What to do with relationship setbacks


You and your partner have been through difficult times.  Perhaps at one point you were on the verge of a break.  But you hunkered down and made improvements to your relationship, and life suddenly got lighter and easier.

Sweet relief.

You likely enjoyed a period of time in which things seemed to be going better, you felt closer, and you could be more authentically yourselves with each other.

Then you went backwards, and it feels like you went back to square one.

You’re frustrated, defeated, angry, upset, and maybe even hopeless.

What do you do when you face relationship setbacks after having made progress?

First, recognize that setbacks happen all the time.  It’s part of growth.  Even the most successful stocks have bad days, yet continue to rise in the big picture.

Even though change is happening all the time, it’s something we as humans don’t like to embrace.

Change can be really difficult.

So sometimes we all take a step backward.

Keep your focus on the war you and your partner are fighting against your old ways of being together, and don’t lose sleep over the battles.

Second, acknowledge the progress that you have already made.

The path to the better place you recently were at is going to be a lot easier to arrive at than when you got there the first time.

I’ve seen this countless times with couples:  They make amazing progress, reach each other in new ways, and a few weeks later are dismal and disconnected.  This is simply how progress and change can go.

They feel hopeless like they’ll never be able to get it right.  But we keep doing the work and before they know it they are back to where they were and beyond.

I can be confident they’ll get back there because I’ve seen it so many times, and I am confident that you’ll get there if you stay the course.

And thirdly, perhaps most importantly:

Remember that you want to be together.

Remember that your relationship is worth fighting for.  When you’re not fighting and you are both in an okay mood, reassure each other that you really want to be back there, when things were better.

Commit to each other that your best relationship is your priority and let each other know your importance to each other.

Just knowing that you are important to your partner is likely to help a great deal.  They need to know they are important too.

Start with the 3rd step and work your way backwards.

If any of this post applies to you, then congratulations.

It means you’ve taken two steps forward, and will hopefully keep going, with pauses and slight steps backward along the way.

Cheers to your best relationship, steps back and all,


This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.