Often in my office I have couples who have come in when they have reached a breaking point. Perhaps they have been fighting non-stop and can’t seem to find a resolution. Or maybe they have reached a point where the fighting has stopped and they just don’t speak. Either way, by the time they come into my office their relationship is hanging on by a thread.
This is an incredibly trying time for any relationship. Both individuals are typically highly stressed and can feel both hopeless and desperate at the same time. I would like to offer a solution that will make this better but truthfully I think one of the most important things you can do at this time is get in to see a therapist. We can get so locked in the same pattern that it can be incredibly difficult to find our way out on our own. One thing I do think is important in the meantime, however, is to discuss with your partner what you are both looking for from the relationship. For starters, it is important to know if you both actually want to work on your relationship or if one of you (or both of you) would rather it end. If you come in without a clear understanding of where you want to go then lots of time can be spent trying to get you both on the same page.
Next, I think it is important that you take time to look at yourself and that you risk being vulnerable. When in conflict it becomes so easy to point your finger at the other person – what he needs to change or what she needs to do differently – and much more challenging to look at yourself and what you can do to improve the state of your relationship. Instead of pointing fingers, take control of yourself and what you can do to improve the state of your relationship. If you don’t take yourself seriously and make the changes you want to make on yourself so that you can be the best partner possible, you won’t make the movement you want to make in your relationship.
All change requires vulnerability. In my experience, relationship improvement (and ultimately satisfaction) comes from when we risk being vulnerable. What is more vulnerable than being the one to risk changing first, showing up first, doing our own work first, even without the guarantee of how our partner will respond. So if you are stuck in a dark place in your relationship, seek the support of a therapist who can help guide you both back to each other. In the meantime, try to determine what you are both looking for from the relationship and spend some time taking a hard look at yourself and what you can take responsibility for.