to her/him. Learn your partner’s love language and speak it.
Focusing on your partner’s needs with genuine interest will send a message that they matter. A pattern of doing this likely get his/her attention. Don’t expect it to happen right away.
5. Be consistent with your words and actions
This sets apart the “gamechangers” from the “gametalkers”. Some talk a good game, but don’t back it up. Others finally get it and change from the heart. They are serious and want to preserve the relationship they cherish. They back up their words with action. This is done every day. Over time it becomes apparent their love is genuine.
If you want to save a failing relationship you have to be willing to change your heart. Also, be prepared to work hard. This is not for the faint of heart. If you hurt your mate and damaged trust, it will take time and consistency to build it back. If you truly love this person then you can do it!
Featured photo credit: Dollar Photo via dollarphotoclub.com