15 Ways To Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up

how to solve relationship problems without breaking up
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It is more rewarding to resolve a conflict than to dissolve a relationship.” – Josh Mcdowell, Author, The Secret of Loving.

Isn’t that the essence of what you are looking for from the internet today, and what we plan on expounding on in this article? In a nutshell, intention, patience, and most importantly the curiosity to know how to solve relationship problems without breaking up are what will get you through. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

We know our relationships are mired in problems. It is inevitable. But it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to resolve these issues daily and ensure they don’t keep popping up in your life. We brought in Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, to share some insights into ways to solve relationship problems before the point of breaking up. In the process, we also talk about common long-term relationship problems and how to fix them.

What Causes Relationship Problems

Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, in their book, Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-commitment, say, “You are almost never upset for the reasons you think you are.” Struggling relationship problems are “a series of bubbles coming up through the water to the surface. The big bubbles near the surface are caused by something deeper but hard to see. The big bubbles are easy to see and therefore get our attention.”

Shazia too echoes Hendricks’ bubble theory. She says, “These problems that couples take for granted are initially so small that they go unnoticed until the bigger ones appear or a feeling of suffocation or doubts surface in you all of a sudden.” But that’s not the end of it. She adds, “When two people start taking their relationship for granted that is when they unconsciously plan its failure.”

Most common relationship problems begin when partners stop working on the relationship. Loving each other and working toward conflict resolution is a deliberate practice. In the absence of a conscious effort, issues begin to take hold. So what are some common long-term relationship problems and how to fix them? Some of the issues couples clash over are:

  • Trust issues
  • Money matters
  • Miscommunication or lack of communication
  • Chore distribution
  • Lack of appreciation
  • Parenting ideas

Shazia says, “Because you ignored the small problems, trust issues, confusions may have developed. You feel overwhelmed and start responding in ineffective or even inappropriate ways, which damages a relationship even further and may bring it to the point of a breakup. Then you wonder how to solve relationship problems without breaking up.” To stop a relationship from breaking up read on to learn a bit more about these common relationship problems.

15 Ways To Solve Relationship Problems Without Breaking Up

It is time to look at how to solve relationship problems without breaking up. Let us add a very interesting dimension to this question that will resolve more than half of the confusion you are buried under. It is Dr. John Gottman’s theory of perpetual problems and solvable problems. Yes, it is as simple as it sounds.

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He says in his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, that all relationship problems fall into one of the following two categories.

  • Solvable: These problems can be resolved. They seem very small but collect over time. They are caused by a reluctance to see each other’s point of view, compromise, come to a common ground and well, just solve them
  • Perpetual: These problems last forever and keep recurring in a couple’s lives in one way or another. Perpetual problems can look like conflicts in ideologies or ways of thinking, ways of raising children, religious issues, etc. that people find very hard to change in each other

What is most interesting here is that Dr. Gottman says that happy emotionally intelligent couples “hit upon a way to deal with their unbudgeable or perpetual problem so it doesn’t overwhelm them. They’ve learned to keep it in its place and to have a sense of humor about it.”

If couples could resolve most of their solvable problems, they would have developed effective strategies and enough trust to accommodate the more difficult or perpetual ones before resorting to the thought of a breakup. Let us look at 15 ways how to solve relationship problems without breaking up. Uh, at least the solvable ones:

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1. Accept your relationship is not perfect

How do we look ahead and strive for more without humbling down and accepting our limitations? As humans, our relationships are vastly limited by our individual pasts, points of view, and ideas. Accept that your relationship is not going to be perfect. Know that nobody’s relationships are perfect and take solace in that knowledge.

The concept of perpetual problems does just that. It solidifies your conviction that it is okay to have problems and it is okay that they just don’t seem to resolve. Happy successful relationships also face those problems but never crumble under their weight. Now that the pressure is off – phew! – these actionable tips to solve relationship problems will seem more doable.

Related Reading: 10 Things That Make A Good Relationship – As Per An Expert

2. Give each other time

Shazia says, “Anytime you face a conflict in your relationship that feels too emotionally taxing or complex to handle, just take a bit of time. Don’t make any hasty decisions and give the issue at hand some mindful time.” This is honestly the most simple of resolutions one could commit themselves to. To allow yourself the perspective of time is to know how to solve relationship problems without breaking up.

The challenge is that in the face of conflict we are so trapped in our egotistically driven desire to prove ourselves right or tackle the conflict head-on that we refuse to step back. The solution? To be prepared. We think it is time for “taking a break” in your relationship, but maybe you just need to take some time. Equipping yourself with the right strategies and inner work will help you make that conviction. The next time you find yourself in conflict, your brain will take over your instinct and remind you to take a wiser course of action.

3. Give each other space

Allowing each other the perspective of time is naturally complemented by the perspective of space. It is advisable to simply step back and walk away from that space if it feels too overwhelming for you. But do it gently after expressing your reason to your partner and assuring them that you will be back when you feel more centered. Abruptly walking away can seem to your partner that you are emotionally stonewalling them, which can be a very hurtful experience for people in relationships.

Shazia says, “Not just to solve relationship problems without breaking up but to avoid problems in the first place, partners should allow each other free space where they can just be, both physically and figuratively. Everyone should have the privilege of some privacy to their own emotions.”

4. Communicate your feelings responsibly

After having taken time and space, if there has been a shift in perspective and if you have genuinely been able to let go, then, good for you! But if there are pent-up emotions, things you think you need to share, do communicate them. But be mindful of the communication strategies you are employing in the process.

Make sure your partner too is ready to have that conversation. Come together with a focus on finding a solution. Be respectful toward your partner and your relationship. Do not allow yourself to do or say something regrettable. And if it begins to feel overwhelming yet again for either of you, allow each other the space to ask for a “time out” to get recharged.

Shazia says, “There should always be open communication in a relationship not just for conflict resolution. It is also a preventive step and not just a curative one.” You can fix relationship problems with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or your partner simply by adopting this tool and learning tips to communicate better from the very start.

Related Reading: 9 Silent Red Flags In A Relationship No One Talks About

5. Don’t play the blame game

The blame game is a relationship killer. Gary and Kathlyn Hendricks say, “To resolve a power struggle your choices are: 1. Agree that one person is wrong and the other is right 2. Agree that both of you are wrong 3. Agree that both of you are right 4. Drop it and find a clearer way of relating.”

They then point to the obvious choice, saying, “The first three strategies are unworkable in the long run because right and wrong are within the realm of power struggles. A power struggle can be ended only when all parties agree to full responsibility for the creation of the issue. All parties agree to explore the sources of the issue in themselves.”

Abstaining from the blame shifting will allow you to shift your focus from each other to the problem at hand. That, at times, is enough to save a relationship.

6. Maintain decency in arguments

In the heat of the moment, people often find it difficult to resist their basest instincts. But if you want to stop a relationship from breaking up, make sure you do not take any regrettable steps or say anything humiliating or disrespectful to your partner. There couldn’t be a more obvious suggestion as to how to solve relationship problems without breaking up.

Shazia says, “Always maintain a level of decency and dignity on your part. Respect your partner and their family. Love needs to be complemented with respect. Respecting your partner, their priorities, their choices, their emotional needs and their individuality will help avoid heated arguments in the first place. It will allow you to discuss relationship problems without fighting.”

infographic on how to solve relationship problems without breaking up
Relationship problems can be solved without breaking up

7. Seek help from counseling

We are all broken individuals in one way or another. Relationships trigger our traumas and unhealed parts of ourselves. Another way to look at it is that relationships also provide an opportunity to heal those wounds. Unless there is physical or emotional abuse and neglect in a relationship, problems between two well-meaning individuals can be resolved through professional intervention.

Do not shy from seeking help from experts, and do not wait too long. There is no need for there to be drama before approaching a counselor or therapist. Expert opinion can be sought at a very early stage to help you do some inner work. Even before your partner is ready for couple’s counseling, individual healing can be critical in alleviating relationship pains. Should you need that assistance, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors is here to help you.

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8. Don’t communicate through other people

This one may sound contradictory to our last point. But you know what we mean. Involving anybody else, other than a professional, almost never goes well in a relationship. Are you trying to figure out how to solve relationship problems without breaking up, but feel scared of communicating with your partner?

Couples in conflict who fail at effective and direct communication resort to involving third parties, such as one partner’s family member, friends, or even one’s children. This never bodes well and is one of major communication problems in a relationship. It is disrespectful to your relationship, to you, and to your partner. Do not do it. Do all you can to enable yourself with effective communication techniques. Write a note if you cannot share your thoughts with them in person.

Related Reading: Expert Talks About 9 Must-Try Couples Communication Exercises

9. Break your routine

Couples often get trapped in the day-to-day humdrum and lose active connection. Many problems could be avoided or easily resolved only if partners spent more quality time with each other. Shazia says, “Keeping your phone away when talking to each other, giving your partner a dedicated time, these are ways to show your partner that they matter.

“Other than that, you could try cooking a meal with each other, taking walks, planning regular dates, or anything else you both are fond of that increases your physical and mental proximity.” The point is that you need to nurture your commonalities so that you have more to agree with than disagree on. This simple change could save a relationship.

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10. Break the pattern of your argument

Similar to our everyday routines, all couples have a similar argument routine or pattern. If your pattern has been beneficial for you both in dealing with conflicts healthily, good for you, stick with it! But if you are in a struggling relationship, you might have to look at your argument pattern with a critical eye.

When one of you puts down a complaint with the other, how does that partner respond? How does the argument usually go? What does the first sentence usually look like? What is the body language? Is there a banging of doors? Is there dismissal? Shutting out? Is there crying? In what pattern? Observe these and stop the buck where it comes at you.

If you are the one who wants to express a concern, try doing it differently. If you are the one who storms out the door and shuts out, think of a different response. Prepare yourself with it and respond accordingly. With that mindfulness, chances are your conflict will see a positive resolution.

11. How to solve relationship problems without breaking up? Apologize when you are sorry

Apologizing for your mistake is truly accepting your responsibility in a relationship. It is a healing act for the person who needs that apology and the person who offers it. Apologies allow for the channels of communication to open again, which is crucial for effective conflict resolution.

Knowing that you made a mistake is another thing but offering an apology means accepting that mistake in front of another person, which many people struggle with. But if you have your relationship’s best interest in mind, it is worthwhile to keep your ego aside and make your best effort to offer an effective and sincere apology.

12. Manage your expectations

After having done all of the above it is also crucial to keep a check on your expectations vis-à-vis the outcome. Allow the other person to take their time. Expecting your partner to react to a situation in the same manner or in the same time frame as you is an example of an unfair expectation.

Keep a check on and try to maintain a balance between unrealistic expectations and the bare minimum expectation. This holds for the entirety of the relationship and not just in matters of conflict. In trying to find answers to how to solve relationship problems without breaking up, do not forget that there is no reward for an unreasonable expectation.

Related Reading: “My Husband Misinterprets Everything I Say” – 17 Tips To Help You

13. Have a personal life

A lot of problems arise out of codependency issues. The same can be solved if partners in relationships found more avenues to be their source of joy (or sorrow). It can be incredibly suffocating for the relationship when partners look toward each other to fulfill all of their needs.

Having a personal life and personal goals will not only keep you and your partner happier (and busier) but it will also make it easier for you to find something constructive to rest your emotions on while you give your partnership time and space. Moreover, more personally fulfilled individuals make for more patient and kinder partners.

14. Decide if you want the relationship to work

How to solve relationship problems without breaking up? Nothing works if the people involved do not want it to work. Both partners will first have to give each other the opportunity to make amends, to try again, and rebuild each other’s trust back for any of the above points to hold any merit.

Pushing yourself to make that decision can be a moment of clarity for an unsure partner in a relationship. Once you decide you want the relationship to work, your focus shifts to the solution-seeking mode. In such a moment of deep thought, you may also realize that you do not want the relationship to work, which is why you have been stalling any progress in conflict resolution. Either case, you will be able to come out of a conundrum with more clarity.

Related Reading: 23 Thoughtful Messages To Fix A Broken Relationship

15. Agree to disagree

Will you always have an effective answer to how to solve relationship problems without breaking up? Remember how we talked about some problems that cannot be solved? Shazia concludes the discussion with this extremely important point. She says, “Don’t forget that disagreements don’t make people good or bad. Sometimes there will be no right or wrong, you will just have to agree to disagree. That is the be-all end-all of this issue.”

Key Pointers

  • Problems are of two kinds– perpetual and solvable. Trust issues, money matters, miscommunication or lack of communication, chore distribution, and lack of appreciation are common issues couples clash over
  • Couples take small problems for granted and let them go unnoticed until the bigger ones appear
  • Because they ignored the small problems and let them collect, they feel overwhelmed and start responding in ineffective and inappropriate ways that damage a relationship up to the point of breaking up
  • By resolving most of their solvable problems, couples can develop effective strategies and enough trust to accommodate the more difficult ones

We do advise you to fix relationship problems with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or your partner by keeping these pointers in mind and avoiding a breakup. But we do not mean that one should ignore red flags in relationships or tolerate abuse. Abuse whether physical, mental, or emotional is not acceptable. If the relationship is not worth the pain it is giving you, it is all right to approach a trusted friend or a separation counselor to help you through the process.

FAQs

1. Is a breakup the solution for everything in a relationship?

Breakup is not the solution for conflicts that arise in a struggling relationship. Conflicts in relationships are natural. Partners in emotionally mature relationships have been able to learn effective tools and strategies for conflict resolution. To learn how to solve relationship problems without breaking up in detail, read the article.

How To Get Over A Breakup You Caused? Expert Recommends These 9 Things

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Fighting In A Marriage – 10 Tips To Do It Right


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