A relationship isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. No matter how hard you may try to keep the peace, you and your partner are bound to clash at some point. Trust issues, miscommunication or lack of communication, jealousy, and insecurity are just a few issues which can take a toll on a relationship. Sometimes it’s easy to work through the problems you have, but other times these issues can take a major toll on your relationship. If you and your partner are willing to work together, not all hope is lost. You can still work toward bringing your relationship back to a place of happiness between you and your SO. If you commit to following these five tips, you can move past a rough patch in your relationship.
One of the biggest mistakes you can commit is not talking things through to avoid an argument. Your emotions cannot be swept under the rug. You need to verbalize what you feel in an attempt to fix what is broken. If you choose to ignore the problems you are facing, the built-up frustration could result in an even bigger argument, resentment, dissatisfaction, lack of trust or ultimately, a loss of interest in maintaining the relationship.
Lauren*, a junior at James Madison University, personally knows how big of a key communication is. “My boyfriend and I just went through/are still kind of going through a rough patch,” she says. “It’s really important to talk things out and let each other know what’s bothering you.”
Remember to stay calm, cool and collected when discussing emotional subjects. It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you, but don’t make an already sticky situation more complex. Even if things are rocky between you two, still try to maintain the basic conversations you have every day, such as what they are doing and how their day has been.
2. Take a timeout
While communication is key, it’s also important to know that when you’re not on the same page as your SO, constant communication can be a difficult task. So while you should talk through things to a certain extent, don’t constantly dwell on the subject. Leave time for both of you guys to do your own thing and focus on your own goals.
Chrissy Sanchez, a sophomore at Georgia State University, stresses that this is not the same thing as a break.
“When my boyfriend and I went through a period of constant arguing, I would just call for a few minutes in the morning and at night to check in on him,” she says. “Other than that, I left him alone to do reflecting, and focus on important things like schoolwork, gym, and finances.”
Depending on your current level of communication, you and your SO can decide on how much time you should leave each other to work on yourself. Don’t let it be an overwhelming amount of time though. The longer you spend apart, the sooner one or both of you could become comfortable in living without the other.
3. Find common ground
If it’s an issue where you are both affected, you need to reach an agreement. That agreement should be a compromise. You both need to be happy, even if that means you have to apologize or give in to their requests a little. Go into the conversation stating what your opinion of the situation is, but remind your SO that you want to understand their thought process and hear them out as well.
Nicole Diaz, a sophomore at Chattahoochee Technical College, won’t leave an argument unsettled without reaching an agreement with her SO.
“Finding some sort of common ground where we both entirely agree or come close to agreeing is the most important part,” she says. “If we can’t fix the problem at that exact moment, my boyfriend and I will promise to work towards fixing whatever it was. Once we find that common ground, we try to move on and not stay stuck on the argument.”
Sometimes reaching that common ground may mean that you don’t always get what you want. Instead, think of it as reaching the solution that is most beneficial to the relationship.
4. Remember why you’re with your SO
It’s easy to let the negativity cloud your mind. However, if you’re looking for hope and are having trouble finding it, think back to your best moments with your SO — how you met, the first date, the first time saying “I love you” and the best memories you’ve created together.
Shelly Adams, a junior at Shenandoah University, believes that positivity is one of the major components of getting your relationship back on the right track.
“When things are going really great in your relationship, you don’t even think about how it could be bad,” she says. “But when they’re bad, sometimes it’s hard to remember when it was great! The point is that you need to be able to know that you still want to be with the other person at the end of the day. As long as you do, then just let the issue pass and you’ll be back to normal in no time.”
You need to ask yourself if the entire span of memories and future between you two is worth giving up over the conflict. In some cases, if the issue is that serious and pressing, those memories can be worth giving up. However, more often than not, your relationship is worth fighting for.
5. Keep the spark alive
Sometimes, all you need is a break from the drama. If you and your SO have decided that you both still want to be together, plan an extra special date for you to go on.
Patricia Maynor, a junior at Kennesaw State University, recommends finding a way to get away from all the drama and busyness of everyday life with your SO.
“After several days of fighting with my SO, I was ready to give up,” she says. “However, I felt like getting away on a mini vacation was the final test to see if we should stick things out. One weekend, we took a trip to the beach. That alone time helped me discover the reasons why were love each other. We have been great ever since.”
Even if you’re busy and can’t plan anything too big, still try to plan something memorable that will span at least an entire day. Seeing the spark reignited will help you focus on the love in your relationship rather than the momentary negativity between you and your SO.
It’s important to realize the difference between a toxic relationship and a rough patch. Constant disrespect, infidelity or abuse shouldn’t be brushed off as a “rough patch.” These actions cannot be moved past in some cases, but there are plenty of cases where the disagreements between you two can be worked out with patience. Don’t expect everything to be perfect overnight, but sticking to these rules should help get your relationship back on the right track.