Even if you agree with Taylor Swift on “never ever getting back together,” you may also realize that it is not always possible to leave a relationship behind for good. If your marriage is broken and you have children together, there is seldom a full escape from that spouse — even if you divorce. The broken association could also be with a parent, child, sibling, co-worker or long-time friend. Sometimes we get hurt and sometimes we hurt others, but we can’t always escape the people who hurt us. What do we do when we know we can’t leave a relationship, but we do not see how it can be repaired? Here are a few tips that will help in the rebuilding process.
1. Stop focusing on the negative and look for the positive
This goes for both you and the person you are struggling with. When you focus on the negative aspects of others, it is easy to hold anger toward them. But remember, none of us is perfect; we all make mistakes. It can be harder to focus on the good traits of a person, but it is well worth the effort.
2. Don’t expect them to change
It is never good to start thinking something along the lines of, “Our relationship would be much better if they would just … ” Expecting someone else to change is like expecting the weather to be exactly how you think it should be every day. We can not control some things, and need to accept that.
3. Set boundaries for yourself
It is crucial that you realize that you can only change yourself, but you are worth protecting. Set boundaries for yourself. Walk away for a while to cool off and collect your thoughts. Distance yourself emotionally when it becomes too much, and slowly work back into the relationship when you can handle it.
Serving the person you are having issues with is ideal, but any kind of service will make you feel better. We love those we serve. Sometimes service has to come in order for love to return.
5. Ask for help
Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Pray and/or talk to a counselor. If you are struggling, a third party who is not involved with the situation can really be of help. They can see things you might have missed because your emotions were clouded with hurt.
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It is so important to forgive ourselves and others. When you do, you release a burden off of your shoulders. As the book by M. L. Stedman, “The Light Between Oceans” says, “You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.”
Do not expect an instant bounce back in your relationship. It takes time and there are a lot of ups and downs. Try to focus on the ups, and work through the downs with patience. Pushing or expecting things to be better too soon can be very damaging. Give the other person time to work through the situation also.
8. Realize that relationships change, and embrace it
Sometimes we want to get a relationship back to where it was before. People don’t go back. We are constantly changing, and hopefully improving. Move forward with the way your relationship is now and be happy that you were able to overcome the feeling of brokenness.
Relationships are hard, but being able to work through the hurt and disappointment shows real maturity and strength of character. Joyfuldays.com states, “The one thing most studies on happiness agree on is this: Family and relationships are the surest way to happiness.” That does not mean we will be happy with all of our relationships all of the time. We need to work on them. Following the eight tips above will help lead to better relationships and happier lives.
*Side note: If you are in a harmful and dangerous relationship that is destructive to you and the people closest to you, please get help and leave. Your safety and well-being is very important. Work on healing the relationship of love you have for yourself by following the steps listed above.