There are moments within a relationship that effect one person specifically. Perhaps it’s a strained relationship with a friend or family member, a problem at work, or anything else for that matter. Regardless of what it is, it’s incredibly difficult to see someone you care deeply about going through something that brings them down. Now, it’s not uncommon for the other person to feel hopeless if they can’t do anything to help, but sometimes it’s not always about having the solution, just your support alone can make a world of difference to your significant other. So here a few pieces of advice that might help you when times are tough.
1. Just be there for them
This is by far the simplest and perhaps most effective way of supporting your significant other. Obviously, if you live together this is much easier, just being there when they get in from work will be a sense of relief. For those of you who live separately – maybe even long distance – it can be more difficult. If this is the case do what you can to make them feel valued. It’s likely they’re going to feel isolated and like they can’t speak to anyone, make sure you listen to what they need say – lend and ear by calling or Skyping them – you may not have a solution but they might just need to vent.
When you can see them in person do what you can to show your affection, this doesn’t mean you need to be buying a ton of gifts, it’s much simpler than that. When you see them just hold them, a simple action like this can help thaw their feeling of seclusion. Listen just as you would when you’re apart and if they don’t want to talk about it, just be the couple you are normally. That feeling of normality will show them that your relationship is something that can be relied on.
2. Help them find their own strength
As much as your emotional support is a crucial part of helping your significant other through their personal difficulties, it’s also essential they don’t depend only on you for a feeling of happiness. It can seem difficult to not fall into a trap of ‘tough love’, or doing the opposite and treading on eggshells when around them, the best approach exists in the middle. For example, if they have a good network of friends encourage them to socialise, the bonds of friendship will help them feel valued by a larger network of people. Additionally, it will hopefully prevent over-dependence on the relationship between the two of you and ensure you are not alone in supporting them. Helping your partner discover that feeling of self-worth is essential.
Not only does the socialisation help a person feel more valued, sometimes the simple act of getting out the house and changing your surroundings, it can make a positive difference to a person’s emotional state. I myself have been in states of dejection and unhappiness and would often isolate myself in my room leaving only for basic necessities. However, whenever I went out for genuine interaction, just seeing something other than the same old walls would lift my mood. The more I did it the better I felt and I managed to improve my state of mind. Additionally, exercise and ‘fresh air’ have been consistently linked with helping a person’s emotional wellbeing. The more you can encourage your significant other to get out and about, the better.
3. Express interest in their interests
When a person feels low the desire to engage themselves in their hobbies is likely to diminish, but helping them take their mind off the difficulties they’re facing can be a welcome relief. One of the best ways to do this is to engage with what they enjoy. Do they like to write? Play a sport? Enjoy a craft? Whatever their interest, ask them about what they’ve been doing. If they say nothing don’t just stop there, see if they’ve had any ideas about what they could do. Chances are if it’s a passion of theirs they’ll start talking about it naturally and before you know it they’ve gone a good amount of time without thinking about what was upsetting them.
This is most effective when it succeeds in giving them the motivation to engage with their interest, as it expands on them being able to refocus their thoughts for a while. It might also lead them to ask about what you’ve been doing. Even if you’ve done nothing of note just tell them about your day, this strengthens the bond and ties into to the feeling of normality I mentioned earlier. Your partner knowing that they can still talk to you normally can help break the cycle of always thinking about the negative.
4. Don’t overstretch yourself
As much as it’s important for you to support your partner it’s no use if you yourself become overwhelmed by the task. As important as it is to apply the advice I’ve discussed you should know your limits. If you feel as though you cannot improve the situation any further, it may be wise to encourage your significant other to seek external professional help. The impact a professional can have by utilising their objective, qualified opinions can really aid a person’s emotional healing. Of course, your support will help supplement this – a strong network of loved ones is never a bad thing – just don’t let yourself get negatively affected by putting too much pressure on your responsibilities as their partner.
5. Be patient
Finally – and this is crucial in relation to everything I’ve discussed – it’s important to give your partner time to recover from whatever is making them feel low. Even if you are getting frustrated with their low mood, don’t snap at them or avoid interaction, just keep offering your support. The old cliché of time being the greatest healer is true. What I’ve suggested in this article can help that process along and alleviate your partner’s burden, but it’s no ‘quick fix’. Depending on the severity of your other half’s personal difficulty it can take more time to help them through it, but you’re support will be invaluable to them so don’t despair if you feel no progress is being made. The turning of an emotional corner can sometimes be quite sudden, so it may happen unexpectedly. Stick by their side and eventually they’ll find some closure.