15 Smart Ways To Save Your Relationship When You're On The Verge Of Breaking Up

Photo:  gremlin, Jacob Lund | Canva
Couple having a heart to heart in the kitchen over coffee

By Isadora Baum

If you're not happy in your relationship or you're going through some relationship problems, don't fret.

First off, it happens to most couples (it's not always smooth sailing!), so don't think it's just you two. Second, a few tiffs don't always mean you have to break up.

That said, if things haven't been going well for a very long time and you can't find a resolution to reconnect as a team, take some time to try these easy suggestions for how to have a healthy relationship to see if there's a way to get the relationship back on the right track.

You may find some common ground that gives you both hope for the future instead of breaking up with someone you love.

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Here are 15 smart ways to save your relationship when you're on the verge of breaking up:

1. Communicate like a team

One of the worst things you can do is exit without communicating openly. "You don't want to permanently hurt someone's feelings, and at the same time you have to communicate honestly why the relationship is not working for you," says Rori Sassoon, relationship expert and founder of Platinum Poire, to POPSUGAR.

Be kind and frame the situation in a sensitive way so your partner is responsive, and the space feels safe to open up.

2. Go to therapy

Sometimes it's helpful to talk it out with someone else who isn't a friend or family member, who may have biased opinions or try and sway your thoughts. "Go to therapy first. You can see what's bothering your partner and try to change. Figure out what you're willing to let go of," says Sassoon. Those sessions may give you both a breakthrough.

3. Say "yes"

If things aren't working or you're in a rut, try bringing some positive vibes to the relationship. "This may feel very counterintuitive. Why would you say yes when you're feeling like your relationship may be ending soon? The idea here is to go all in," says Marla Mattenson, relationship expert for entrepreneur couples to POPSUGAR.

Be a "yes" person for yourself and your partner. Try and find excitement and adventure again, and try to be more willing to help out where needed.

4. Let go of negative memories

Make a pact to start with a clean slate and a new beginning to see if you can still have a happy future. "One of my favorite techniques is to practice intentionally forgetting all the negativity that has happened together and only remembering the good times.

One of the big issues at the end of a relationship is there is so much resentment, animosity, and general malaise that negative thoughts abound throughout the day," says Mattenson. By practicing selective amnesia, you can let go of the negative past in order to live in the present more fully.

5. Be patient after a big conversation

If you have a great conversation discussing your feelings, don't expect changes overnight. Be patient, and if things still don't improve, then you can rethink the relationship again. "After a conversation with your partner about what is not working or what is causing you to be unhappy, you should be patient to allow your partner the opportunity to make the changes.

Being patient to allow your partner to make the shifts in their behavior is what can make the difference between a relationship that didn't last and a fulfilling, long-term relationship," explains Devoreaux Walton, a life coach at The Modern Lady to POPSUGAR.

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6. Set specific goals

Communication is so important, but make it efficient by creating specific goals and action steps. "Rather than having a talk and then letting things slide back into old patterns, set specific goals for the relationship. These might include weekly times to talk and connect, date nights, daily affirmations, exercising together, etc.," says relationship expert and clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly to POPSUGAR.

7. Go back to treating each other like you did at first

Try treating your partner like you did when you first started dating. "This means prioritizing them, thinking about them constantly, and trying to figure out how to make them happy," says relationship expert, matchmaker, and dating coach Laurie Berzack, MSW, to POPSUGAR.

Set up an alert in your phone to call them once a day to say hello. Think about the first couple of months you spent together and how excited you were just to see them, visualizing what that looked and felt like.

8. Do something different and spontaneous

Remember how you would have a last-minute drink date or go out for tacos at 2 a.m. when you first started dating? Well, bring some of that back. "People get so stuck in their routines, and in addition to kids, work, etc., these routines can get in the way of your relationship," says Laurie-Berzack. Switch it up. "Change your routines! Take up a new activity with your partner, whether that is running or playing tennis," she says.

9. Turn off your phones when together

Put that phone away at dinnertime or when you're watching a movie on the couch. "Life is already distracting enough, and spending more time on your phone and with the outside world shows your partner they are not a priority," says Laurie-Berzack. Plus, if you already have some disconnect, the technology won't foster an intimate connection.

10. Check out their love language

People have one of the five love languages: receiving gifts, quality time spent together, words of affirmation, acts of service, and lastly, physical touch. See if following your partner's makes a difference. "This can be anything from a rose for someone whose love language is receiving gifts to a massage for someone who enjoys physical touch," says Laurie-Berzack.

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11. Go on a getaway

"Oftentimes life gets in the way. We get caught up in work, kids, and daily worries. We forget to make time for our partner, which creates distance," says Amanda Rose, matchmaker and relationship expert, to POPSUGAR.

Take a weekend to rekindle the romance and create a connection with your partner. "Sometimes just taking a break from life and spending quality time together can turn around a relationship," she says.

12. Focus on your partner's positive attributes

Are you constantly nagging your partner to change? Do you focus on all your partner's qualities that annoy you? Well, stop it. "Try switching your focus to what's great about them. Write down all the reasons you fell in love with your partner," says Rose.

When they do something that annoys you, immediately switch your focus to something you love about them. "A healthy mindset plays a huge role in creating positive long-term relationships," she says.

13. Work on yourself, too

Sometimes it's more about your own identity that can cause stagnation or negativity in a relationship. "When we become the best version of ourselves we can create better relationships. When I see people stuck in the same unhealthy relationship patterns it's often because they are not taking a good look at what they can do to improve themselves," says Rose. Work on yourself or go to a therapist for solo sessions.

14. Take some time apart

Take a short period of time apart. "Keep the current structure of your relationship, though have less frequent contact. We're in a culture of continual contact that can have the feeling of enmeshment," says Steven Reigns, M.A., L.M.F.T. to POPSUGAR. "Give yourselves some space to allow yourselves to start seeing that you're with someone separate from yourself," he says. Who knows, the space may increase desire, too.

15. Care

Give little acts of kindness to make your partner smile. "Love is a verb, it's not about what you currently feel, it's about what you do. Make it a habit to do two to three caring acts every day and notice how that will even change the way you feel about your spouse [or partner] and how [they] feel about you," says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor and certified imago relationship therapist to POPSUGAR.

This might be picking up your partner's favorite coffee on the way home, gently giving a massage after they worked out, or sending a midday text that you appreciate them.

Love and relationships aren’t always easy, but you can often work things out. Healthy relationships take time, and breaking up isn’t always the answer. So, if you’re wondering how to know when to break up, try this relationship advice first.

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Isadora Baum is a freelance writer and former contributor to PopSugar. She has appeared in Yahoo Entertainment, The Huffington Post, Insider Business, and more.