13 ways to cope in a relationship

Your relationship started with great promise and that positive momentum carried the two of you forward for quite a while. But now the hopefulness and high expectations have dimmed, and things have become frayed  — a bit like your old throw rug. The reality of a once-bright relationship fading away is hard to deal with, if not downright heartbreaking. Here are ways to cope when your partnership looks like it’s dissolving:

1. Evaluate if this is a rough patch or the beginning of the end. A relationship that seems to be “coming apart” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s absolutely, certainly over. The question becomes whether you should try to improve a troubled relationship or move on to better prospects.
2. Carefully consider exactly what you want. How much should you try to push through problems versus admitting the partnership simply isn’t meant to be? Do lots of soul searching to answer that question for yourself.
Project yourself into the future. Look ahead and envision what your life would be like with your current partner and without that person.
3. Don’t be afraid to admit the truth to yourself and your partner. It may be painful to admit that you want a relationship to end, since it’s seems like you’ve giving up or abandoning the other person. But sometimes that’s the best option, knowing there are many potential partners available who may be more compatible.
4. Acknowledge the disappointment. There’s no way around it: the deterioration of a once-promising relationship is hard to deal with. Working through the hurt will foster your healing.
5. Banish your blaming thoughts. It’s easy to blame yourself for the things that went wrong. But self-recrimination will only make a tough situation much tougher.
Recognize your vulnerability. When a relationship is crumbling, strong emotions are sure to surface. Be extra cautious about the things you say, promises you make, and decisions you make.
6. Beware of holding on for the wrong reasons. Be careful not to stick with a relationship just because you don’t want to “admit defeat” or on the misguided notion that your partner is suddenly going to become a dramatically different person.
7. Save the nostalgia for another time. You’ll only muddle your already mixed feelings if you reread old love letters, linger over photos of happier times, and revisit giddy journal entries. Save the reminiscences for when your head and heart are clear.
8. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you stuck. Many people remain in unsatisfactory situations simply because the future is uncertain and even scary. Shift your thinking, and view the future as exciting and brimming with possibilities.
9. Lean on those who know and love you. Call upon people who care about you. Let them surround you with support, share your burdens, and bolster your self-esteem.
10. Know that you will emerge wiser and stronger. It may not be comforting at the time, but it’s true that tough times build inner strength and sharpen your insights.
11. Realize that many relationships simply run their course. The dating process sometimes reveals that two good people are incompatible in important ways, and therefore will be much better off with other partners.
12. Summon your courage to do the right thing. It’s true that ending a dating relationship is usually tense and painful. But when you’re convinced that you and another person have no long-term future together, it’s the best—and most caring—thing to do.
13. Believe in your long-term fulfillment. A relationship that is falling apart may be sad in the short term but extremely helpful in the long term. The end of a dating relationship, while painful, might just avoid far more pain in the future.

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