today is Aug 08, 2022

Successful relationships take determination, sacrifice, compromise, and commitment. Add to that a healthy dose of authentic relationship, a loading scoop of enthusiasm, and regular sprinkles of laughter and enjoyable, and you've got a winning recipe.

When severe problems come up, or a crisis unexpectedly strikes you like a heap of bricks and interferes with the harmony you once knew, you can quickly discover yourself pressed to the verge of despair. The thought of losing your relationship can be gut-wrenching and even frightening.

If you've been in a committed relationship for any length of time, chances are you know exactly what I'm talking about. Even though you're part of a couple, you might feel you are all alone in your mission to save your relationship, particularly if your partner is stubborn and has either "checked out" emotionally or declines to satisfy you at least halfway in order to overcome your relationship issues.

If that's the case, then both the good and bad news is that it's all up to you. "How is that good news?" you ask. Well, it's good news since you have more power than you realize to favorably affect your relationship, and since you're already taken that vital initial step towards getting it back on track. 

When you alter, your relationship must alter in some way too, because for every single action, there must be a reaction. Any change you make in yourself will force the dynamics of your relationship to change. So the secret to saving your relationship is finding out the best actions to take to alter yourself to then make sure the best chance of a good result for your relationship.

Relationship Problems Always Involve Both Parties

While you might be lured to blame your partner for the problems in your relationship, the truth is that you contributed to those problems. You might not have meant to, and you might have done so without realizing it, however your partner didn't create the conflict all by himself.

For instance, if you are married and your partner is treating you with disrespect, you need to think about why that is. Does he deal with everybody with disrespect? Or just you? Maybe he actually is an absolutely egotistical person (which might not bode well for ever having a healthy relationship). If he's not, and this has been a pattern with you, then on some level you are letting him treat you that way.

Dr. Phil has actually described this phenomenon quite well. In a nutshell, he states that "we teach people how to treat us". If you get nothing else out of this article, please at least get this: "You have actually taught your partner how to treat you. Good or bad, kind or unkind, civil or abusive, you've taught your partner how to engage with you."

The beauty of this statement is that it is actually extremely empowering. YOU taught your partner. This indicates you can "un-teach" him too! It might not happen quickly or overnight, however it definitely can happen! 

Now, I didn't guarantee that it will happen-- there are some people who are merely incapable of keeping a healthy relationship, and in those scenarios, you need to decide if it's truly worth staying. You just need to be willing to do the effort. And if you've read this far, I believe that you're all set to dig in and do some heavy lifting! Because to you, he's worth it, right?

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that although it takes two to tango, this does not indicate you are the cause of your partner's bad habits. He has made lots of choices on his own and should take responsibility for them. However if you want to save your relationship, and what you've been doing up until now has not brought the outcomes you desire, then let's try some brand-new techniques.

Keep in mind, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is, well, insane! So it's time to stop the insane habits and start fresh with a brand-new, sane strategy! If you are reading this article in hopes of learning how to fix, cure, makeover, redo, control, manipulate, or otherwise change your partner in ANY way, do yourself a favor and stop now! (Trust me, if I knew this secret to that, I 'd be richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined!).

How to Determine If You Should Stay or Walk Away

 

I had a young woman ask my advice just recently about her relationship. She explained a man who was treating her terribly, hot one minute and cold the next. According to her, they were often fighting and it sounded as if even the smallest things set him off.

He had already broken up with her multiple times, only to change his mind a day or two later and tell her he 'd made a mistake and wanted to see her again. And when he was with her, he'd be fine for a short while and then withdraw, telling her he needed some "alone" time. She said she didn't want to turn her back on him, that she wanted to "do the right thing".

Seriously?

Granted, there was a bit more to the story, however whatever she explained pointed to a rocky, unstable, unhealthy relationship with a man who was either extremely immature or had some really serious problems when it came to relationships.

I asked her, "Based on what you've just described, why do you want to be in this relationship?" The answer (which is not at all uncommon, sadly) was, "Because I truly love him.". To this I responded, "Do you love him, or do you love the person you hope he could be? In other words, do you just love his potential?".

I bring up this story since it raises a crucial question that should be addressed before you go to all the effort of attempting to save your relationship: Is your relationship actually worth saving?

Lots of relationships are, but you need to determine if yours actually is one of them. If what this woman explained was accurate, it sounded like a relationship that rated extremely low on the "worth saving" scale. I would give it a "1" on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being "absolutely, favorably, no doubt about it, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die" worth saving. (Okay, that's a bit dramatic however it gets the point across!).

7 Signs of Bad Relationship that is NOT Worth Saving 

 

The following are a list of situations that are either serious red flags or huge yellow flags in terms of relationships that truly might NOT be worth saving. If any of these describe yours, then you might be better off investing your energy somewhere else, because honestly, as much as it might hurt to end it, staying is likely going to be far more painful in the long run:

1. Your Partner is Cheating on You All the Time.

 

Your partner has cheated on you several times, or is engaged in a continuous affair and refuses to put an end to it. Cheating on your partner is harmful to a relationship no matter how you slice it. While "once a cheater always a cheater" isn't always true, there is no truly good excuse for having an affair. 

Don't get me wrong here. Cheating doesn't have to be an automatic factor to walk away. Lots of couples not only survive an affair, but end up with a stronger relationship than ever. But if your partner has a long history of being unfaithful, and/or doesn't show any real interest in changing, then he is being exceptionally selfish and disrespectful to you. Not only does this damage or ruin any trust you might have had in him, but you might also be putting your physical health at risk if you stay in the relationship and your partner if sleeping around.

2. Your Partner is Abusing You.

 

Abuse doesn't have to be physical violence. It can also involve verbal abuse, psychological abuse, or sexual abuse. Abuse must never be tolerated and, especially when it comes to physical or sexual abuse, it could have a terrible result. Lots of people, especially women, die at the hands of abusive partners every day! Get out now before that becomes you.

If you are tolerating continuous abuse of any kind, then I highly suggest you seek professional help (in addition to leaving and finding a safe place, even if it means a shelter if the abuse is violent) and learn why you have been tolerating it. Clearly, if you continue to let it happen, the message you give your partner is that you deserve such treatment and don't deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

3. You Are in a Relationship with an Addict.

 

Whether it's alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, or pornography, addictive behavior is extremely harmful to any relationship. The bottom line is this-- you will never be a priority to someone with an addiction. The things of their addiction is their real "partner", and up until they get help, it's highly unlikely that will ever change.

4. Your Partner Lies All the Time.

 

Trust and honesty are crucial to a healthy, happy relationship, and they merely can not exist if you are involved with somebody who often lies.

5. Your Partner Often Treats You with Disrespect or Has No Regard for Your Feelings or Input.

 

Mutual respect is vital for a healthy relationship. If you stay, you will likely wind up with an extremely damaged self-esteem and a lot of bitterness and anger. No matter how much you might love your partner, you are not being loved in return in this scenario.

6. Your Partner Has a Pattern of Being Careless.

 

His behavior might have major effects for your relationship, and it might never be satisfying or happy as an outcome.

7. There is Constant Fighting.

 

All couples fight on occasion. That's normal. However constant fighting is not, and it's also damaging and extremely stressful. And if there are kids in the picture, it is very destructive to their psychological wellness too. While.couples therapy might help, this might be a relationship that will never work.

If any of these 7 circumstances above describe you, you need to think long and hard about the cost of trying to save your relationship. No matter how much you love your partner, these kinds of circumstances typically don't have a good prognosis. With a serious commitment to appropriate treatment and/or professional help, there might be a future. However the chances are not in your favor, and the cost you pay in the meantime might be serious.

That being said, if your relationship, troubled as it is, doesn't fit any of these circumstances,  and if your partner is reasonably emotionally healthy and stable (and you are as well), then keep on reading for the actions you can take to save your relationship (even if your partner is ridiculously stubborn!).

How to Deal with a Stubborn Partner

 

Among the factors you are searching for ways to save your relationship might be because you are dealing with an extremely stubborn partner. Granted, we all can be stubborn sometimes-- after all, it's human nature to want to hold on to and protect the things (whether values, ideas, notions, and so on) to which we have a strong emotional attachment. And it's that attachment (and often the fear of losing it) that is at the core of stubborn behavior.

Being married to or living with a stubborn person can actually challenge your patience. This is particularly true should conflict arise. No doubt you frequently feel like hitting your head against a brick wall or tearing your hair out. Your partner is probably an expert at unwavering (and extremely irritating!) resistance when you want something from him, whether it's to think about a different point of view or to do something for you.

And if the thing you really want him to do is change, heaven help you !!

But do not surrender just yet. There are effective methods to handle a stubborn partner. It doesn't have to turn into such a power struggle that you finally give up or give in. In fact, those two methods will only serve to strengthen your partner's stubbornness.

Instead, you must change your method.

And here are some ideas to help you do that:

Avoid Power Struggles at All Costs. You won't win, and you will end up exhausted, irritated, and infuriated. It's not worth the stress. Remember the old saying in this circumstance: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em". Okay, it fits only loosely but the fundamental principle is still the same.

You need to find something to agree on or some common ground. This is not easy to do when your partner's stubbornness makes you want to push him to talk or defend your stance more than ever. When you feel that urge, it's time to stop, back up, and take a deep breath.

Instead of Becoming More Polarized, Try to Understand Your Partner's Perspective. It probably does have at least some validity to it. Discover any points (no matter how miniscule on which you both concur, and acknowledge them. This will likely help your partner understand that this doesn't have to be a battle. And as a result, he might relax a bit and be more open to dealing with you instead of withstanding.

Talk Honestly About How You Feel. Your partner can't read your mind, and he might be tuning you out or withstanding your demands because what you actually want is unclear to him. Learn to verbalize your feelings in "I" statements. For instance, instead of getting angry at him for continuously leaving his dirty clothes scattered all over the bedroom when he gets ready for bed, say something like, "I feel disrespected and unappreciated when you do that.

I'm tired at the end of the day and would be so very grateful if you would help lighten my load and put your clothes in the laundry basket instead of leaving them on the floor." Make sure to say it calmly and gently, without begging or pleading.

Since he was anticipating an attack, this technique will likely disarm him. Don't repeat yourself, or you will defeat any progress you just made. Sit back and listen to his reaction. If he remains quiet, ask him to share his thoughts so you can better understand him.

Never Attack or Blame. This will only reinforce his stubborn attitude.

Provide him some space after you've let him know how you feel. Sometimes it takes a little time to sink in, or Perhaps he doesn't instantly have a response. Patience is very important, as impatience only fuels the stubbornness. 

When he does respond, ask questions to get clarification and to show that you value his thoughts and feelings, and genuinely want to understand where he is coming from. Listen! Don't interrupt.

Don't be confrontational or antagonistic. Again, you will only reinforce his stubbornness. You must make the interaction feel "safe" (i.e., non-volatile) for him, so he will be more willing to get involved instead of retreating or putting up walls.

Don't Nag-- Ever! It will never get you the real outcomes you desire, because even if your partner finally gives in to your nagging, he will resent you.

After your partner has actually told you his perspective, ask him to listen to yours too-- relationships are give and take. Let him know you would like (actually you deserve it, but if you use that word it will probably backfire on you) him to listen to you too. And proceed calmly!

If all else fails and your stubborn partner is merely not going to bend (or if you are having a hard time following these tips without snapping or disappointed) then think about couples therapy (or therapy for you alone if your stubborn partner won't go with you). A qualified professional can help you see what's not working and help you discover methods to be more effective.  

How to Get Your "Silent" Partner to Open Up

 

Communication issues are often a contributing factor in a troubled relationship. Oftentimes, one partner frantically wants to talk and work things out, but the other is either reluctant or, sometimes, doesn't actually know how. Regrettably, without open communication, it is extremely difficult to get a relationship back on track.

Hollywood has frequently glorified the image of the "strong, silent type" of man, or the "mysterious, alluring woman". Unfortunately, as appealing as they might seem on a movie screen, in reality they are hardly ever ideal relationship partners. I know, because my dad was the strong, silent type. And it drove my mom crazy. Although they stayed together up until the end, their relationship was often filled with silent tension and festering disappointment.

To their credit, in their later years they actually did begin to communicate much better. Maybe it was due to a mellowing that came with age for my dad, combined with my mom nearly dying at one point. For him, that seemed to be a much needed wake-up call.

However instead of waiting for a wake-up call (or until it's far too late altogether), let's talk about some things you can do to increase the likeliness of your partner opening up. In some cases a small change in approach can be the key... and the walls of silence begin to collapse.

First, nevertheless, let's take a quick look at what you might be doing that doesn't work, and in fact might be adding to the circumstance:

Nagging. Nagging is about as effective as throwing gasoline on a fire. It makes things exponentially even worse. If you are nagging your partner in an effort to get him to talk with you, he will resent you. If nagging is your technique, you need to stop it right away}!

Begging and Pleading. These work about as well as nagging-- in other words, not at all! By doing so you demean yourself and lose your partner's regard.

Getting Angry or Upset. If crying, screaming, or throwing tantrums is your style, you're not too likely to get anywhere, and your partner will not appreciate you.

Being Critical or Complaining. Criticizing your partner or complaining that he never talks will only make him more likely to keep his mouth shut, and keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. He might be thinking, "Why bother-- I can't win no matter what I say!"

Pressuring or Making Demands. Again, these just reinforce his resistance.

Interrupting Him When He Does Speak. When you disrupt somebody, you are basically saying, "I don't care to listen to what you're saying, but I insist you hear me because what I'm saying is more important". Is that truly the message you want to send out?

Ultimatums or Threats. Threatening to leave or giving any type of ultimatum will make you look desperate and/or manipulative. It doesn't work. Don't do it! Enough said!

Techniques that Do Really Work:

 

Share Your Feelings Openly and Honestly... and Calmly. Maybe you aren't actually opening up either. Maybe you're so annoyed or afraid that you've been withdrawn or holding back too. Set the example by letting your partner know how much you want to make the relationship work and would really like to know what's going on in his head and his heart.

Don't Push. Impatience will not get you the open conversation you are wishing for. When you are talking to him, allow him lots of time to actually react. It might be that truly opening up is challenging for him and he needs a few minutes (or several minutes) to formulate his thoughts and express himself. He might be attempting to avoid a heated interaction he assumes will happen if he does open up. Don't prove him right on this one!

Select An Appropriate Place and Time to Talk. Don't put your partner on the spot to open up when you have no privacy or when other pressing matters are at hand. If the kids are yelling, or he's hungry or tired, or he needs to go somewhere shortly, a conversation might have to wait until you're both more relaxed and less distracted.

When he finally does open up, be sure to listen thoroughly! If you're not a good listener, why should he open up to you? If you tend to disrupt, over-react, or become critical or defensive, he might simply feel it is not worth the effort. Maybe he doesn't have the energy to handle an awful interaction. It might take him awhile to see that you are genuinely interested which the conversation won't go to hell in a hand basket within the first few minutes.

How to Resolve Conflict Effectively

 

Every relationship has conflict. You just can't put two people together for a prolonged period of time, not to mention several years, and never have any conflict develop. Lots of couples just don't know how to deal with conflict and resolve it successfully when it does occur. Without those skills, your relationship is going to continue being a struggle for both of you.

Unresolved conflict is like a cut on your finger that ends up being contaminated. Even if it starts out very small, it can rapidly end up being extremely painful and cause a lot of distress. Cleaning out the wound might hurt at first, however it is required if the wound is ever going to heal.

Unsettled conflict is extremely damaging and might eventually ruin your relationship. However if you learn to make a few changes in your technique, you will fix conflict in your relationship far more quickly and smoothly.

Remember that if you are fighting, you need to fight fair. Fighting dirty is akin to sucker punching your partner. It's going to make him mad and he might strike back (or withdraw) in reaction. If it's hard for the two of you to talk without it escalating to a fight, set some guidelines to which you both must agree. Then adhere to them! It won't be easy, however it will make a world of distinction in your relationship!

Here are some guidelines to help you (some have actually been discussed previously, however they are worth repeating):

Stay Calm. ALWAYS. This is not going to be easy however is one of the most crucial things you can do when trying to resolve a conflict that is afflicting your relationship. When your partner is hurtful or mad, if you stay calm, you might deactivate him and he will be most likely to pull away. It will also help keep your conversation from intensifying (because it takes two for that to happen!).

Truly listen to what your partner is saying, as well as what he is communicating non-verbally as well. If he is particularly mad, chances are he just actually wants you to hear him. If you haven't done that in the past, now is the time to start. Let him finish before you respond. Truly listening is a method of showing both courtesy and respect. You might have been impatient to react or defensive and responsive-- waiting to jump in edgewise instead of truly paying attention.

Never interrupt or try to talk over your partner. I know I've said this before a couple of times, however I can't stress it enough. This is an excellent way to infuriate him, as it is extremely disrespectful and clearly conveys the message you think your words are more important than his. Also, it is very impolite behavior.

Don't dredge up past hurts or wrongs. Leave the past in the past. Bringing it up again is never productive and will only broaden the rift between you. It also gives the impression that you are keeping score. And it will almost undoubtedly put your partner on the defensive.

Work out your conflicts in private. When you confront your partner or try to talk about relationship matters, doing it when others are around will not only be very unpleasant, it might make your partner feel like you've set him up. Give both your partner and others the courtesy of keeping these matters between the two of you.

Don't engage in childish fighting. Name calling, bullying, or pulling in friends to take your side, for instance, are behaviors that at best belong on a grade school playground, not in an adult relationship.

Take ownership of your role in the conflict. Blaming everything on your partner will get you nowhere (except Perhaps alone).

Don't take the position that your partner is wrong and you are right. Being right is extremely overrated, and the need to always be right will make you a really unfavorable relationship partner. Strive for understanding, mutual resolution, and kindness instead.

Always try to find the grain of truth (even if seems very small) in anything your partner says. He probably is not totally to blame, and for that reason probably has some valid points. Listen for them and acknowledge your agreement.

Don't use severe words such as "always" or "never" to explain any of your partner's behaviors. Not only are these highly unlikely to be true, they will tap into your partner's desire to stop opening up. It takes two to tango and you both need to take ownership of your part in the conflict.

If you are serious about saving your marriage, you might want to go over these guidelines with your partner and ask him if he agrees that they are reasonable. If he does, ask him if he will commit to following them whenever you have a potentially heated discussion.

Rebuilding Trust

 

Trust is an extremely crucial aspect if your relationship is going to survive and thrive. Without it, neither partner will feel safe and secure or happy. And if it has been damaged it will be difficult for your partner to be his authentic/real self, open up, or be truly intimate with you.

Trust is both powerful and very fragile. It takes very little for it to be seriously damaged or ruined within a relationship. Trust killers include things such as infidelity, secrecy, controlling or manipulative behavior, irresponsibility, lying, or not following through on what you say you will do.

Infidelity is among the most significant trust killers for couples. Once it happens, getting back on track is extremely difficult. It's possible, though, and lots of couples are able to surpass it and move forward. However affairs can leave irreversible scars that never fully heal. And if the relationship ends, an affair often makes it extremely hard for the non-offending partner to trust a new partner in the future.

Following are some tips to help you heal broken trust in your relationship:

  • If you are the one who has done something to break the trust in your relationship, you should take full responsibility for your behavior. Don't try to blame your partner or make excuses for your behavior. Taking responsibility shows your partner that you are serious and truly value the relationship.
  • Don't repeat the behavior that damaged the trust. Period. A second chance is a gift; don't expect a third one!
  • Be open and sincere with your feelings about the relationship. If you beat around the bush or give the impression you are concealing something or being less than honest, your partner is unlikely to trust anything you say.
  • Don't blame your partner for any relationship problems you might have. This will not regain your partner's trust.
  • If you damaged or ruined the trust in your relationship because you had an affair, you should be willing to cease any and all contact with your ex-lover and stay clear of circumstances that would give your partner any reason to be suspicious (e.g., taking phone calls in private, going on business trips with male coworkers, and so on). If you can't avoid this contact (e.g. the person is a neighbor, co-worker, and so on) then keep it minimal and stick to business. Avoid jeopardizing situations at all costs!
  • Be open to your partner's need to check up on you from time to time. If you react to this or get angry, you will only give your partner more reason to not trust you.
  • Be willing to do whatever it takes to restore your partner's trust. This might include getting professional help if you and your partner feel strongly that it is necessary.

With time and a lot of work, trust can be brought back to a relationship. It might be a long road, so you need to be patient.

Dealing with a Sexless Relationship

 

If one of the problems afflicting your relationship is a lack of sexual intimacy (or any intimacy, for that matter), you definitely aren't alone. A sexless relationship is defined as one in which sexual intimacy occurs no more than 10 times a year.

Surveys suggest that as many as 20 million couples in the USA are living in a sexless marriage. That number doesn't even include all the other committed relationships in which the couples are not married. Those are truly shocking numbers! No surprise the divorce rate is so high.

If this is your circumstance, you absolutely have reason to be concerned, as this can leave your relationship extremely susceptible, especially to infidelity. While both men and women have affairs, men in particular use sexual intimacy as one of the primary ways they express love to their loved one. (If it is not happening at home with you, he might very well look somewhere else!) Sex is also a crucial way for both of you to feel connected to each other. That's why this part of your relationship should never be overlooked or its importance underestimated!

When sexual intimacy is missing, one or both of you might feel anger, neglect, resentment, frustration, loneliness, or sadness, to name a few negative feelings. Those are powerful feelings that can be extremely harmful to a relationship.

There are lots of factors this circumstance develops with a couple. For men, some of the more typical factors include a partner who:

  • Doesn't enjoy sex
  • Isn't sexually adventurous or spontaneous
  • Is no longer appealing to him and/or has put on a lot of weight

 

Other factors for the man include:

  • Impotence problems
  • Feeling bored in the relationship
  • Being in an affair
  • Stress or fatigue

 

For women, the factors might include:

  • Feeling as if she is simply an object to her partner
  • Feeling pressured to engage in sexual activities she doesn't enjoy or isn't comfortable with
  • No longer feeling attracted to her partner (Putting on a lot of extra weight works both ways!).
  • Depression.
  • Problems having an orgasm.
  • Feeling mad at her partner.
  • Fatigue.

 

One of the first things you need to do in order to bring sexual intimacy back into your relationship is to figure out the real factor it isn't there at the moment. This requires open, honest communication. If one or both of you ignore it or reject it, it will only get worse.

As soon as you figure out the underlying problem, you need to develop a strategy to reignite your sexual relationship. It needs to be acceptable to both of you, and some compromise from both of you might be required.

It is very important that any negative feelings impacting your relationship are handled. It is hard to want to make love with your partner if you feel anger or resentment towards him. Again, those problems need to be handled through open, sincere communication. If you continue to get stuck or are unable to resolve (or figure out) the underlying problem, couples therapy might be a necessary route to think about.

Reigniting the Spark

 

In some cases an absence of sexual intimacy or affection is mostly due to a lack of enthusiasm in your relationship. As soon as you get that back, you will likely find that your sex life gradually (or even quickly gets back on track.

It is not unusual for couples who have been together for several years to feel as if they have "fallen out of love" with each other. One or both of you might feel that the attraction has actually died as well. If you have overlooked to take care of yourself physically, it can be a serious turnoff to your mate (and vice-versa). While you might defensively say that your partner is shallow to care about superficial things, you need to accept the reality that physical attractiveness does matter to some degree.

If you are a woman who has gained 50 to 100 pounds since you first started dating your partner, do you really expect him to get turned on by your body? Would you be excited by him if he were twice the size he was when you first got married? Most likely not, in either case. Yet lots of people get upset when it is suggested that the fact that they let themselves go might be a substantial part of the problem.

Also, if you have overlooked your physical look, it is most likely that your self-confidence, along with your energy level, have actually plummeted as a result. You might be less passionate and self-confident in bed, two traits which are typically very attractive to both men and women. So if those traits are lacking, it can be a turnoff to your partner.

If you really want to revive the flame of passion that was so fantastic and exciting when you first got together, you need to consider what you can do to make yourself more appealing to your partner again. This doesn't mean you have to have plastic surgery or starve yourself until you look like a Victoria's Secret supermodel. However getting back to a healthy weight, tightening your muscles, and wearing clothes that flatter you instead of spending all your time wearing baggy clothes or sweats can go a long way towards getting your partner's attention again.

In addition to physical look, finding something to be passionate and enthusiastic about, exercising more so you have more energy, and being a happier person (instead of an upset, unhappy partner) will make you far more attractive as well!

There are lots of other things you can do to reignite the passion in your relationship as well:

Start flirting again. Let your partner know you think he's hot. Leave him playful notes in his briefcase or via text messages to let him know you're thinking of him and how you'd like to "please" him when he gets home. Anticipation is a substantial part of the excitement. Remember how excited you felt when you were first together and you couldn't wait to be intimate?

Make a date night as often as possible. Couples often forget how to date after they've been together for a long period of time. This is particularly a problem for couples who have kids and never take any time to be alone as a couple, away from the kids.

If you think this is selfish, neglectful, or self-indulgent, you couldn't be more wrong! Among the best gifts you can give your kids is a healthy and happy relationship with your partner! Not only does this make the house environment a happier place for them, it also shows them a healthy example of a loving relationship. When your kids mature they will tend to replicate your relationship in their own. Don't you want them to have happy, healthy relationships when they grow up?

Take your partner to an adult store and have fun choosing some toys. While it might seem silly at first, don't hesitate to step outside your comfort zone just a little to spruce up your sex life. Perhaps simply purchasing some exotic massage oil or hot lingerie will do it. It doesn't have to be anything bizarre or kinky. Have fun with it. Along these same lines, don't be afraid to try a new sexual position or sensual massage. Trying something new creates a sensation of adventure that might have been missing in your relationship for a very long time.

Another method you can reignite the passion is to bring romance back into your relationship. When was the last time you did something genuinely romantic for your partner? Unfortunately, you might be taking your partner for granted. You might also believe the misconception that romance is trivial. Well, it is. Not only is it enjoyable, it is a way of showing your partner that you love and value him.

While standard romantic gestures such as gifts and candlelight dinners still have their place, you might be shocked what your partner would think about "romantic". Some women feel that one of the most romantic things their husband could do is take the kids out for pizza or a movie for a couple of hours so she can take a bubble bath and simply relax in peace and quiet. Romance can actually involve anything that shows your partner how special he is to you. Do those romantic gestures regularly!

Don't forget to show love outside of the bedroom. When you and your partner were first together, you most likely held hands every chance you got, kissed often, and put your arms around each other. How often do you do any of that now?

Touch is a powerful kind of non-verbal interaction. Don't overlook it with your partner. Hug each other more often. Hold hands. Kiss often. Again, these displays of love not only bring you closer to each other, they reassure your kids, if they are still at home, that your relationship is happy and secure. Kids detect negative vibes and often blame themselves when their moms and dads broke up. Do not hesitate to show genuine love in front of them. You, your partner, and your kids will all benefit as a result!

One last thing: If you or your partner have any medical or physical problems that are disrupting your love life, do not hesitate to speak with your doctor. Health problems can create chaos with a person's libido, energy level, and ability to perform sexually. Women who are going through or have actually gone through menopause might be experiencing hormonal problems that can substantially affect their self-confidence, body image, and sexual satisfaction. Men can likewise develop problems with impotence and other physical issues that impact them sexually as they age.

Don't accept that this is "just part of growing older" and let your love life suffer as a result. You owe it to yourself, your partner, and your relationship to check out treatments or other alternatives that will enable you to continue having a satisfying and active sex life.

Warning Signs and How to Remedy Them

 

Lots of people have blind spots when it comes to their relationships. If you want to save your relationship and keep it from ending up being} susceptible to infidelity, a separation, or divorce, pay very close attention to these potential relationship killers:

Taking Your Relationship or Your Partner for Granted

 

It's far too easy to take people or things for granted when they become part of our life on a regular basis. However if you do this with your relationship, you might get a disrespectful wake-up call when he's no longer in your life one day. Make it a point to express gratitude and appreciation for your partner on a daily basis. Don't ever let the words "I love you" vanish from your vocabulary. If you become lazy in your relationship, it might atrophy and die.

Remind yourself frequently of all the things you value about your partner and your relationship. Gratitude is a powerful thing. Your partner will be far more likely to reciprocate and stay loyal if he feels significant, special, valued and genuinely loved by you. Don't give your partner any reason to look for appreciation somewhere else.

Ignoring Your Partner's Needs

 

Relationships establish because they fulfill needs for both parties. Part of your obligation as a partner is to make sure you aren't neglecting or ignoring your significant other's needs. This is not to say you are responsible for satisfying all of his needs, however satisfy the ones you can, and ask your partner to let you know if he feels ignored at any point. If you don't, your partner might look somewhere else for fulfillment.

Lack of Sexual Intimacy

 

As addressed previously in the section on sexless relationships, sexual intimacy plays a powerful and crucial role in your relationship. If sex is becoming less and less frequent, be proactive and talk with your partner. Communication is crucial if your sex life is to thrive and be satisfying for both of you.

Lack of Open, Honest Communication

 

Communication issues can gradually tear apart any relationship. Keep the lines of communication open and healthy with your partner at all times. Don't allow anger, bitterness or resentment to fester and grow. And be willing to listen when your partner needs to talk with you. If you struggle with communication, think about seeing a therapist to help you find ways to open up and communicate better. This is among the most crucial things you can do to keep your marriage healthy and happy.

Not Making Time for Your Partner

 

Not making time for your partner is a type of neglect. You owe it to your relationship to make time for each other. No matter how hectic your schedule, you should find time to spend some alone time with your partner routinely. (Sleeping together doesn't count as "alone time").

You need to make time beyond the bedroom that includes time for discussion along with fun and relaxation. Keep in mind, we make time for the things that we truly value. If time with your partner isn't on that list, it's time to re-prioritize!

Thinking that Your Relationship is Invulnerable

 

If you think your relationship is immune to serious problems such as infidelity, it's time you do a reality check. NO relationship is totally invulnerable. Far too many people have naively convinced themselves that "my partner would never do something like that", only to eat those words at a later date.

This isn't to make you paranoid, however is rather a caution to keep your eyes open and pay attention to what's going on in your relationship. If you don't, you might end up blindsided and devastated like so many men and women who think they have a wonderful relationship one minute, only to find out they couldn't be more wrong the next. By accepting the possibility, you are more likely to heed any warning signs before it's far too late.

Putting Your Career Ahead of Your Relationship

 

If you are merely dating, it makes sense that you might sometimes put your career ahead of your relationship. However if you are married or in a serious, committed relationship, you are endangering your relationship if you put your career first. This includes being a workaholic and ignoring to hang around with your partner. If you want your relationship to be a long-lasting one, it's not likely to happen if your partner should constantly take a back seat to your career.

Granted, early on in a budding career your job might require long hours. Obviously, there are times when sacrifices must be made. If your career must be first for awhile in order for you to be able to advance at some point, then make sure the limited time you spend with your partner is quality time. However keep in mind, if you continue to put your career first over the course of several years, or end up being a workaholic, your partner might begin to resent you, and either leave completely or end up being unfaithful.

The Importance of Realistic Expectations

 

We are conditioned from early childhood to believe in a knight in shining armor and a beautiful (and flawless) princess riding off into the sunset together to live happily ever after. As we age, Hollywood continues to bombard us with images of beautiful starlets and hunky sweethearts with perfect lives. It's no surprise a lot of people get caught up in the idealistic idea of a perfect relationship in which the worst problem is a clogged drain.

While I recognize this is an exaggeration, it hopefully makes a point. Lots of relationship problems come from unrealistic expectations. Part of being in a mature relationship is to recognize from the start that your partner is human and has flaws, as do you.

There is going to be conflict sometimes. Your partner can not read your mind. Your relationship won't constantly be filled with romantic bliss and candlelight dinners. And that wonderful, "I'm so in love" feeling will wax and wane-- however hopefully over time it will be replaced with a more mature, stable love that is strong and safe and secure.

Having realistic expectations is a crucial element of a healthy, happy relationship. However don't get me wrong-- they are not to be confused with opting for an average relationship, or enduring bad habits from your partner. Having realistic expectations does mean that you don't expect your partner to be your sole source of joy or to fulfill all of your needs.

A great relationship can bring much joy, but your joy needs to come from within you and not be dependent on your partner. You can't rely on anyone to "make you happy". You need to find various ways to get your needs fulfilled. That's why it's crucial that you work to establish a healthy self-confidence, establish close relationships with friends and family, and have activities and pastimes beyond your relationship that are satisfying and gratifying.

By doing this, you take the pressure off your partner to be your "everything" (which is an impossible burden to bear). That pressure can rapidly suppress a relationship and will eventually kill it-- or at best make it unpleasant for both of you. When it's no longer there, your relationship can thrive and grow to reach its real capacity.

If your relationship is in trouble, take a while to consider if any of the problems might be due to naïve, unrealistic expectations. If you're unsure, talk with a trusted friend or family member (ideally somebody who has a healthy relationship and a bit more experience), or a therapist. The earlier you release unrealistic expectations, the earlier your relationship can get back on track.

When to Seek Professional Help

 

While there is nothing magical about couples therapy (or individual treatment), if your marriage is in a serious state of crisis or all of your efforts to get things back on track have actually failed, you might want to think about couples therapy. As discussed previously, if your partner won't go with you, you can still take advantage of talking with a qualified therapist on your own-- ideally somebody who specializes in marriage or couples therapy.

Unlike friend or family, as wonderful as they might be, a therapist doesn't know you or your partner and doesn't have a predisposition concerning your relationship. Your therapist can help you look at things from various perspectives, gain clarity, and have a much better understanding of the characteristics that might be undermining your relationship.

With your therapist, you can practice brand-new skills and develop a strategy to help get your relationship back on track. An experienced therapist can also help you become aware of deeper problems, often from childhood, of which you might not be aware. As you get a much better understanding and awareness of your own problems, you will be much better geared up to start making healthier options and decisions in your relationship.

Conclusion: What You Deserve

 

Your relationship is a serious investment and, unless it fits one of the "red flag" classifications discussed earlier (and even those sometimes do improve, although the odds are not in your favor), there is a lot of reason for hope.

If you are determined and willing to make the necessary changes, your relationship will have a far better chance of enduring any crisis you might have and of becoming stronger as a result. However once again, YOU are the one who should make some changes. Don't wait for (or expect) your partner to. And if it still ends (and hopefully} it won't) you will have acquired indispensable insights, abilities, and higher wisdom and maturity that you can bring into your next relationship.

Always remember, you are a valuable, worthwhile person who deserves to be happy and loved. The more you believe this about yourself, the more likely it is that you will have a happy, fulfilling relationship! Don't ever forget that!