Is it Possible to Improve a Troubled Relationship when only One Partner Works at it?

When we want to improve a troubled relationship, a lot of relationship experts encourage us to work with our partners. Unfortunately, most of the times, only one partner is aware of a problem in the relationship, or is willing to do something about it. In this case, it is impossible to work together.

This is when one can work alone. As it is explained in the article Changing someone, is it possible?, we cannot change someone else than ourselves, but we have the power to change the way we relate to this person.

Anything we do or say does affect the relationship. Since we are in control of 50% of the relationship, if we are working diligently on this 50%, the relationship will slowly change. Consider those two lists, which are only a brief sample of behaviors.

Any of the following behaviors, even used by only one partner, will worsen your troubled relationship:

- being blunt
- acting helpless
- being sarcastic or discounting your partner's concerns
- nagging or criticizing
- shutting your partner out because of anger, work problems, financial worries, television watching, etc.
- sulking or pouting
- refusing sex on a regular basis
- forgetting to do something for your partner (call, groceries, etc.)
- giving more importance to your children or your work, than to your partner
- having constantly negative thoughts about your partner
- calling your partner self-centered, controlling, needy, etc.

Any of the following behaviors, even used by only one partner, will improve your troubled relationship:

- thinking and focusing on the good qualities of your partner
- expressing how happy you are to have your partner in your life
- showing your appreciation or your love through touch, words, actions, looks, smiles, etc.
- speaking very highly about your partner to others
- doing thoughtful things for your partner
- thanking your partner for anything he or she does for you
- listening actively
- sharing your thoughts, frustrations, fears, dreams
- always keeping a connection with your partner
- refraining from hiding anything from your partner

The choice is yours. Are you willing to do what it takes to improve your relationship?

Troubled Relationship

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