Rebuilding a broken relationship can be intense, emotional work. It can be challenging work, too, since all relationships of any kind depend on both people actively participating.
Here are some tips that may help:
1. Be honest about what went wrong
If what broke the relationship was your fault, you need to be honest in admitting this and holding yourself accountable. If someone else broke the relationship, then you need to clearly state what you need to feel safe as a part of this relationship. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean sweeping things under the rug, no matter who is to blame. Appropriately expressing concerns and emotional responses is part of rebuilding a healthy relationship.
2. Stay calm
Emotional expression is important, but requires a public filter. Take a time out if you need. Delay your response. Refrain from engaging in text wars. Sleep on it, if you are not sure you are ready to respond. Write in your journal before actually writing a letter. If you need advice from a mentor, choose wisely and focus on your own behavior, so as not to make things worse with gossip.
3. Focus on yourself
You can’t change other people. You can only change you, and you are responsible for your behavior regardless of what others have done to you. Instead of simmering about past injuries or recent injustices, look for what you can do better, things you have learned, and who you want to become.
4. Do things differently
If you want a different kind of relationship this time around, both of you need to make different choices for behaviors and interactions.
5. Let things go
If you don’t want to repeat the past, stop living in it. Don’t re-enact past traumas in the present. Once conflict has been resolved, and emotional responses expressed, it is important to let it go and move forward.
Rebuilding a broken relationship takes time and work, and requires both people to participate. Honesty, open communication, and healthy emotional expression is important. Letting go of the past is the first step in moving forward with a repaired relationship.