10 Steps To Fix A Broken Relationship
It was the day I had always dreamed of—I had just gotten engaged to the love of my life.
Of course I called my parents and my siblings to tell them the exciting news.
Next, the person I really wanted to call was my best friend—only, we had recently fallen out. We weren’t really talking anymore. Our relationship was broken.
During the happiest moment of my life, and then during the coming months planning the wedding, I was sad that my best friend wouldn’t be a part of it.
I had always wanted her to be there when I shopped for a dress, to get excited with me about picking out centerpieces, help plan my bridal shower, and just be by my side. But it was not to be.
So I mostly did these things with my mom, my fiancé, and myself. I definitely missed my best friend. Many times I wondered why we had arrived at this point in our friendship.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the best relationships get broken for some reason or another. Spouses, friends, family members, co-workers, and others may at one time be so close, you could never imagine being apart.
But we are all human, and there are many things that can drive a wedge between us.
It could be something like a silly disagreement over something small, or it could be something big that makes you question your trust and therefore, the whole foundation of your relationship. Other times it’s a million little things that eventually cause you both to drift apart.
Thankfully, my friend and I did find each other again a year or two later. The reason we had grown apart no longer was an issue, and we were able to be friends again.
It was such a relief to not feel that emptiness anymore. Life circumstances dictated that we were never to become best friends again, but at least we could talk and laugh again as regular friends.
I was happy to have her in my life again. I look back at old photos of us and have happy memories I will always cherish, and we are able to make new memories now.
Don’t let past hurts keep you from the people you love.
Even if you have had things happen that have broken your relationship, you can turn things around. There is hope.
Here are the steps on how to fix a broken relationship:
1. Write Down Your Thoughts
Organize the thoughts that are tumbling through your mind. Get a pen and paper and just free write.
Jot down every thought that comes to mind.
Why is your relationship broken? How did it get to that point? What do you wish would have gone differently?
As you actually see the words, you can start to make sense of them. You may even want to write as if addressing a letter to the other person, but just don’t ever send it.
This is for you to feel more settled and calm before you meet together to talk about your relationship.
2. Reach Out
This may be the hardest step in the process. Being the person to reach out to the other means taking a big risk; the other person may not want to meet you halfway.
If this is the case, you could both end up feeling worse. This is definitely a valid concern. But think of what you’ve missed out on by being apart all this time. Isn’t your relationship worth the risk?
Make up your mind to reach out. What you say will depend on the relationship, but it’s a good idea to invite them to meet up and talk.
My best friend and I saw each other at functions, and we both approached each other. That first contact after so much time apart was nerve-wracking, but once it was over I felt such a sense of relief. It was well worth the risk.
3. Let Go of any Lingering Anger
If you have a broken relationship due to a misunderstanding or wrongdoing by either party, then it can definitely fuel some anger.
This strong emotion can be a big hindrance to ever rebuilding a relationship again. It’s time to acknowledge your anger, then allow it to let go out of your life.
Whether or not the other person is sorry or apologizes should have no bearing on this. Make the choice to let it go, and then do it.
This may be hard to do on your own, so talk to someone you trust about this. Ask them to help you let go of the anger you are feeling.
4. Meet on Neutral Ground
Set up a time and place to talk things out with the person with which you have a broken relationship. It’s important that you both feel comfortable, so meet somewhere that is neutral for both of you.
Don’t meet somewhere that brings back memories for both of you. Make a place where you can talk freely and have the opportunity to work things out, if that is in the cards.
5. Apologize for Past Hurts
How should you start the conversation? By apologizing. Ideally, both of you should take some time to talk about past hurts, regrets, and say you are sorry for your part in it and for how things went down.
It’s important for each of you to say these things out loud, and it’s important for the other person to hear them.
This allows both of you the chance to finally move past it and repair the damage. Saying you are sorry, especially if a lot of time has passed, can be so difficult.
Just say what is in your heart. Don’t accuse, just apologize.
6. Accept Their Apology
Realize that the other person may be in a different place emotionally.
Also realize that the way in which they apologize may be different than yours.
Either way, if they offer regret or sorrow in one form or another, accept it out loud to them, and then accept that apologize deep down in your heart.
This is an important step so you can keep moving forward.
7. Get on the Same Page
What’s next? Well, that is up to the both of you. Perhaps you could say, “I’d like us to be friends again,” or “What can we do to put the past behind us?”
This is a good way for you to gauge what the other person may want. Perhaps they don’t want to repair the relationship.
If they don’t, then you’ll need to find a way to accept that. Or this could be when you find out that they want to but aren’t quite ready yet.
The important thing is to find out where both of you are coming from and figure out how to meet in the middle.
Once you are on the same page, you can repair your relationship or say goodbye with the assurance that you have said your peace.
8. Set Some Ground Rules
You both are raw and vulnerable, so set up your future together in such a way that you both feel safe. What will your relationship look like going forward? Will it be like before, or will it be different?
Likely it will be different at least for a while. You’ll be in a sort of getting-to-know-you-again phase that may be a little awkward. But that’s ok. A little awkwardness is normal.
You are both being extra cautious because you don’t want to get hurt again. Try not to over think it. Make allowances and remember why you want this relationship to heal.
9. Build Trust
You can’t build a house overnight; it has to be built brick by brick. The same is true of a relationship, and especially when you are mending a broken relationship.
You are both are familiar with each other but are not completely trusting of the other yet.
This is a time where you both can prove to the other that you will be there for each other, they can trust you to care for them in the way that they need, and that past hurts won’t be repeated.
This will likely be the longest step of the process, and at times could be frustrating. So try to be patient, loving, hopeful, and let it happen.
Be there for each other in the small and big things, offer a listening ear, and do nice things for them. It will help them know that this time the relationship will be solid.
10. Seek Counseling
Sometimes past hurts are just too much for two people to handle alone; if that’s true, it may be time to see a counselor together.
A trained therapist can help bring out each person’s true feelings and discover the reasons behind why the relationship became broken, which can then help you to let it go.
A counselor can then help both of you go through the proper steps to come together again. All of the time an energy you will invest in it will definitely be worth it.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage.
She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy, happy marriages.