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How To Fix A Relationship: 7 Ways To Help Make It Better

How to rescue a struggling relationship

What is Therapy? 21st Jan, 2022

If you find yourself having to fix a relationship, you may feel like the easiest route is a way out. But before you pull the plug it’s important to realise that even the strongest relationships face challenges.

It’s not always easy to fix a relationship, especially a strained relationship, as like most good things it takes work.

image of a heart shape hands

As Clinical Psychologist Carl Jung said “We cannot change anything until we accept it.” So if you are here in the first place then you have already made the first and most important step.

Here are a set of options to help save things or to make things better again but remember just because you get things back on track, the job doesn’t end there.

Getting Around

How To Fix A Relationship

1. Face and Embrace Your Differences

It’s a common story told of that one couple everyone envied for never fighting, who, all of a sudden, announce they were unable to fix a struggling relationship and they’re splitting up.

It is much more common than most people realise as it is essentially the silent killer: the outside is polished and seemingly blemish-free, but the inside is full of resentment, sadness, fear, hurt and anger.

This inability of the couple to share these feelings, creates a false sense of security and an outside facade that is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

If you and your partner have a relationship based on complete honesty, sharing and openness, then you’re probably also not facing any issues of a lack of love and intimacy.

Step one done and dusted, and perhaps the only step you need is to correct your issues and naturally learn how to fix a relationship.

This can be seen as the simplest how to fix a strained relationship but beware… One, you might not always like what you find when you discover the truth and second being able to expose yourself completely is easier said than done. In other words this is a fast fix but it certainly is not an easy one.

image of a couple holding each other in sunset

2. Fixing a Relationship When Times are Tough

Long Distance Relationships:


Australia’s hard border closure was swift, uncompromising and two way. Non-Australian citizens wishing to apply for a visa on compassionate grounds must prove their relationship status.

In the case of a gay male couple, they rarely have joint bank accounts, have both names on a lease or, in the case where one is not out of the closet, no public happy couple type photographs on Facebook (if at all)

The nuance is beyond the comprehension of the public service and something incredibly difficult to portray or share to someone you don’t even know.

If you do find yourself in this situation however, there are some handy hints on how to keep the relationship alive and deal with the loneliness.

This is one example of many, no matter what is keeping you apart even its usually some form of circumstance.

1. Communication is the absolute key:


Depending on your personal situation, communicating daily is imporatnt to fix a toxic relationship. This doesn’t need to be an extra-long telephone conversation or constant texting or chatting on WhatsApp, but it does need to be regular and somewhat substantive.

Share what you have been doing, what’s coming up for the day, and any special event you may be going to have in the following few days. Essentially try to live the life you had but with words and pictures instead of action.

2. Share lots of pictures:


This allows your other half to see what you are doing, have been doing, and basically living vicariously through you, and you through them. A good series of interesting pictures also sparks conversation.

It is particularly important to take pictures if you go out. Transparency prevents jealousy. The mind plays some rather terrible games when trust is all you have between you.

3. Set guidelines and be honest with each other:


If you feel its unfair to think that either of you will remain faithful over too long a period of separation then say it. This does not change the love between you, it is simply feeding your basic primal urges.

This doesn’t just have to be about sex, its about anything that is imporatnt to you.

Suffering in silence will only lead to resentment. It is up to you how you wish to handle it, but once you have discussed and agreed to a set of rules, stick to them. Also, be willing to change these rules at any time, should either of you feel uncomfortable.

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After a Fight:

It may feel almost impossible to pick up the pieces after a big fight, but there some simple techniques you can try. This includes the how to fix your relationship after trust is broken.

You are fighting for a reason and somewhere along the lines it can be something small like being late for a date or simply being unfaithful.

How to fix a relationship after a big flight is no easy subject though as some relationships make fighting so regular that it would feel strange without it.

Be wary though of normalising this sort of behavior or just saying that its due to passion, yes the heat can help keep things exciting but too much and you can be left with something truly toxic.

1. Be prepared to step away and let things calm down:


When you are in a shouting match you are probably going to say things you don’t really mean because its not about your relationship is just about being right. The urge to win or do damage is greater than the urge to make things better.

Don’t think a tactical retreat is the same thing as a loss. Once tempers have calmed down, it’s important to make sure you both have a chance to get your points across. Try to give each person space to communicate their point of view and calmly dicuss what is really going on.

2. Say what is in your heart:


Too many arguments are about things we don’t really care about as we are just pulled along for the ride. In order for you partner to truly hear you, it’s important to communicate what you’re really feeling below all the tension.

Your honesty might surprise them and allow them to open up as well. What we say at our loudest is usally only a peak of the iceberg of what we might whisper in our hearts.

3. Make sure to listen:


If you catch yourself forming a rebuttal in your head as your significant other is talking, you’re not really listening. This doesn’t mean you don’t stand up for yourself, and just let everything of what they say wash over you.

It means that you are actively thinking about not just what they are saying but WHY they are saying it. The last thing they will expect you to do is ask questions. Most importantly “What is really going on?”

4. Keep things fresh:


When making piece after the argument don’t think about trying to pick up the pieces instead consider it a new one. This is your opportunity to learn from what happened, really think about why it did, come to compromises and agreements and start again fresh.

image of a man in suit for wedding

When You’re Living Together:

No matter how you carve it up, going through a rough patch when you live together is stressful. You have nowhere to go and its not like its easy to escape for some space.

If you are looking to fix a relationship it is going to depend on each situation but as a general rule the following will help.

1. Make good communication a habit:


Just because you live together doesn’t mean you are suddenly communcation experts. There are many couples who live together but end up more like housemates or even strangers under the same roof.

Set up a specific time each week that allows you both to talk about more difficult topics, such as money, sex, and trust so that these don’t become a natural part of your everyday interactions.

Or they become stumbling blocks where you feel scared to broach the topic incase the answer isn’t the one you are looking for.

Remember even if you are told “no”, relationships are a compromise and constant negotiation where you are both looking to get what you want.

Prepare to disucss what really matters to you and when it comes down to it either they compromise towards you or you do towards yourself. But like any good negotiation if it really is below your bottom line don’t be afraid to walk away.

2. Compromise:


All relationships require give and take. When you’re living in close quarters, it takes less to annoy the other or get on their nerves.

By being accommodating of the other person’s needs and preferences without sacrificing your own can help foster more happiness and fulfilment.

The small things really add up, but there is nothing wrong with making these efforts known rather than just hoping they get it and appreciate it. We are all very quick to get used and come to expect what we are given.

3. Friends Friends Friends:


Spending time with friends can have a powerful effect on your personal mental health and can help strengthen your personal identity. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean that the entire world no longer exists outside of them.

Remember, staying connected to your partner means having a life outside of your relationship, which will again help to fix your relationship as you both get some space and perspective.

Persepctive doesn’t just mean you ask for your friends advice, it means you have the distance you need to make your own mind up. This is ont of the best steps in a relationship, seeing the bigger picture.

Not only is indepedance sexy but many find too much dependance on themselves something of a turn off. Stay true to yourself, and don’t be afriad to make your partner upset by wanting to do other things and importantly with other people.

Chances are you spend almost every moment with your partner, they can give you some time for others.

4. Be physical:


Many professionals encourage couples to regularly hug each other in a fully present and connected way, which may help fix a broken relationship.

As you become more distant you might have noticed not being as intimate as you once were, well it’s time to turn that around.

Maybe try a massage, it can do wonders for intimacy and feeling of connection.

Holding hands or hugging releases oxytocin which can reduce stress and boost your mood. If you’re not on great terms right now, this might be easier said than done. Try starting slowly by simply putting your hand on theirs. This can help to show that you still care and is the small first step towards a brighter relationship.

5. Try to Connect:


Deep-level intimacy is about creating a satisfying and meaningful relationship that isn’t always based on romantic expression. They say the eyes are the window to the soul, well then get looking!

Even when you are having a joke or simply talking keep that eye engagment. We are not looking for silence of the lambs treatment here but sincerity.

Then try to have moments when you are just being you, and see how that goes down with your partner. Eventually you will gain more confidence to give yourself to the other person, to trust and then be trusted with.

image of a lesbian couple lying down together

3. Practice Effective Communication Skills

1. Make regular time for an honest chat about concerns you may have:


State your thoughts in terms of behaviour, without judgment, attack, or blame. Be specific, constructive, and positive.

2. Use “I” statements to convey your thoughts and feelings:


Own your part of the problem. Tell your partner how his or her behaviour affects you and why. For example:

“When you left for work without saying goodbye, I worried you might be angry with me.”

3. Truly hear your partner’s story:


Everyone’s perception is valid, whether or not you agree with it. Listen without interrupting or judging. Be curious about your partner’s point of view. For example:

“Help me understand what you mean by …”

4. Paraphrase the thoughts of your other half:


Affirming that you heard him or her does not mean you agree or disagree. It just means,

“I understand and believe that’s the way you see it.”

5. Empathise with the feelings of your partner:


Feelings are never right or wrong; they’re just feelings. And all of them are genuine. Expressing empathy validates that you heard your partner’s feelings without judgment. For example:

“I understand that’s how it makes you feel.”

6. Wait for your turn:


Once your partner feels heard, share your story and ask your partner to validate and empathise with your thoughts and feelings.

When people truly feel heard and validated, whether or not they agree, it’s like magic. They automatically feel better. Only then can people problem solve and come to consensus on solutions.

7. Work as a team to resolve the problem:


After each partner has had an opportunity to be heard, it is much easier to be rational and work toward solutions. Identify specific actions each person can take to fix his or her portion of the problem.

image of a couple holding hands

4. Exchange Love Lists

Make a list of responses to: “I feel loved when you …” Anything goes – “give me flowers”, “plan a weekend away,” “bring home my favourite candy bar,” “initiate sex.”

Giving love the way your partner enjoys receiving it is the greatest gift of all. Receiving love the way you enjoy it isn’t bad, either.

Don’t be afraid to be the initiator here. Get used to sharing what is in your heart and what you like about them. If you got into a relationship with them chances are its because you actually like something about them. Whatever that is – just tell them.

By focusing on the good stuff we move away from the bad. This doesn’t mean that we just fotget about what is making things difficult, especially if things are toxic, it simplly means that we bring some good back into what you have.

A relationship is supposed to be fun and rewarding. The kicker is that “fun” and that “rewarding” comes from you and them so start dishing it out again and you will most likely get it back too.

image of word want on a wall

5. Make Loving Your Partner a Habit:

Now, I’m not necessarily referring to sex here (although that’s not such a bad suggestion either) although whatever is regular for you sex is very often part of the keys to fix a relationship.

On holidays, we express our love with gifts and affection. On the other days, we often forget.

Consciously doing small acts of love every day creates “love habits”—loving behaviours that become habitual. It’s like small steps that add up to fix things before its too late.

Practicing love habits grows connection and intimacy. It’s as simple as greeting each other after work every day with a kiss on the lips and a long hug.

Establishing a regular date night, going to bed together, and planning regular sex dates. When you show your love, you will feel your love, and you’ll move further away from having to fix a relationship.

image of two hands reaching out

6. Say Thank You For the Unexpected and the Regular Equally

Most people thank their partner when he or she does something special. What if you thanked her for cooking a meal, or her for mowing the lawn? But wait. “Why should I thank my partner for the routine chores?”

The answer: “Because it feels good.” Every drop of love you express nurtures and feeds the relationship.

Practicing these five steps will grow your love and connection. Start today. Share this article with your partner and ensure that your relationship lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t happen by accident.

image of two people talking

7. When Should Therapy Be Considered To Help Fix a Relationship

Creating a happy marriage or relationship is one of the most important life goals for any human being. As a result, people understand that therapy is a great way to consolidate relationships from the very start.

In fact, couples that join therapy even before marrying have a higher success rate than those who do not. 

Couples’ therapy is becoming a widely used tool in couples’ dynamics. Many couples have grown accustomed to going to couples therapy weekly after they’re married.

Every story has three aspects: yours, theirs, and the truth. When couples cannot communicate effectively, a third party may very well be the answer. Rather than seeing treatment as a solution to a crisis, view it as an integral part of a healthy life.

Each couple must take precautions to keep the relationship healthy in order to be able to fix a relationship when needed.

If couples do not work hard to improve their relationship and emotional flexibility, this strain can accumliate sometimes without noticing it until the point of rupture. 

Therapy is the perfect place to talk about sensitive topics. Just as people fall into a negative relationship cycle, couples often fall into a negative sexual cycle. When their sex life is worth having, they will have more.

Couples therapy is there to explore what exact blocks exist and tries to help create a balance between them. You might see this in communication when simply talking to each other is not enough because you are not saying what you really mean.

There is communication, and then there is effective communication. Both parties need to feel heard, comforted, respected and cared for.

It is fundamental to analyse old communication patterns and replace them with more effective habits and therapy is a great place to do this.

Couples therapy doesn’t have to be the final solution but if you find that things are not getting any better no matter what you do then going to a professional can and often will help.

It’s important not to see couples therapy as a dirty word, it doesn’t mean you failed. It is simply another tool that you can use to make things better again.

image of man on edge of sofa

Bottom Line

Always Aim To Have a Happy and Healthy Relationship: 

Every relationship is different. Every issue seemingly unique. We hope however that we have shown you that the solution is not always in the office of a therapist (but it sometimes might be and there is nothing wrong with that.)

There are some very simple ‘guidelines’ every member of every couple are able to follow to make life a little easier:

  • Be kind to one another.
  • Be honest with each other.
  • Really want your relationship to survive and thrive.
  • Always be willing and be proactive to fix a relationship before rigor mortis sets in.

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