Sink or Swim: How to save a floundering relationship?

Arguments within any relationship are normal – and sometimes even healthy! But there are times when even the strongest of partnerships start to fall apart and a feeling of helplessness and detriment sets in.

If you’re in a situation where you think this is the beginning of the end, then don’t fear. There are ways to evaluate, work-on and buoy any emotional weights that may be dragging your relationship to the depths of despair.


Here are the ten key tips on how to save a floundering relationship.

Reconsider the reasons you’re together

Can you ever really truly fall out of love? Whether you’ve been together for a few years or even decades, your time with one another has been marked by memories, happiness, events, emotions and love.

Daily life can draw focus away from the people and things that truly matter – so set aside some time to reflect and talk about those memories that benchmark the love you formed together and enjoy reliving those wonderful emotions.

Take responsibility for your mistakes

It’s often difficult to own up to making mistakes – regardless of how grave or insignificant they may seem. However, acknowledging your part in any problems, or your role in the demise of any relationship is a crucial way in which you can go about repairing any hurt and moving forward.

Try to avoid feelings of stubbornness and defensiveness during these discussions – and you’ll find the whole conversation more liberating, more productive and more cathartic.

Negotiate and compromise

Think about when you first got together or even moved in with one another. There were elements of your personalities that likely didn’t mesh, but you found a way to negotiate and compromise to make things work.

People change over time, and often we just ignore those small irritating traits that sneak in instead of acknowledging and finding a middle ground.

Every relationship should be based on a 50/50 even keel, so harness those negotiation skills, compromise and stick to any agreements you make.

Communicate honestly and without judgement

Communication is key, and honesty is essential. Hearing unwanted truths can be painful and heart-wrenching but laying it all out on the table is also the only way to mend broken bonds between two people. By accepting those vulnerable emotions and objectively viewing what has caused hurt and cracks can you then only truly move forward.


Forgiveness is fundamental – irrespective of how badly someone has hurt you. When you enter any relationship, you do so with trust – on the understanding that if you give someone your heart, they will take care of it. Humans are all fallible, and we do make errors. If you genuinely feel that someone’s actions are forgivable, then make that asserted effort to forgive, heal and move forward.

Draw a line if you can

Not all mistakes can or should be forgiven. The point of ‘enough is enough’ varies for every person. There is a fine line between believing in fixing your future with someone and being a martyr. If you do choose to forgive, then you truly need to draw a line under any hurt that a situation(s) has caused.

Remember that forgiveness means avoiding using the issue as ammunition in any future arguments or letting this error be a factor in anymore hurt that you may carry around.

Respect your differences

Finding someone so perfectly matched to you is a remarkable and sometimes unlikely feat. And regardless of how ideally matched you may feel or have felt, the reality is that you are still two very different unique people.

A fundamental error in most relationships is forgetting that we need to embrace our significant other for who they are and avoid impressing our own personality traits on them, or trying to mould them into the person we think they should be.

Being in love means encouraging and supporting – so draw on point number 3 and find a way to compromise and negotiate around your differences. You’ll find a happier version of you and create a more respectful partnership.

Find faith and strength

You may be heartbroken, furious, angry or hurt but, giving up too early will cause more pain in the long run. If you feel that a relationship is still worth fighting for, then, you need to try and summon the strength and faith to forge forward and fight.

At times bleakness is inevitable, but by giving up prematurely, you could be setting yourself up for more pain in the future.

Spend quality time together

Children, chores, debts and duties can all cause a whirlwind of exhaustion and emotions. Where possible, make an effort to set aside time away from your tribulations, and you may be surprised how a little reboot can alter your perception on everything.

Carry these lessons forward

Not every relationship can be saved, and if you have fought to make amends, but the end has still come, avoid feeling that you have done so in vain.

You should never stay in a relationship that has a detriment on your health and wellbeing but also avoid quitting until you’re absolutely sure that it’s what is for the best.

All these lessons can be used to strengthen your future life experiences and relationships, helping you form a foundation to a healthier you and a more robust new partnership going forward.

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