12 Steps for Working on an Unhealthy Relationship
Updated: Apr 30
Before we start with our topic today. I want you to answer 2 simple questions for yourself-
Q 1 : How much does your partner or this relationship or marriage means to you ?
Q 2 : Do you really want to work on it ? or you just want to crib and complain about it all your life, but don't want to take any effective first step towards it yourself ?
It’s high time that we be honest with ourselves. Because its not about which partner to blame or whose mistake it is. Its about spending each day of your life in silly arguments, judgment games, accusations, assumptions, etc and degrading yourself daily as a partner and more importantly as a human.
You will need a lot of patience and when I say a lot of patience I mean a lottt of patience because its not going to be easy. But you are suffering daily mentally, physically and emotionally. This will have to stop. and if the partner is not taking any step towards it, You will.
Let’s see how -
1.Stop Ignoring Yourself -
You are feeling more terrible about your life because you have somewhere ignored yourself and given too much attention and priority only to your partner. May be he never even asked for it.
But you did it because thats what you have been watching at your home while growing up.. that how your parents take care of each other, so keeping your partner as a priority in life is your basic nature and there is nothing wrong in that. I will not ask you to stop showing that love, affection and care even if you are not getting it back in return because that will definitely ruin the situation.
People do not appreciate the efforts when they are made, but they definitely start noticing if you stop making those efforts for them and its very easy for them to make a comment that you have changed.
And secondly, you love someone unconditionally as thats how you are, so stop feeling vulnerable when you do not receive it back in return. Make it your strength. Because when you start feeling as an strong individual, you start behaving like one, you body language gets more confident and that confidence will definitely help you in working on your unhealthy relationship.
So loving someone or making your partner your priority has not harmed anyone.
But I just want you to at least start maintaining a balance where you also do something for yourself. When you take out some personal time and focus on something which you really want to do.
Sleep well, have a fixed routine, exercise daily, get your daily amount of fresh air, as it helps to improve your mood and reduce anxiety and stress. And its not only about looking better but its more about feeling good about yourself. It will definitely boost your mood and confidence which helps tremendously when you are trying to work on your unhealthy relationship.
2. Your Dependency on Your Partner -
I will start this point with a question.. How much do you enjoy your own company ?
Because that leads to my next question that how much are you dependent on your partner ?
As we start living with our partner, knowingly or unknowingly we become so much dependent on them for many things in life, specially our entertainment. We are eating, sleeping, going out, hanging out with our partner day and night so we definitely get used to be with him all the time. But life is never the same. May be your partner gets busy with something- you start feeling left out and you start reacting. In this case, if you really enjoy your own company, the chances of feeling left out, ignored, getting bored and reacting are lesser.
When your partner knows that you are completely dependent on him, he might start ignoring you even if you have a small fight because he knows that will affect you. But when you are so self sufficient and know how to enjoy yourself, this psychology won’t work anymore.
Go for a lunch to a beautiful restaurant with a breathtaking view, order your favourite food or a coffee. Enjoy it. Read the books which interest you the most, go for a long drive with your favourite music playing in your car. If your partner is too busy for a longer period of time, plan a solo trip. If you have a child, nothing like it! Go and spend some good quality fun time with your little one. Get some pictures clicked, have fun.
Why do you want to have your partner by your side every time. Slowly when he sees that you are having such fun time with your child alone, he would definitely want to accompany you in your next plan.
Spending time solo is so empowering and it definitely helps you get a totally different perspective about your own life. You learn so much about the world and also about yourself. Gives you so much courage and so much confidence.
Also, when you come out of your comfort zone, only then you realise your own capabilities. You know yourself better and you have clarity about what exactly you want out of your life, then it becomes easier to work on an unhealthy relationship.
And most importantly you become a happier version of your own self and who doesn't want to be with a happy person ? And falling in love with a happy person is mush more easier than falling in love with a person who keeps complaining and cribbing all the time.
3. Vicious Circle of Actions and Reactions -
Suppose you feel that your partner is not spending enough time with you, so you get angry and you react. Now the more you react, the more your partner likes to stay away from you. and then you react even more. So it’s a vicious circle which someone HAS to break.
If your partner is not ready to change his actions, you will have to change your reactions.
The next time your partner doesn't spend time with you do not react and do not beg, because if he really wants to take out some time, he will. And may be when you do not react, he likes to stay with you even more.
4. Don’t Be a Memoirist -
If you keep recalling the bad memories from the past how will you create a fresh future together ? So if you really want to work on the relation, you will have to let a few things go which your partner did in the past and now not repeating anymore.
You will have to keep complete focus on the future because you really want to make it work. Some partners keep mentioning that one mistake committed by another partner for years.
Slowly the partner who was actually feeling guilty initially gets so frustrated by listening to it so many times that eventually he loses all the guilt and starts counter attacking by mentioning some mistakes committed by another partner as there is no marriage or a relation where only one of the partners has committed mistakes all the time.
So, there is no point recalling something from the year 2015 when you are having an argument in 2020. It will only add on a pinch of bitterness to the already heated argument.
Let it go.
5. Focus on your Own Mood -
Remember we spoke about our individuality in the last episode. Please do not give up the best of your qualities just because your partner doesn't value them. Keep a check on your mood, is it always bad? Are you always rude these days? Pay attention to your expressions, your tone.
May be you are really disappointed with your partner, but how you express that disappointment makes all the difference.
Some people have such disgusted expressions on their face accompanied with such a rude tone that nothing can go right if you remain in the same mood.
If you don't feel like smiling, try reverse psychology. Most of the times our mood affects our body, but now let our body affect the mood. You are feeling really low and you don't even know the reason, look into the mirror, force yourself to smile.
Try it today, I am not kidding, it works!
Nobody wants to come back home to an always complaining and cribbing partner. A home has to be the most happy, comfortable, cozy and non judgemental, no pressure zone for both of you.
If your partner is not taking the first step, at least you do. Open the door with a bright smile on your face after you see him/her after a long day. Trust me, even if the partner was walking in with something to argue with, he might forget it watching that heart melting smile on your face.
The mistake we do most of the times is, if we are not feeling happy in general, we pick our worst clothes, we oil our hair, stop going to the parlour even for the basic grooming. If you are a man, the first thing you will stop shaving, so lets stop doing this. Wear good neat clothes, wear that minimum make up which makes us feel good about ourselves. Get our nails done, go to the spa, pamper ourselves. If you are a man, groom yourself daily as you would do in your best mood and get properly dressed. It definitely regulates your mood.
If you feel good about yourself , you will definitely start feeling good about your relationship and life in general.
6. Don’t be Obsessed with the Partner -
When we are not getting the kind of attention we crave for, we end up being obsessed with the partner. Did he like my picture on Facebook and Instagram or not?
Did he view my story or not ? If he sees your stories regularly, then you start uploading stories like “you can ignore me but I know you can’t live without me” Ohh god NNOO please stop doing all this.
We are all mature adults ! lets behave like one !
I have never come across any person in this world who has changed his behaviour in the marriage because he saw his partner’s heart transforming Instagram story.
If you really want to work on the relationship, set him free, you will have to stop stalking him and keeping a track of all his likes and comments on the social media and making a big deal out of it.
7. Respect > Anger -
You need to question yourself that how much do you value and respect your partner and the relationship in general. There must be something about the relationship for which you feel grateful. If you have a very clear idea how much your partner means to you, you will have less ugly fights, your tone while fighting will be less mean.
Even if you don't like anything about your partner, you will be firm, not rude. Everything has a solution and each and every issue can be discussed only if both of the partners want to work on it.
I have seen couples entering into disgusting fights and saying all the possible mean things to hurt each other, demean each other. But do you think that’s the solution for 2 educated adults? If this is a basic scenario of your house, part ways. That’s okay.
It’s better to live alone rather than living in a toxic relationship and fighting and arguing day and night. But there is something which holds you back when you think of taking a divorce or separation. There can be any reason for which you choose being with your partner over taking a divorce and living alone.
All I want to say is when you enter into a fight, think of that particular reason, focus on the good. Every relationship has some good days and a few bad days. But the key is not to forget the good days spent with your partner while having a bad day.
8. Let’s Appreciate the Good-
The worst thing you can do in a relationship or a marriage is to criticise your partner in public - may be they are his friends or family. If you really want to continue with the relationship and you respect your partner even a bit, you will never attack his ego by mentioning his mistakes in front of his friends or family.
People who are appreciated more for the good tend to behave better in the future as compared to the people who are being criticised for their mistakes 24*7.
So if you really want your relationship or marriage to work, appreciate your partner in public and if there is anything that’s bothering you, keep it between the both of you. Talk it out when you are in a light mood and keep your focus on the good you do for each other. It can do wonders !
9. Don’t Order -
Let me talk about this topic with an example. Suppose you are expecting a few guests soon.
Option-1 is to decide everything by yourself and give a list of orders to your partner of what all he needs to do.
Option-2 is to discuss the situation with him. Make him feel involved in the whole process, ask for his opinion that how should both of you manage and entertain the guests together.
In option 1 he will definitely feel as if he has been forced to do something so he would definitely like to forget about it or like to back out.
But in option 2, he will get more involved as he himself has decided what all he can help you with. You will be happy as all you wanted was a little support from him and now he is doing everything so willingly.
So yes, nobody likes get ordered but everybody likes to take few initiatives when you make them feel important and involved.
10. Declutter -
Throw out all the negative and unnecessary thoughts which are not letting any space for the fresh ideas and positive thoughts. Your mind is stuck at one thought that its not going to work.. its not going to work.. oh my god its getting worse. right now everything seems fine.. but i know it will get bad again.. how is he in such a good mood. whats wrong with him/her..?
I am not kidding but we assume so much based on our past experiences that we are unable to work on our future. and 85% of the problems don't even happen about which we keep worrying day and night.
And if you are unable to declutter your brain, start by trying decluttering your home. Just throw all the unnecessary stuff, which you don't need anymore. Just clean everything well and organise properly. You will not believe the new positive energy you have when you see a cleaner and decluttered home.
11. Create Your own Happy Place-
In which ever house I have ever been in my life, the first thing I do is to turn it into my home, my own happy place. Decorating it completely into a cozy space with the perfect sitting arrangement, my favourite printed cushions and block printed bedsheets, yellow lamps and lighting, a good music system, some pictures which make me feel happy, some plants to add on to the freshness and some good books and a desk to write my heart out. Thats the definition of my cozy space.. you must be having your own.
Trust me, the joy of seeing that happy place actually turning into a reality is immense. a place where you can just be yourself. How so ever disappointed you get with whatever is going on in your life, you will definitely feel better when you sit in this space with your cup of chai or coffee..!
I am also asking your to do this because your mind is thinking about one particular thing since last so many months or years, its tired. Trust me I have gone through it for 4 years, I know how an unhealthy relationship can make you feel completely exhausted. You need a distraction from those negative thoughts. So creating a happy place for yourself will give your mind that much needed break.
12. Start accepting your own mistakes -
Its time to be really honest. For yourself, for your life. Try to analyse for yourself. Do you feel that you over react or make an issue out of small things or over think too much. If yes, we will try to work on us too because we really want this relationship to work.
This topic is vast, each relationship or marriage has its own issues. Some are resolvable, some are not. You will definitely be able to work on them if you and your partner share the same set of core values.
And see, if one of the partners has made up his mind that he does not want to make any effort towards it or continue with the relationship, then how so ever hard you try, you will not be able to resolve the issues and carry on with the relationship or marriage alone.
In that case, I would say that Set a Date. It’s March 2020 right now, may be you feel that you want to give it a last try. Set a date till when you will give your 200% to the relationship. You will try your best to save it with all the patience and love you have. I insist too much on this phase with my own personal experience. Because you can only benefit from doing this.
The chances are you start seeing positive results in the relationship when you genuinely try and make efforts for it. You are not ashamed of accepting your own mistakes and working on them.
Even if it doesn't work, you will never ever regret in your life for leaving the relationship or marriage because you know you left no stone unturned to make it work.
If you have tried your level best but still nothing is working out please don’t be afraid. This can be an end to an unbearably terrible phase of your life but life doesn't end without anyone. Gradually you will realise that it’s better to stay alone rather than feeling lonely in a relationship.
And the worst thing is to stay stuck just for the sake of the society or your family and relatives. Only you can understand what pain you are going through day and night so please take an independent decision for yourself after giving your 200% off course.
Do not worry too much about the future. Work on the present, because no amount of money can buy those precious years back, when you deserve to be treated with all the love and respect but you are wasting your time with a worthless human who is busy taking you for granted.