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How to Fix a Dying Relationship

by Stacey Elkins, studioD

No one wants to find themselves in a dying relationship. If you don't appreciate your partner, communicate effectively and enjoy spending time together, it can be easy to let your relationship fall to the wayside. Fixing a relationship that is failing is not easy, but can be done with the commitment of both partners and a positive outlook.

Learn to Control Your Fear

Fear is an emotion that is unpleasant and that people try to avoid. Frequently our fear pops back up in a committed relationship, punishing us for trying to banish it, says Danielle B. Grossman, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of "Don't Let Fear Destroy Your Relationship" on PsychCentral. For example, your girlfriend may have a fear that you will cheat on her, ultimately leaving her. She tries to push this fear into the back of her head, until the fear is built up so high, she can no longer control it. She may behave irrationally, accusing you of cheating, questioning where you were, who you were with or who you were talking to on the phone. These types of interactions create problems between you and your girlfriend. It is important to be able to recognize what the underlying fear is, be able to share your fear with your partner and focus on the fear at hand. If you can contain the fear within a boundary, it can lead to a relationship built on love, rather than fear, and can differentiate between a relationship that is striving and one that is dying, says Grossman.

Change Negative Communication Patterns

In a dying relationship, the pattern of communication, including the tone of your voice, generally has become one that is negative. Negative communication can lead to feelings of being ignored, depression, insecurity and wanting to withdraw from talking, says Donna M. White, a practicing clinician and author of "7 Reasons to Seek Marriage Counseling" on PsychCentral. Learn to communicate with your partner in a positive manner again. Show an interest in your partner and listen without interruption. The ability to listen is one of the most crucial aspects of successful communication, says HelpGuide.org in "Effective Communication." Discuss issues on a deeper level, such as your dream to live near the ocean or your hope to impact your community.

Make Each Other Feel Special

In a relationship that is dying, it can be easy to take one another for granted. It's important that couples take the time to acknowledge and validate one another, says Terri Orbuch, a social psychologist and quoted in "The Top Five Things That Make or Break a Relationship" on GoodTherapy.org. Remember the little things you used to do at the beginning of your relationship to make your partner feel important, loved and special. For example, you may have left a short note telling your partner that you loved him or that you couldn't wait to see him that night. You may have made him his favorite meal following a job promotion.

Find the Positive in Each Other

Find the positive qualities that you found endearing in your significant other in the beginning of your relationship. For example, you may have liked her sense of humor, her practicality or the way she took hher time to come to an important decision. The qualities that you found alluring in your partner are still present, but you may be overlooking them and focusing on the negative parts of your relationship, according to Linda and Charlie Bloom, both relationship counselors and authors of "Four Tips for Dealing With Marital Boredom" on PsychCentral. Take the time to discover the positive qualities in your partner again. It might help to make a list and review it periodically. Tell your partner what it is that you like and appreciate about her. You will most likely find that your words of acknowledgement seem to change the way your significant other acts, or at a minimum, change the way you see and feel about him, say Linda and Charlie Bloom.

About the Author

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.

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