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How to Save a Relationship in Crisis

Advice From Psychologists
  • 2 August 2023
  • 7min

Being in a relationship means sharing both joy and challenges. Living together is difficult, and no relationships are happy all the time. However, sometimes crises arise that shake the foundation of the relationship.

Can a relationship in crisis be saved? In this blog post, we will share some advice from psychologists to help you overcome difficulties and strengthen the bonds in your relationship. Of course, it depends on what has triggered your particular crisis, whether it's something acute and disruptive like infidelity/betrayal or relationship problems that have grown over time. Here, we will explore what is important if you want to save a relationship in crisis.

Managing a Crisis: Listen and Try to Understand

One of the most crucial factors in saving a relationship is open and honest communication. The very first step is to listen to each other. Try to just listen, without judging, arguing, or trying to solve problems. Focus on understanding each other and the reasons why you find yourselves where you are now.

Can you find a common ground, an area you both want to work on improving? Showing understanding for each other's feelings and experiences is crucial to saving a relationship in crisis. Can you put yourself in your partner's shoes and see the situation from their perspective? How have you contributed to where you are now, and what could you do differently?

Personal Motivation to Stay in the Relationship

When a relationship is in crisis, it is common for one or both of the partners to consider leaving it. Whether you have been struggling for a long time or the crisis has recently occurred, it's important for each of you to reflect on the following questions: What do I really want? Am I willing to stay a little longer and do my part to work on improving this relationship? It's common to feel ambivalent, but over time, it's important for you to make a decision that you can stick to for a while.

Advice from psychologists in how to save a failing relationship - 5 common themes

If you feel that you are fighting too much

Learn and practice fair fighting. Harsh comments, even if uttered in the heat of the moment, can have lasting toxic effects. Discover strategies to engage in less destructive conflicts that won't negatively impact your bond. Accepting each other's differences plays an important role in communication. Unveil the triggers behind your fights, shift focus from "you" to "I" statements, wait for emotions to subside, and foster understanding by giving your partner the benefit of the doubt. Remember, close relationships thrive on mutual understanding, not proving who's right. Read more

When you want to regain trust after a betrayal

Betrayal can shatter one's sense of security, causing deep emotional trauma. Small triggers suddenly become sources of uncertainty, like a partner's late arrival or a ringing phone. If you've experienced betrayal and want to regain trust in your relationship, firstly, acknowledge that feeling hurt is valid and reactions may be intense. Seek emotional support and understanding from your partner, who should demonstrate transparency and honesty to foster security. Over time, accepting some uncertainty becomes necessary, as trust gradually rebuilds. Prioritize self-care during this difficult period and confide in someone trustworthy, being cautious of potential consequences within your wider circle.

When you lack emotional intimacy in the relationship

Building emotional closeness is essential for a thriving relationship, and it can be cultivated through simple yet meaningful gestures. Take notice of and express gratitude for your partner's efforts. Say "thank you" for everyday tasks, acknowledging their contributions. Physical closeness, like hugs or gentle touches, strengthens the connection. Offer genuine compliments, highlighting qualities you appreciate. Share your thoughts of admiration immediately, such as mentioning a beautiful smile or looking forward to seeing them. Demonstrate thoughtfulness through small gestures, like buying their favorite juice or sending encouraging messages. By incorporating these actions into your daily routine, you can enhance the feeling of closeness with your partner.

When the relationship has lost its excitement

Try something new! Couples who can strike a balance between daily responsibilities and the thrill of new experiences tend to be happy together. Show each other that you prioritize quality time together. It doesn't have to be complicated! Watch a TV series in a different genre together or try going to a museum instead of that usual weekend walk together. Planning can also be a part of this! Like making a wishlist of places to visit or exciting date ideas.

When you are dissatisfied with your sex life

Is there a difference between the two of you when it comes to sexual desire? Managing varying sexual desires in a relationship requires open communication and understanding. Partners should create a safe space to discuss needs and challenges without judgment. Exploring non-sexual intimacy, like cuddling and holding hands, strengthens emotional and physical connections. Embrace a sex-positive context by finding ways to enhance your partner's well-being, reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Read more

Professional Help is Often Needed

Seeking support may be necessary to save a relationship in crisis, especially if you have made attempts on your own to overcome the crisis but have not succeeded. By working together with a trained psychologist/couples therapist, you can better understand each other's needs and find new ways to communicate and build trust.

By following these expert tips on how to save a relationship, you can navigate through a crisis, rebuild trust, and strengthen the connection with your partner. Remember, no relationship is without challenges, but with effort, understanding, and the right support, you can overcome obstacles and foster a healthier, happier partnership.

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