How to Fix a Broken Relationship

by Shelley Frost ; Updated March 15, 2018

Getting closer and finding mutually enjoyable activities helps fix broken relationships.

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Figuring out how to fix your broken relationship can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Is the relationship too far gone? The good news is that if you're committed to fixing a broken relationship, you can improve the situation and eventually reach a positive place.

Figure Out Why Your Relationship Is Broken

Before you can fix something, you need to know what's wrong with it. You know things aren't working well right now, so take time to figure out what happened. Sometimes, it's a lot of little things that add up, or you just feel as if you've drifted apart over the years. You might stop communicating, or you ignore one another because you get so caught up in your everyday responsibilities. Other times, there's something major that damages the relationship such as infidelity. Couples who face a crisis or tragedy sometimes push one another away instead of supporting one another through the difficult situation.

Pinpointing the cause or causes of your relationship strain gives you a starting point for repairing the damage. If communication is your issue, focus your attention on listening and sharing with your partner. If you stopped being intimate, work on touching more by doing the little things like holding hands or hugging before you leave in the morning.

When figuring out what caused the damage, don't focus on what the other person did to you. Playing the victim doesn't help repair the relationship. Look at both parties instead of just how your partner messed up.

Listen to Your Partner

Communication is a crucial part of repairing a broken relationship, no matter what caused you to grow apart. So often, people pretend as if they're listening, but they're really just waiting for the other person to stop talking. They then immediately launch into defense mode or argue with what their partner just said.

Instead of doing this, commit yourself to truly listening to what your partner is saying. Don't interrupt, and don't work on your response while your partner is still talking. You may need to dig a little deeper to understand what your partner is saying. If you're not sure, ask questions to clarify.

The other part of communication is sharing your honest feelings when it's your turn instead of burying your feelings or withholding your thoughts. Your partner can't work toward improving the relationship if you don't provide any insight into what's happening. When you express your thoughts, focus on sharing how you feel instead of pointing fingers at your partner or making everything his fault. You can say, “I feel lonely because we don't spend as much time together as we once did.” This is easier for your partner to accept than your saying, “You're never around. You're always out partying with your friends. You never have time for me.” The second example puts all the blame on your partner and puts him on the defense.

Remember: It's often not what you say, but the the way you present it. If you're angry or accusatory, the other person naturally gets defensive or withdraws from the conversation.

Soften Your Heart

Resentment and anger can easily build up in a broken relationship. It's not easy to let those past feelings go, but it's also difficult to move forward with the weight of that negativity holding you back. When interacting with your partner, work on easing those emotions and letting down the walls you've built to protect yourself. Let yourself feel the emotions that come to you naturally instead of pushing them away and holding on to the hurt.

Recall What You Love About Your Partner

Once your relationship is broken, it's natural to fixate on the actions that caused the damage. Perhaps your partner wasn't there for you when you went through something difficult, or your partner has been unfaithful. Instead of replaying those wrongs, let yourself go back to the early days in your relationship. Remember what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place.

Commit Yourself to Making Changes

You can't repair the damage if both partners aren't committed to making changes. Your relationship can't continue the way it's going now. You both need to commit to staying together with actions to back up that commitment. That might mean spending less time out with friends and more time together. You might need to be more transparent in your actions to help build trust. Perhaps you just need to make more effort at home by helping out more or showing your partner that you still care. Making those first moves may encourage your partner to try harder, too.

Find Support

Getting support and encouragement from those around you can help as you work to repair the relationship. Find a counselor to help you work through your issues as a couple. Marriage counseling is helpful at all stages of marriage, even if you aren't having difficulty, so you don't have to stop attending when things start improving. That continued support can prevent you from falling into old habits that caused the relationship damage.

You can also find support in your daily life. Spend time with friends and family members who support your efforts to fix your relationship. If someone is negative about your relationship or encourages you to stop trying, you may need to distance yourself from that person for now. You might find like-minded people in a support group, church or other community organizations who have been through your situation. Look to those people for support.

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.