Many people wish for the fairy tale romance where they all live happily ever after. Isn’t that everyone’s romantic goal in life? When you find your soulmate, everything should be sunshine and roses for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, couples living happily ever after only happens in fairy tales and movies. You’ve lived and experienced enough to realize that nobody has a perfect relationship or marriage, and anyone can have a toxic partner. It can happen to anyone.

Are you a person struggling in a bad relationship? Even though we all have disagreements and may want to call it quits, the good usually outweighs the bad. What if your relationship is more tumultuous than fulfilling?

How do you realize when your relationship is worth saving or not? Do you continue to your partner in your future, or do you feel doubtful or unnerved about it? Life is too short to stay miserable.

Is it possible to salvage a bad relationship? If you both have committed to making it work, there’s hope. Consider these ten tips for reconnecting with your lover.

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1. Go Back to the Start

When you are playing classic board games, getting sent back to start is a bad thing. In a faltering relationship, starting from the beginning, maybe your saving grace. It brings you back to the things that connected you in the first place.

Sit down together and have a heartfelt conversation about when you first met. You can write down some points to share with your partner. What attracted you to the other person and made you stand out from the rest?

In revisiting roads of the past, you may discover where you lost your love along the way. The things that formed a bond then have the power to recreate one now. Perhaps you can retrace your steps to reverse a bad relationship.

2. Offer and Receive Forgiveness

Since no human is perfect, an ideal relationship is impossible. No matter how much you are in love, you both are bound to make mistakes that hurt one other. However, when a toxic partner keeps making the same mistakes, it makes them a life habit.

There will always be thorns on the roses, and there will be many times when you are angry at each other. In a healthy relationship, couples can usually wait out the storms and find healing. Some grievous trespasses are not so easy to forgive.

One of the worst casualties in a committed relationship is cheating. It’s a betrayal that rends your heart and crushes your spirit. Frequent disagreements can also fester and create unreconcilable differences that can destroy a couple.

If you both have decided to move beyond whatever rift you had, it can only be done with forgiveness. It is a chance to offer the offending partner the opportunity to change. It’s in no way excusing or forgetting the offense.

Are you the offender? Ask for forgiveness, but you must also learn to forgive yourself. Now, you must also learn to trust again as a couple, and you should learn from previous mistakes.

3. Learn How to Connect Again to Improve a Bad Relationship

When you first fell in love, you probably wanted to spend every waking moment talking and being with your person. As time passes, some couples get used to the relationship and take the other for granted. You may have said a million times in the beginning that you can’t even breathe without talking with each other, but you soon realize you can.

In a healthy relationship, both people learn to connect on a physical and spiritual level. It goes beyond the superficiality of sex. When you are genuinely in love, you are still interested in what your partner says and feels.

When’s the last time you put down the phone or stepped away from the computer to have a meaningful conversation? Do you know what is happening in your partner’s life at this moment? A relationship can’t survive unless you stay in constant, loving communication.

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4. Go Out on a Date

Married couples often get in a rut and lose the excitement they once had. Loss of interest can quickly lead to a bad relationship. Even if you must move some things around on your schedules, making time for each other is crucial.

Set aside a day or an afternoon each week just to go on a date. Go for a walk in the park or make dinner reservations at your favorite restaurant. Bring back the fun and spontaneity in your love life.

5. Become a Toxicity Detective

While you review the internal reasons, your relationship may be going south. You should look for external ones that are toxic. Many marriages and love relationships have been ruined because of outside forces. It’s up to you to identify and eliminate them as much as possible.

Do you have friends or family members who offer nothing but negativity? Perhaps, these people are continually playing you against one another. Until these toxic folks follow reasonable boundaries, it’s best to stay clear of them.

6. Set the Game Rules

Nothing succeeds in this life without rules and boundaries, including relationships. If you and your lover haven’t set healthy boundaries, then the relationship can’t last. How can either of you be upset with a broken rule if the rule hasn’t been established?

For your relationship to flourish, set clear expectations and guidelines with each other. Don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. When you outline and understand reasonable boundaries, you are more likely to enjoy mutual respect.

If your partner feels uncomfortable spending time with you, then they should voice their feelings. Are there issues that are non-negotiable in the relationship, such as substance abuse and how you define cheating? Remember not to expect anything from your lover that you are not willing to do yourself.

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7. Learn to Color Outside of the Lines

Just because you have established mutual boundaries doesn’t mean the relationship should be static and boring. Einstein once observed that the meaning of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. People in a relationship crave variety and the element of surprise.

Break out of your rut and do something different with your partner. Take a spontaneous trip or start a fascinating hobby together. Spice up your romance and do something totally out of character for you.

8. Leave the Past in the Past to Avoid a Bad Relationship

The demise of many relationships is an unrelenting memory. As you work on forgiveness and empathy together, discuss ways to acknowledge the past and leave it there. Otherwise, past transgressions will still hold a death grip on you.

When re-evaluating the rules and boundaries, set one for arguments. Make a pact not to use the past as ammunition. If past grievances are still lethal weapons, a bad relationship is inevitable. If you both can’t go beyond the hurt, your connection will suffer.

9. Be Each Other’s Best Friend Again

Everyone needs a circle of friends beyond their love relationship. It is normal to have a girl’s night out or a weekly guy’s poker game. Isolating yourself as a couple can be just as damaging to a relationship than neglecting each other.

Yes, you probably have people you consider your best friends. However, conflict can arise if your mate isn’t at the top of your list. Nobody wants to take second place to another, especially if it’s a person of the opposite sex.

You must include time to have fun with your besties, and don’t be afraid to spend some time alone because it’s healthy. Consequently, you must try to spend just as much quality time with your lover, who should be your best friend. Like a flower, a relationship will die without proper care and attention.

10. Seek Professional Help

Some bad relationships have so many variables, and it makes it difficult for couples to reconcile. If you and your mate have decided that your relationship is on the rocks and it’s worth saving, you may need professional counseling. Just admitting there is a problem is a giant step in the right direction.

It’s not a sign of weakness to seek couples counseling. Venting to a neutral party can be helpful, and the counselor may draw out solutions you never considered. For some couples, the relationship may be beyond repair.

If your partner is toxic or abusive in any way, then it’s time to leave. You deserve someone to love and care for you ultimately. An experienced couple’s counselor can help you sort through these issues in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere. If your partner is unwilling to seek counseling as a last resort, you may need to re-evaluate your relationship.

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Final Thoughts: Know When to End a Bad Relationship

You don’t have to stay in an unhealthy, bad relationship just to feel needed and loved. Discuss these suggestions with your partner if you feel like you’re drifting apart. If you’ve done all you can do and things are still unbearable, then it’s probably a cue that it’s time to move on with your life.