Woke up this morning, rolled out of bed, and did not bother to say “Good morning” or worse yet “Goodbye” to your partner? Or was it the other way around? Did they make themselves breakfast and dash out before you could even get in a word?
Many couples go through a relationship dead zone. The time when words become bitter if any are said at all when plans are made and you do not find out until they are walking out the door. Working late to avoid going home, running to the store for the tiniest thing. Sound familiar?
I have been there, taking extra shifts, because, why not? It was an opportunity to make more money and be away from the Miserable Mister. Yes, I nicknamed him that without hesitation.
Here are the proven and tested tips I have used to work through the make-it-or-break-it stage.
Find your happy
Do some reflection. When people enter relationships, they often lose themselves and stop focusing on their goals. Take stock of your current situation and be honest with yourself. Have you stopped hanging out with your friends? Have their hobbies become yours? If the answer is yes, go on a journey of self-discovery. You do not have to pack your bags and travel to do this (unless you want to!). Sit down with a notepad and list what makes you happy. Then focus on these things, one at a time. If they are activities you can do, go ahead and do them or plan to do them in the near future. Take yourself on a date! Pencil these dates into your calendar and make them a priority, just like the monotonous adulating tasks such as grocery shopping.
Change your look
When is the last time you played around with your look? Change your hairstyle, jazz up your wardrobe, buy some new lingerie, and get a manicure done. Pamper yourself. Give your partner a shock when they walk in. Remind them of the person they first fell in love with. Though many may argue this is a superficial move, I completely disagree, especially when it comes to women. There is nothing sexier than having freshly waxed legs or brand new hair color! Also, let’s be honest, men are visual creatures. Changing your look spices things up and helps to remain interesting to your partner.
Do little nice things
Little things can go a long way. The tiniest things we may overlook may actually be a big deal to your partner! Are you giving them your full attention? When they are speaking to you put down your phone and listen to your partner. Though you may think by now it is the norm to converse and like someone’s Instagram feed simultaneously, this shows complete disinterest. See something you know your partner would like? Get it for them! You do not need a special occasion to show affection. A token of affection can be as simple as picking them up their favorite cupcake, magazine, or classic flowers just because.
Organize a date night
This classic never fails to bring a smile to a relationship. My partner and I have both mentioned to one another on and off “Date Night“. Why? Because it brings us together. When work has us on busy schedules and the most we can do is hastily eat a meal and fall asleep within the hour, the date night tip brings back that fiery connection.
Organize a date night for you and your partner to reconnect. Is there something you both enjoy doing together? Then surprise them! On a budget? Do the famous “Netflix and Chill”! Turn your living room into a private screening room, pop some popcorn, turn off all the lights and snuggle. Look for activities that will put you both in close proximity to each other like dancing or karaoke. If you are both into fitness, go for a run or lifting session together, working out releases endorphins, boosting both of your moods, and is a great way to bond with your partner.
Spend time apart
Spending time apart seems crazy right? But the old adage stands tried and tested “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Sometimes, we all need a break. Now I am not saying take a “break” from each other like the famous “Rachel and Ross Break”. I am saying create a little distance and be selfish with your presence. Go on a trip with your closest girlfriends, and have that ladies-only night. Sometimes the time apart reconnects you both in a way you would have never imagined. Soon you will be receiving messages from him dotted with cute emojis and sweet phone calls “I miss you”.
Communicate with your partner
I saved the best for last for you! Did you groan when you saw the word “communicate”? At one point in time, I would have definitely done it! Sometimes this seems like the one word in the English dictionary which is the most difficult to apply in practice! It is supposed to be the exchange of information, but how can you do that when your partner has put up a wall? Or perhaps even you do not feel like opening up?
The answer is: be soft. Kind words go much further than the classic “Whatever”. Tell your partner what is going on inside your heart and mind. If you feel that the situation is too volatile, sit down with your partner and let them know how you feel. Suggest the possibility of seeking a relationship counselor. This tip may appear invasive to both your lives, but if you are at the stage where you are contemplating ways to save your relationship, why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose.
Remember that you will not see a change overnight. Getting out of a relationship’s dead zone takes time, effort, and work. The results will depend on how much you put in and whether you are both putting effort into the relationship. It takes two hands to clap.