London, Europe Brief News – Your relationship may be toxic if it is characterized by behaviors that make you feel unhappy, including disrespect, dishonesty, controlling behaviors, or a lack of support.
According to Manly, repairing a toxic relationship will take time, patience, and diligence.
This is especially the case, Manly adds, “given that most toxic relationships often occur as a result of longstanding issues in the current relationship or as a result of unaddressed issues from prior relationships.”
These steps can help you turn things around.
Don’t dwell on the past
Sure, part of repairing the relationship will likely involve addressing past events. But this shouldn’t be the sole focus of your relationship moving forward.
Resist the temptation to constantly refer back to negative scenarios, since this can leave both of you tense, frustrated, and basically right back where you started.
View your partner with compassion
When you find yourself wanting to blame your partner for all the problems in the relationship, try taking a step back and looking at the potential motivators behind their behavior, Caraballo says.
Have they recently gone through a hard time at work? Had some family drama weighing heavily on their mind?
These challenges don’t excuse bad behavior, but they can help you come to a better understanding of where it comes from.
Considering your own contributions, too. Do you tend to withdraw when upset, instead of sharing your concerns? Do you criticize your partner if they don’t do chores the way you prefer? These habits could also play a part.
An openness to therapy can be a good sign that mending the relationship is possible. In order to help the relationship move forward, though, you’ll actually need to reach out to schedule that first appointment.
While couples counseling is a good starting point, individual therapy can be a helpful addition, Manly says. Individual therapy offers a safe space to explore attachment issues and other factors that might contribute to relationship concerns. It also helps you get more insight on toxic behaviors versus abusive ones.
Regardless of whether you decide to try therapy, look for other support opportunities.
Support might involve talking to a close friend or trusted mentor, for example. Other options could include joining a local support group for couples or partners dealing with specific issues in their relationship, such as infidelity or substance use.
Practice healthy communication
Pay close attention to how you talk to each other as you mend things. Be gentle with each other, and try to avoid sarcasm and even mild jabs.
Also focus on using “I” statements, especially when talking about relationship issues.
For example, instead of saying “You don’t listen to what I’m saying,” you could say “I feel hurt when you take out your phone while I’m talking because it gives me the impression that what I say doesn’t matter.”
“Both partners must acknowledge their part in fostering the toxicity,” Lawsin emphasizes.
This means identifying and taking responsibility for your own actions in the relationship. It also means committing to staying present and engaged during difficult conversations, instead of avoiding those discussions or mentally checking out.
It’s important for each of you to individually determine what you need from the relationship and where your boundaries lie, Lawsin advises.
Even if you feel like you already know your needs and boundaries, it’s worth revisiting them and then sharing them with your partner.
Talking through boundaries is a good first step. Remember, though, that boundaries are flexible, so it’s important to keep discussing them as they change over time
The process of rebuilding a damaged relationship offers a good opportunity to reevaluate how you feel about certain elements of the relationship, from communication needs to physical intimacy.
Hold space for the other’s change
Remember, things won’t change overnight. Over the coming months, work together on being flexible and patient with each other as you grow.