So you messed up. No human is perfect. We all mess up now and then. If you have a second chance at your relationship, follow these 3 tips to fix it, and not mess it up again.
1. Fix Your Mess by Asking Them How to Repair the Relationship
Messing up can make both you and your partner feel uncomfortable feelings. Your first instinct is to fix it the way you want someone to act if the situation were reversed. The thing is, you are the one who messed up. Doing what feels right to you won’t fix anything.
Romantic comedies often portray winning the heart of someone to be a series of grand romantic gestures to prove your love. No matter how often someone (in the movies, usually a cisgender woman) turns someone else down or even acts politely showing no interest, the pursuer (usually a cisgender man) will continue the gestures. Movies like Hitch use this trope in pursuing new relationships. Movies like When Harry Met Sally depict people being awful to each other, then fixing the relationship through huge performative professions of love.
At their worst, these movies send the message that bad, or even stalker-like behavior, is romantic. Even the least toxic romantic comedies are like manuals giving tips about grand romantic gestures as the only way to fix a relationship mess. Flowers, gifts, emotional professions of love, etc. are great! For some people. Other people just get annoyed by it. If you want to fix your relationship mess, you need to behave in the way your partner wants you to. It was their feelings you hurt, and therefore it is their decision on how you repair those feelings.
Ask your partner for tips on what they want you to do. Think about it together. Talk about it out loud. Learn about each other’s Love Languages and come up with strategies that will ensure you meet both of your needs.
2. Fix Your Mess by Working on Your Relationship With Yourself
See a therapist: mental health matters in relationships. Your ability to handle conflict, stress, change, and communication are all part of your mental health. Even if you don’t have a mental illness, messing up can hurt people’s feelings. Hurt feelings lead to mental health issues.
Mental health issues make it impossible to fix a relationship. See a therapist as an individual first to work on your relationship with yourself. Then, see a couple’s therapist for tips on how to manage your relationship together. Fix your mess. See a therapist.
3. Fix Your Relationship Mess by Preparing to Start Over
You messed up. Now you both need to make changes so you can move forward with your relationship. The only way to change is by starting over at the beginning. That means doing whatever you need to do to let go of the past and build a “new normal” in your relationship.
I’ve been in this kind of a mess. Right around the third year of our marriage, my partner and I almost broke up. We only separated for three days, but it was serious. In this scenario, we had both messed up. Deciding to stay together meant we were deciding to start over. If I had refused to let go of my feelings and punish my partner by reminding him of how he messed up whenever I was mad, our relationship would have become toxic.
We also had to commit to building a “new normal.” That meant recognizing how our relationship would never be the same as before. The relationship we had was the relationship we built with our first chance. Well, we messed that first chance up. We needed to roll up our sleeves and fully engage in building a new relationship based on the changes we were making. And I can honestly say we have never been happier or more in love.
Moral of the story- it’s okay to mess up. The good news is you can fix it if you’re willing to put in the work. Have you ever messed up royally? Were you able to fix it? Let us know in the comment, and be sure to stop back into Love Aroono all of your love advice.