This article is part of the “Relationship” series. Click here to learn more.
There are many circumstances in life that may lead a couple to want a fresh start. For example, it might no longer be working for one or both of you, or you feel as though it is on a downhill slope. Despite this, the two of you are still eager to pursue the relationship and see where it can take you. Fortunately, whether you are trying to overcome a misstep or even want to rekindle the honeymoon stage, there are plenty of heathy ways to learn how to start over in a relationship.
Take a Break
One of the first things that most couples will do when considering whether to start over is take a break. This is not only okay but also a good idea. Taking a break will allow each of you time to think about what it is you want and need. During this time, it is important that you are completely separated. This way there will be no confusion from lingering emotions. Agree on a specific amount of time apart before setting a date to meet up. Then it will be much easier to discuss how you can move forward.
Identify Why You Value the Relationship
First things first: you need to revisit why you each value the relationship. This step is key, as it will be a clear indicator about whether it is worthwhile to start over. Some relationships aren’t meant to be. By clueing in to why you want the relationship to work out, it will help motivate you throughout the steps to come.
Get Some Support
Getting help can be hard. People and society in general often still view therapy and counseling as being bad. You may even feel hesitant or embarrassed to seek out support, but it is a must. A therapist or counselor will guide you through tough conversations in a healthy environment. By practicing and learning healthy communication, your relationship will fare better than before.
Find a Way to Communicate
Speaking of communication, it can be near impossible for some people. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. The both of you will need to find a middle ground on how you can communicate. As long as you are both aware of this and willing to keep trying, any method you prefer should work. Even if you find your partner’s preferred method funny or difficult, you should be respectful of their attempts and be open to trying them.
Forgive & Start Anew
In some cases, your reasoning for a fresh start may have to do with a serious misstep on your or your partner’s past. Say one of you said or did something that the other has deemed unforgivable. If there is any chance of continuing the relationship, you will first have to forgive. This applies to both of you. The person who feels betrayed will have to overcome and move past this thing without harboring any resentment. Otherwise, the leftover resentment will eventually come to the surface. Meanwhile, the person who misstepped will have to forgive themself. It is not only to prevent themselves from doing the same thing again but also to not make the new relationship all about “making up” for their past. If either of you is unable to forgive, then there is little chance of starting over.
Learn How to Compromise
In any relationship, it is important that you both are able to compromise. Learning to compromise is key for two main reasons. The first is that it tells your partner that you value them and are willing to meet them in the middle for the sake of their happiness. The second is that it is a useful tactic for preventing unnecessary arguments. The key thing about compromising is that both people must do it. If only one person in the relationship is making compromises, they will resent their partner. Both people need to feel that they are receiving as much as they are giving.
Pick Your Battles
When starting a relationship over, it can be difficult to let go of past habits. In particular, the things or triggers that sparked arguments can be hard to forget. These triggers can be as simple as leaving a toilet seat up or putting clothes in the wrong hamper. When starting anew, you will have to learn the art of picking your battles. For the most part, this has to do with your own self-control. Think to yourself, “Is a toilet seat really worth fighting over or putting a damper on the entire day?” In most cases, the answer will be “no”. Practice your ability to choose happiness in the face of what annoys you the most.
With that said, you can still bring up these triggers to your partner – just use positive communication. Speak to them candidly but calmly about the things they do that bother you and why. Let them know that you would like them to try to change these habits and offer a solution for how they can do it. By taking an active part in providing a solution, you will likely receive a better response in your desire for them to change. Also, the conversation will be more productive overall.
Practice Meaningful Interaction
When we talk about meaningful interaction, this includes actions that are both physical and emotional. The most obvious is probably physical affection. This can include intimacy, cuddling, holding hands, or the simplest of touches. In regards to emotion, this applies to both your willingness to share and your ability to listen. You should be open to sharing your own emotions and able to actively listen when your partner is sharing.
Speak & Think Positively About Your Partner
Sometimes the most difficult part of starting over in a relationship is adjusting how you have been speaking and thinking about your partner. If a relationship has soured, your actions or thoughts towards them might be negative. It is crucial that when starting over you strive for positivity in every aspect. This means stop the trash talk to family and friends as well as negative internal thoughts.
With that said, it is important that you have the people surrounding you do the same. They can add to a toxic relationship by swaying or perpetuating old emotions. This may mean that you need to have a candid conversation about how their opinions impact your own. If they are a true friend, they should be willing to adjust how they talk about your partner.
Create Shared Goals
One of the most effective methods to building a positive relationship is creating shared goals. When starting over, this is especially helpful, as you can toss out the old and look to freshen things up. These goals can be either short and long term, and we recommend coming up with a few of each. For example, a short term goal may be improving your listening skills, whereas a long term goal may be moving in together.
Although people may say otherwise, starting over in a relationship is possible. If you and your partner are willing to put in the work and love one another, it can work out. Let us know which of these tips you found most helpful!
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