flowers for people wondering how to know when to get a divorce or leave a relationship

Can This Relationship Be Saved?

It’s hard when things are on the rocks.
when partners can't stop fighting and you get the silent treatment

Relationship Repair

Living with anyone for many years takes skill. To keep peace in the household, couples learn to adapt to one another, hopefully in positive ways.

—Diane Ackerman

Has something happened? Are you fighting way too much? Feeling alone? Your relationship is not giving you what you need – and you have a right to be disappointed or angry. But, let that anger be an impetus to action, rather than eat you up.

Before you suffer or struggle through anymore, get some outside, objective advice. Slow down and really begin to understand what led things to go wrong and if, or how, it can be fixed. People are amazingly resilient, but not if they don’t try a new approach – something different than what got them here in the first place.

Relationships are supposed to be fulfilling, but what happens when they become less satisfying, or even exhausting? Doubts can start to creep in, resentment starts to brew faster than your next cup of coffee. We can slip into behavior patterns that don’t change things or can even seem to make everything worse.

It is crucial that you pick the right therapist for your relationship issues. People do not seek endless therapy for relationships. After a while they give up and say, well, we tried therapy.

Is it too late to repair your relationship? Do you wish you would have sought help or started making changes a long time ago? (Hint: Don’t make that mistake again.)

Remember, couples therapy does involve an investment, but ending a relationship or suffering in a miserable one has costs well beyond the financial.


Many Factors Go Into

A Relationship’s Viability

Both partner’s motivation: Are you both invested or is one partner checked out? When both parties are invested in saving the relationship, the odds in favor of longevity and staying together substantially increase. But, let’s be honest, this is often not the situation that couples enter into couples’ therapy with. So, the good news is, even when there is a dichotomy in motivation, solutions still exist for repair.

Your initial attraction and alignment to each other: Was there something that drew you to each other? Was there a different point in time when you had amazing chemistry or even aligned world views? Was it the two of you against the world? If this is the case, the odds or being able to return to this space are high. Yay!

The level of trauma your relationship has endured: Has one of you betrayed the other partner? Was their infidelity involved? Is there a chronically ill relative that consumes most of your free resources? Has there been a financial hit that seems like you can never recover from it? Increased trauma from any source increases the strain on a relationship and can push even the strongest relationship close to the edge. However, traumas do pass, and over time, their impact wanes. But, getting to a point where that trauma can be put in the rearview mirror is an art form.

Your Current level of Trust: Trust is a key foundation for relationship cohesion. The more that you trust someone, the more that you cling to them to weather the storm. But, when trust is eroded, every minor incident becomes proof of the validity of the distrust. From this vantage point, rebuilding a sense of alignment can seem like a foreign concept. Your lover becomes suspect #1.

You can try to tackle these issues alone. Couples do it all the time. But, let’s be honest, it’s harder when one or even both partners are spent.

You could also seek outside help. Get started, so that when you look back the next time you don’t have the same regrets you are having now. We won’t judge you or scold you for getting to where you are now—that will only make things worse. But, we will push you to start communicating better, reconnecting more; or, accepting what cannot be changed. And that will feel so much better.



licensed clinical psychologist for anxiety and trauma in Arlington, VA

about the author

Dr. Britt Lindon

Founder & President

I understand ambitious but thoughtful & creative, purpose-driven people because I am one. Sooner or later, if you are these things, you find yourself confronting an existential conundrum: how to win the game when…