You don’t want to break up, but you can’t live with things the way they are. These tips on how to solve relationship problems without breaking up will help you see your partner in a different light.
In I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better, Gary Lundberg and Joy Lundberg describe how to free yourself from feeling like you have to solve your relationship problems and avoid a breakup. They address an all too common dilemma that arises when partners or spouses expect you to solve their problems for them. They reveal how to shake off the role of “fixer” – this is a wonderful guide for anyone who wishes to improve relationships with their partner, children, colleagues and friends.
When you want to stop worrying about your relationship problems without breaking up, you need to consider whether or not you and your partner are a good fit. Here’s a wonderful passage on relationships and the idea of “soul mates”:
“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.” – Lisa Kleypas, in Blue Eyed Devil.
Is your partner exactly right for you? There will always be problems in your relationship, because we’re human. We bring baggage, righteous emotions, ideas, thoughts, habits, personalities – all sorts of things into our relationships.
How to Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up
No article can tell you how to fix your specific relationship problems, no matter how insightful or experienced the writer is! In this article, I ask you several questions about your relationship. The only one who can figure out how to solve your relationship problems is you.
Learn about “the dance”
My husband and I went to a marriage evening at our church, and the counsellor described “the dance” to us. It’s a negative pattern of interacting that many couples fall into. Both partners get stuck, and neither recognizes this dance is happening. The beauty of the dance is that once you recognize it, you can solve relationship problems without breaking up! The downside to the dance is that it takes two to tango. That is, both partners are part of the problem and both partners are part of the solution. If your partner isn’t willing to be part of the solution, you need to decide if you can solve the problems on your own. This is not a good place to be.
Are your relationship problems “solvable”?
Sometimes there isn’t a solution to the problem. For instance, if your husband has a toxic ex-wife who is causing marriage problems, there may be nothing you can do to fix it. If your partner sees nothing wrong and doesn’t want to change, then all the tips on how to solve relationship problems without breaking up won’t help! You can’t change him. There will always be problems, but there aren’t always solutions.
Ask if you can live with your partner the way he is right now
You know how hard it is to change yourself – your habits, thoughts, patterns of behaving, ways of seeing the world. Changing another person is much more difficult than that! One way to solve relationship problems is to simply accept your partner for who and what he is.
Be honest – how bad are your relationship problems?
Sometimes we choose to live with annoying issues because we love our partners. That’s actually a sign of most or even all healthy relationships, because there will always be something irritating about our partners!
Other times, the relationship problems are caused by something serious (eg, a mental health issue or addiction) that leads to emotional or physical abuse. I don’t have tips on how to solve relationship problems without breaking up in those cases, because I believe that separation is the answer. Especially if children are involved.
If you know you can’t solve your relationship problems because he is emotionally or physically violent, read How to Leave an Abusive Relationship.
How can you solve problems in your relationship?
Here are a few steps to take:
- Learn about the negative dance patterns in relationships.
- Consider talking to a counsellor about your relationship problems.
- Assess your life and relationship goals in light of what your partner wants for his life.
- Be honest with yourself: is this the right person for you?
What do you think of these tips on how to solve relationship problems without breaking up? I welcome your comments and stories below.
If you need help sorting through your emotions, read 5 Best Ways to Get Good Relationship Advice.