An online dream dictionary says of the phenomenon of slipping beneath the murky depths, “drowning depicts fear of being overwhelmed by difficult emotions or anxieties”. Certainly we feel this way when we feel our relationship gives us that sinking feeling. Water is often symbolic of change and so this feeling of drowning is being overwhelmed by shifts in one’s life whose outcome is as of yet to be determined and this uncertainty makes you afraid. Of course changes in one’s relationship are somehow more worrisome and at times you can feel less in control of it. Arguments, uncertainties and more can wrench your heart or overwhelm you as if the waters are about to envelop you. But you don’t have to struggle against forces which you cannot control. You can take control of the situation and make changes to see that you tread water and even point the relationship in the right direction. Here are 5 ways to save a drowning relationship.
- First, search your feelings. It’s going to take a lot of work to fix this relationship. Do you have it in you? Does your partner? Do you two really still love each other? You can’t just make it work for work’s sake. Both of you really have to have your hearts in it. You have to know whether you should really be reading breakup advice or relationship advice. But if you feel in your heart that you want to make it work and your partner feels the same way your relationship has a very good chance of succeeding and starting anew.
- Second, talk to the people that are close to your partner to get some perspective on how they feel they’ve been acting lately at school, during guy’s night out, at work or during family parties or when he or she visits their siblings or parents. Who is in their network that you feel comfortable approaching about it? Make sure the other person will keep the talk anonymous as you don’t want your partner feeling as though you are spying on them. What you are really doing is trying to gain some perspective on how they feel about things, and your relationship and how this has been perceived by those closest to them. Perhaps investigate your own social circle to see if they have any perceptions on you, how you act in relationships, and what insights that they can provide you about yourself, your partner and your relationship.
- Your third step is to put your ego aside and try to figure out what negative baggage or behaviors you yourself are bringing to the relationship. This is difficult for most people. It requires a letting go and some self-analysis. But most often a problem isn’t only caused by one party in a relationship. What does your partner say? Do they have some valid points? What are some better ways you can go about things?
- The fourth move is to come together with your partner, decide on what your problems are and how to fix them. Talk to one another, don’t argue. Set up an outline, a plan or some ground rules. Is the problem space, stress, undermining or something else? Who does what in what situations? Analyze the problem together like detectives. Let them know where you think you need to change some things and some things you might have found out about yourself. Offer them to do the same. Maybe the problem is that one person doesn’t give the other enough space after work and their work related stress is carried over through the rest of the night. One person can give the other 30 minutes to relax after work while the other can agree to give their partner their full attention afterward. Many problems may be much more complicated than that. But when both parties are compromising, negotiating, being honest with each other and themselves the process can go a whole lot more smoothly and you’ll feel more confident about your relationship and its seaworthiness.
- Fifth step, have some fun together and renew your bond. Take a trip somewhere, a weekend away, a night out on the town, dinner and a movie or a trip to the beach. Reconnect over old memories. Talk about old times and play your song. For more on turning a bad romantic situation around, read I Love You, but I’m Not IN Love with You: Seven Steps to Saving Your Relationship by Andrew G. Marshall.