Mend a Broken Relationship

Hurt is inevitable in significant relationships. Yet pain and strife does not have to mean a relationship is going to end. Many couples find that working though trouble actually makes their relationship even stronger. What they realize is that all relationship require work, love, and patience to succeed, and this is especially true when trying to mend a broken relationship.


Repairing Issues between Couples

  1. Determine if the other person wants to fix the relationship. There is no sense in trying to fix something if you are the only one willing to do the work. If your partner is unapologetic for mistakes, dismissive of your desire to talk, or continues hurtful behavior, it might be time to move on.[1]
    • It takes two people to mend a broken relationship. If you are the only one trying to save things then you will never succeed.
  2. Determine why the relationship is in trouble. All relationships go through rough patches at one point or another. As the novelty of your first few months together wears off, problems and stress start to pile up and things you once found cute begin to annoy you to no end. While there are always small issues in a relationship, some issues can cause problems when they linger under the surface for too long:
    • You don’t believe you opinion is respected.
    • You feel like your partner doesn’t care about your needs.
    • You feel your partner is not helping with chores, bills, kids, etc.
    • You don't communicate well and/or argue frequently.[2]
  3. Talk with your partner about what is bothering you. Many times, relationships end or hit rough spots when there is not adequate communication going on between the two parties. While difficult, you have to be willing to share your problems and issues with your partner to have any hope of fixing them.
    • Make time to be honest with your partner. Your concerns have to come out in the open or they will never be fixed.
    • It can help to write down your problems ahead of time, or discuss them with a close friend so you feel comfortable expressing yourself with your partner later.
  4. Listen to your partner’s responses instead of arguing. Instead of trying to think of what you need to say next, stop and try to understand what they are telling you. Careful listening shows respect, and will help you both figure out what is going wrong in your relationship.
  5. See the world from your partner’s eyes. Too often, couples get caught up in their own emotions and neglect to see why their partner is upset. This is the easiest way to drag arguments out for days and days, but it can be easily remedied. Pause for a moment and think about why your partner is upset. What sorts of mistakes have you made that might bother them?[4]
  6. Act on your issues immediately. It is not enough to simply talk about your issues together. You need to do something to address them. Once you’ve figured out what is wrong between you, each one of you should come up with at least 2 things that you are going to do to address the issues. Tell your partner your solutions and ask them to hold you accountable– the only way to mend a broken relationship is to commit to healing it.
    • If your partner feels like they do all the work, for example, make a list of 4-5 chores that you will commit to doing every day.
    • If your partner feels like there is no more romance in your relationship, designate a “date” night once a week.
    • If your partner feels marginalized or unloved, make a point to listen more and talk less during dinner and before bed.
  7. Forgive each other. This can be the hardest part of mending a relationship, but also the most crucial. Forgiveness releases pent up anger, pain, and emotions so that they don’t come back later in life, sabotaging all the progress you’ve made. Remember that no one is perfect, and without forgiveness there wouldn't be a single working relationship on the planet.[5]
    • Forgiveness takes time, so don’t be afraid if you are still angry 1-2 days after an argument. Keep working on forgiving your partner and you’ll be surprised how quickly you let go of negative emotions.
    • Talking to your partner and seeing their mistake through their eyes can help you understand the issue and offer forgiveness more readily.
  8. Give each other space and time to heal. Being together doesn't mean you've got a leash over the other person. When mending a broken relationship, your instinct might be to spend every waking moment together. But this prevents the two of you from stepping back and seeing the big picture or your relationship, it’s good sides and bad. Spending every waking moment together often leads to fighting or feeling trapped.
    • Remember the expression, “if you love something, set it free.” Stifling or micromanaging people only drives them away. Trust yourself and your partner to spend some time alone and you will both return happier and healthier.
  9. Remember why you fell in love. After a long time with the same person, it is easy to let the problems in your life, like money, kids, or stress, overwhelm the good memories you have. Try to take a step back from your daily life and think about what you enjoy about your partner, focusing on the reasons you work well together. This will help your let go of the negative thoughts that may have taken over lately and remember why you are in love.[1]
    • Go through old photo albums and tells stories from your early days together.

Mending a Relationship after Cheating

  1. Know that it can take a long time to rebuild trust after cheating. Once one partner loses faith in their partner it can take years to regain the trust that was lost. Any time a cheating partner leaves the house, meets up with coworkers, or texts someone new, feelings of jealousy and distrust are natural. Be prepared to work hard, and for several months, to rebuild trust after an affair.
    • Commit to healing your relationship, no matter how difficult things are from day to day, and you can one day rebuild the trust that was lost.
  2. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Avoid making excuses, blaming your partner, or dismissing the affair as “a one-time thing.” In order to ask for forgiveness and begin moving on you need to take ownership of your infidelity. By taking a good, hard look at yourself you can eventually realize what made you decide to cheat and find ways to avoid making the same mistake.[6]
  3. Ask for forgiveness. This can be the most difficult thing to do after an affair, no matter which side of the relationship you are on. Asking for forgiveness, however, is the only way to start the healing process – you cannot move forward if your partner is still harboring feelings of resentment. While you might not get forgiveness immediately, you need to humble yourself and ask for it anyway.
    • You will likely have to ask for forgiveness multiple times, but you need to be honest and sincerely sorry for your transgressions.
  4. Become an open book. If you cheated on your partner, the fastest way to regain trust is to be completely transparent. Make your schedule, calendar, and contacts accessible to your partner.Avoid hiding things, even small things, as they can lead to feelings of distrust.
  5. Keep all of your promises. You need to show that you are dependable again. Call when you say you will call, show up on time, and do the errands or chores like your promised every single time.[7]
    • Never make promises you can’t keep.
    • If you need to change plans, change them several days in advance, giving your partner ample time to adjust their schedule as well.
  6. Communicate about what your partner needs. Listen to what your partner needs from you to help mend the relationship. It may be more time together or more time apart. They could want you to come home from work earlier or stop drinking. No matter what it is, ask you partner “what can I do to help fix this” and listen to the answer without judgment.
    • This is not, however, and invitation for abuse. Be sincere, helpful, and loving, but do not let your partner abuse you out of "fairness" or revenge.

Avoiding Relationship Issues

  1. Spend time together. This seems obvious, but you have to be together to keep your love alive. Find things that you enjoy doing together and commit to them, from cooking dinner to going on Sunday hikes. A relationship requires work to stay healthy, so don’t neglect your partner and expect to stay in love.
    • If you cannot be together, write each other letters or schedule times to talk on the phone or online.
  2. Communicate openly and honestly. Honest communication steers off problems before they become giant issues. When something bothers you, bring it up instead of bottling it inside. Letting anger fester or grow only makes it harder to curb later on in the relationship.
    • Jealousy, misunderstandings and ego can lead to many failed romances, so be upfront about your worries instead of hiding them.
  3. View each other as a team. Your partner is you other half, and you need to remember this when things get tough. One of the best parts about being in love is knowing that you don’t have to go through things alone – you have a partner and friend to help you get through stressful situations and feelings.
    • Work on projects together.
    • Discuss problems at work or home together and brainstorm solutions.
    • Call your partner when you need someone to talk to. They should always be willing to listen when you need them.
  4. Invest time in personal development. Get up early and eat healthy, exercise, and take care of yourself. Not only does this make you happier, but it makes it easier to then focus on loving your partner. You need to be in the right physical and mental space to love your partner, and that means loving yourself.
  5. Accept your partner’s faults. No one is perfect, and we often judge our lovers more harshly than anyone else. Your partner is going to make a mistake or hurt your feelings, and it may be difficult to forgive them immediately. However, the only way to stay in love is to know and accept that your partner is not perfect, and forgive them when they are wrong. Accept and appreciate their quirks instead of trying to change them.
    • You must be willing to give forgiveness in order to receive it. Don’t forget that you aren’t perfect either.
  6. Take a vacation together. Escape from the stress of everyday life for a week or a weekend and Try to reconnect. A change of setting is a great way to change your frame of mind. Once you’ve left behind bills, work, and daily routines you can focus on what matters most: each other.
    • If you cannot get away for vacation, find a way to have a vacation from home. Go out to dinner and a movie, rent a hotel room in town, or spend a rainy Sunday together in your pajamas.

Knowing When to End a Relationship

  1. End relationships that constantly lead to pain or anger. Even if you have great times together when things are good, a person who constantly hurts you by yelling, cheating, or disappearing will never change. If you find yourself fighting or hurting regularly then you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship, and you need to get out.[8]
    • Don’t let patches of happiness make you second-guess your decision. Your partner should almost never hurt you or break your heart, no matter how good they are the rest of the time.
  2. Know that relationship issues are never one person’s fault. A relationship is between two people, so never let your partner blame your for all of the issues in your relationship. Someone who passes blame and refuses to think about their own role will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get on your side. Never let someone force you to change to save a relationship – this is a sign of a controlling and unhealthy relationship.
    • You should always feel free to be yourself with your partner.[9]
  3. Note if you fights resolve healthily or drag on for weeks. Healthy relationships have their share of arguments, but they usually resolve themselves quickly and without violence or screaming. If you fights last for days or weeks, or you keep having the same fight time and time again, it may be time to look for someone new.[10]
    • This applies if you fight over different things every day as well. If you find yourself fighting over every single thing that happens, step back and ask yourself why.
  4. Realize when you and your partner’s plans no longer mesh. Couples that once had perfect chemistry can run into trouble when life-goals and missions collide. If one person, for example, wants to go back to grad school while the other wants to travel the world, one person might feel slighted or cheated no matter which choice you go with. If you are constantly fighting or drifting apart because you have different dreams, it may be time to pursue your goals on your own.[11]
    • Discuss marriage or having kids – if you and your partner have opposing viewpoints, then this is a red flag that a long-term relationship might have problems.
  5. End a relationship when you spend more time miserable than happy. Love is about having fun, feeling secure, and enjoying your life together. If you find yourself regretting time together, waking up unhappy, or miserable in your partner’s company, it is time to move on.[11]


  • Do not wait to try to fix a broken relationship. The longer you wait, the harder the problems are to handle.


  • The other person may not be willing to fix the relationship. If this is the case, do not beg/annoy them. Move on.

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Sources and Citations