There is a theory in social psychology that states that when a couple is in a somewhat happy relationship, they think that their relationship is better than everyone else’s. All the fights, lying, deceit – couples in “good enough” relationships start to believe that all of those problems are just part of the process, and that because their relationship is “so great,” all of their problems will be solved in the future.
Over time, however, these relationships start to break down, until the couple is stuck in a broken relationship. Broken relationships generally come in two categories:
- Relationships where the couple stays together but is generally unhappy.
- Relationships where the couple breaks up and gets back together more than once.
Broken relationships are hard to heal. You have to admit to yourself and to your partner that your relationship is currently broken, so that the two of you can work together to try to permanently fix it for the future.
What Makes a Broken Relationship?
Broken relationships are sometimes hard to identify. There is a difference between a few fights in a short period of time and a true broken relationship. At times, a broken relationship may not even seem broken. Yet behind the scenes the relationship is crumbling, even if neither partner seems to notice. Signs of a broken relationship include:
- Constant Fighting – A clear sign of a broken relationship is consistent fighting. Big things, little things – doesn’t matter. You may be fighting over money or over laundry or over leaving the toilet seat up. People in healthy relationships learn to let things go, while those in broken relationships spend more time fighting than they do being affectionate.
- Quick Frustration – When the little things have started to eat away at the relationship, frustration starts to take hold. Something as simple as turning a channel slowly can cause a partner to roll their eyes and grind their teeth as they get frustrated over the small things that they used to either not notice or think was cute early in the relationship. Frustration is a sign that your relationship may be broken.
- Persistent Correcting – When someone is wrong about a fact, there is no harm in giving them a little nudge. “Actually dear, it was on Cherry Street, not Apple Blvd. Remember the coffee shop across the street?” Occasional “correcting mistakes” is not a sign of a broken relationship. However, when that correcting becomes persistent, that may be a sign that the relationship is starting to corrode. Human beings make thousands of tiny mistakes each day. Constant correcting may mean that a partner has become hyper vigilant and is looking for the mistakes.
- Emotional Rollercoaster – Healthy relationships are just that – healthy. If your relationship is taking you on an emotional rollercoaster, it is a strong sign you may be in a broken relationship. Emotional rollercoasters are one of the main reasons that broken relationships go unnoticed. When someone is on an emotional rollercoaster, they often remember how great the highs feel while forgetting the lows. Yet healthy relationships are a constant source of happiness. If you are feeling constant ups and downs, your relationship may be broken.
- Lack of Trust and Intimacy – When couples are in broken relationships, they start to distance themselves emotionally. Not only do they lose obvious trust in their partners, but they start to keep secrets about things that aren’t important, partially because they themselves have lost trust in their partner’s support.
Fixing a Broken Relationship
If you find yourself in a broken relationship, there is hope. The first step is to admit that the relationship is broken. The next step is to slowly start to rebuild your relationship back up again, tackling each small problem and giving yourselves a stronger foundation. Broken relationships are bad relationships, but over time, they can be healed, and you can find yourself in a happy and healthy relationship once again.