3 Scientific Insights On How To Fix A Troubled Relationship

Relationships are living, breathing entities. They have their ups and downs and they don’t always go as planned.

What’s the best way to recover from a relationship rut? While there’s no simple answer, relationship science has found some techniques to be more effective than others at getting a relationship back on track. Here are three research-backed strategies to inject new life into a troubled romance.

#1: Cooperation over competition. Humans, by nature, are quick to engage in what psychologists refer to as “social comparison.” We judge our own worth relative to others. If I’m doing better than you, things are good. If I’m not, things are bad. While this mindset may be healthy from a motivational standpoint, it is not a recipe for relationship success. Resist the urge to socially compare yourself to your partner. Don’t feel good that you are doing a better job following your diet than your partner. Don’t be resentful if your partner experiences more career success. Instead, it’s best to view you and your partner as having an intertwined future. Success for them is success for you, and vice versa. Adopting this mentality will make you a more encouraging partner.

And, if you and your partner still need to flex those social comparison muscles, find a common goal to work toward. Maybe that’s entering a doubles tennis league or playing a cooperative board game instead of a competitive one. Make it less about you against the world and more about you two against the world. Remember, one of the core evolutionary reasons why long-term romantic partnerships came to exist was to share resources and minimize the dangers of navigating the world alone. Don’t forget that you and your partner are in this together. Never miss an opportunity to help each other and don’t let an argument or a rough patch prevent you from seeing the forest for the trees.

#2: Minimize the reality checks. It is in our nature to seek truth and ferret out false information. Evolutionary psychologists will tell you that one of the reasons why gossip exists is to keep tabs on people who may be taking more than they are contributing. At times, this is a necessary lens through which to view the world. But it can be counterproductive when it comes to romantic partnerships. Remember to give your partner space to feel heard and supported, even in times when you may not fully agree with his or her viewpoints. The truth is that we all receive so much reality checking through the course of our daily lives, it is often not necessary for one’s romantic partner to play that role. Instead, be the supportive and encouraging person that your partner wants you to be and leave the reality checking to others. People tend to come to their senses on their own.

#3: Don’t underestimate the power of radical change. Sometimes, the best medicine for a wounded relationship is radical intervention. Go out and do the one thing you said you’d never do with your partner. Take that European vacation. Move to another state or country. Don’t be afraid to re-conceptualize the entire premise of your relationship. When relationships are in serious trouble, perhaps the worst thing you can do is sit tight and hope things will get better. Take action. You may save yourself a lot of regret down the road.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: