Breakup On The Horizon? Save Your Relationship In 3 Easy Steps

Love, Heartbreak

Stop playing the blame game! It's time to own up to your own mistakes and fix them — here's how.

We all mess up at one time or another. In the vast majority of cases, when a relationship is in trouble and teetering on the verge of a breakup, there's a complicated array of reasons why. Even if there was (or is) an affair, both people in the relationship played a part in creating the disconnection and dysfunction that helped set the stage.

Unfortunately, denial and defensiveness can prevent the necessary healing and change. When one person feels like the "victim," that person is usually not seeing the ways that he or she contributed to the problems that have developed.

But, even if it's clear to you that your unsavory habit of lying, flying off the handle, getting jealous, flirting with others (or whatever it is you do) is damaging your love relationship or marriage, the challenge becomes how to make significant and lasting changes that your partner will notice, and that actually will make things better.

Try to show your partner that you're making real changes. (Yes, we know it can be confusing.) Just remember that you rebuild trust little by little over time. In every moment, make sure you are showing the changes that are in process. Incremental, consistent and genuine demonstrations will help to repair the damage so that the two of you can move closer to one another again.

Follow these 3 MUSTS as you move forward to a healthier relationship:

1. Share your intentions.

Don't keep it a secret from your partner that you: a) recognize how destructive particular habits you have are, and b) intend to do something about that. It can feel vulnerable and risky to let anyone else know that you're going to take on a stubborn habit that feels like you've "always" had. Nobody wants to feel embarrassed or ashamed if they don't change quickly (or at all), but this is a really important part of the process. Be upfront about what you plan to do and ask for specific support as you do so.

2. Stay open to feedback.

Keep communicating with your partner in honest and kind ways. Especially at first, you might need to have some conversations to help you both understand why you do what you tend to do. This can make it easier to clear the past and open up to a new way of being together in the future. Just don't get hung up on deciding which of you is to "blame" for your current relationship challenges.

Without interrupting or defending yourself, listen to how your partner feels and then share what's true for you, without holding your partner responsible for your words or actions. Speak your truth in a way your partner can hear.

3. Believe in yourself.

Notice where you were and give yourself credit for the steps you're taking in the direction you want to go. This is a process and you may have moments of backsliding. When those happen, own it, forgive yourself and pivot so that you return to the new habits you're trying to cultivate.

Above all, keep telling yourself that you can make these changes and that you can make changes that you'll stick to. If you come off as confused or unsure about whether or not this is possible, your partner will know. When you doubt or feel unsure, take the time to remind yourself of the positive strides you've already made. The more confident you are about what you've learned and what you're doing differently, the more this will shine through and benefit your relationship.

Choosing the right words when you communicate is an essential part of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. This is crucial when your relationship is in peril. Find out which words to use (and which to avoid) when communicating with the one you love in this free video.