You’re not sure when exactly you and your partner grew so far apart, but you want to fix it. Badly. And you’re willing to do whatever it takes to start the healing process because at its very core, this is a relationship worth saving. You’re not some desperate loon, you know that your life will go on without this person, but you also aren’t really interested in this weird disconnect being the end of something great. So what do you do when you’re pretty sure a break up is on the horizon unless you make some moves? You make moves.
1. GIVE THE SITUATION A GOOD, HARD LOOK
Meditate on the situation for two. Are the issues that you’re facing now part of a bigger picture? Are the issues you take umbrage with stuff that’s always been there, but lesser so at the beginning? If we’re not talking about parts of a person’s personality that have naturally become more apparent and difficult to deal with over time, that means that there was an incident, or a series of incidents, that caused resentment. That resentment built up over time, and now it’s manifesting in some unfamiliar, uncomfortable behavior. Retrace your steps back to when things first started getting weird. Attempt to identify the issue and your contributions to the current situation. In order to have an honest, healthy conversation with anyone about anything difficult, you need to A) Know what you’re sorry for and could have done better, B) Be open to the fact that you may not know what (if anything) this person is holding against you and prepared to accept their answer.
2. GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
You can’t solve all your problems by reading a listicle alone and you can’t solve all of your problems by talking in circles with the person who’s currently battling with the same amount of, if not more, bullshit that you are. Bring in a third party. Spend the $170 bucks (it’s probably even cheaper where you live— therapy is like gold bullion in LA). Hashing out months/years worth of “material” isn’t easy to do on your own, especially if the two of you are already having difficulty communicating. Plus, once you’re spending your hard earned money, you’re more likely to do some heavy lifting and ditch the anecdotal evidence that y’all keep throwing in each other’s faces.
3. GO ON A RETREAT
If you’re with the kind of person who’s open to therapy, they may be open to other alternative forms of healing. And if a cold Google of “relationship retreat” makes you want to vomit, eat that vomit, vomit again and eat it one more time, then go on some woodsy-ass trip. Like, drive out to somewhere secluded with this person (assuming you’re not so distant that “murder” is a distinct possibility) and camp out. Force yourselves to communicate and work on team building. Relieve yourself of the option of tuning out in front of the TV or walking to your favorite bar. Laugh on your drive to the nearest Econo Lodge when you realize that neither of you know how to put together the tent you ordered on Amazon. Do shit that couples who are about to hit their breaking point in a movie would do, basically. Stripping yourselves of your comforts and luxuries may remind you that your mutual love and respect for one another is NOT something that can just be taken away.
4, OR HIRE A PERSON TO ALMOST MURDER BOTH OF YOU
Okay, I’m kidding — but I’m not. I mean, to the same point as the retreat or Weekend of Nothingness, sometimes people just need to have the shit scared out of them in order to remember what’s important. Since killing his grandma isn’t on the table (death does so very much to remind us that we’re just here for a short amount of time but it’s also TOTALLY unreliable), might I suggest you find someone on Craigslist who also like, fulfills rape fantasies. One of those types. Give him a few hundo to come by your place and wave a knife at both of you when you’re sitting on the couch some night. Never tell anyone you were behind it because it sounds absolutely insane and no one will understand.
5. GIVE YOURSELVES SOME BREATHING ROOM
So you’re not the type who’s going to hire a potentially dangerous person to enter your home “by surprise” and threaten to murder you both? Fine. Maybe you guys just need a break. Not like, a dramatic three months of having intercourse with strangers and mutual friends. I don’t expect that a ton of people come back from that. But you know, a week. A nice week where you don’t have to call anyone before bed or save space for anything on your calendar might be all you need to realize that what you normally have is really great. Or maybe you’ll realize that it’s not that great and your week-long party of one will transition into a more permanent thing. A little distance never hurt.
6. TRY THAT THING YOU WEREN’T WILLING TO TRY BEFORE
Don’t betray your morals or anything, but if you’ve been holding out on something that means a lot to your partner and not that much to you (read: anal), give it a shot.
7. REFOCUS ON YOURSELF
Maybe all the *freaking the fuck out* you’re doing about the state of your relationship is putting an uncomfy amount of pressure on the whole thing, ya ever think of that? People can sense pressure even when it’s not overt and it repels them. Perhaps it’s time to shift your priorities off the minute-to-minute updates in your love life and on to your own life. ‘Cause look: Let’s say you are right, your relationship has fallen to pieces. What will spending hours a day thinking about it do? Zip. But putting time into yourself and your future and your passions will always garner positive results. The last thing you want to be is single, out of touch with yourself and ten steps behind where you’d normally be. Right? And it’s attractive when people are busy and fulfilled and successful, right? And even if your secret motivation in “getting back to you” is “getting back together with him”, you will still win. So just like, don’t not win.