Harsh words can be thrown around if you’re in a fight or angry with your partner. But if you actually want to mend your relationship, there are many things you need to discuss with the other person, even during a rough period.
You first need to ask yourself, “Why do you want to be in this relationship in the first place?” and “Why is it worth saving?” says relationship and sex expert Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJessPodcast.
Ask yourself why you love this person and why you value this relationship, she told hosts on Global’s The Morning Show.
“That’s a way to reaffirm and really state a shared intention,” she said. “Because oftentimes, we’re just trying to resolve an issue and we find we’re trying to win.”
Determining why the relationship matters for both of you will be a reminder of why you want to work to preserve what you have, she said. If you and your partner can’t find the answers to these questions, maybe the relationship isn’t worth keeping.
“Consider whether a fight is worth having… Why do you want to resolve it?” she said. “If you’re just looking to prove to your partner that you’re right, is that really worth it?”
Having a discussion about why you want to fight for the relationship in the first place will help remind both of you about how you felt during the early stages of dating, before the relationship may have become stale, said O’Reilly.
“You probably prioritized one another more back then,” she said. “Go back to the beginning and think about, ‘Why did I value having this person in my life?’”
Many people do not engage with deeper discussions and communications with their partner because they are afraid of being vulnerable, O’Reilly added.
“Can you be honest about how you feel?” she said.
Whether it’s a fear of abandonment or hurt, dig deeper and express how you feel.
“Showing vulnerabilities and being met with support is the formula for intimacy,” she said.
Your partner should respond by saying “I hear you and I want to support you” when you express vulnerabilities and insecurities, said O’Reilly. If they brush you off, stating that you’re “insecure” or find other ways to insult you, that’s not a healthy or correct way to react, she said.
Constant bickering without that kind of support from a partner might mean that you should see a professional.
“All healthy relationships have conflict, but a good rule of thumb is that if it seems like the relationship is ‘hard work,’ chances are there’s too much of it,” Natasha Sharma, a Toronto-based relationship therapist, previously told Global News.
Going to therapy with your partner can help determine why one or both of you are unhappy and can help guide you through figuring out whether the relationship is worth preserving, she said.
Relationships fall apart when we have expectations for our partner but we don’t express those requirements to them, said O’Reilly. Ask yourself what you want from the relationship, and if that’s actually reasonable, she said.
“Your partner’s not obliged to meet every single one of your needs,” said O’Reilly. “It’s about finding common ground.”
For more information on deep discussions you should have with your partner, watch Jessica O’Reilly in the video above.
— With files from Global News reporter Arti Patel