Reboot your relationship

Don't neglect your relationship

by take-a-break |
Published on

In need of a marriage makeover or a friendship fix-up? Here’s how to give your relationships an audit, and discover more meaningful connections

If we want a health check-up, we’ll visit our GP. But what about our relationships?

Sometimes it can be hard to give them the attention that they need. Instead, we coast along expecting them to take care of themselves. But after a while, we might notice that we’re neglecting the needs of some of the people we love, or perhaps they’re neglecting ours.

How can we take stock to see which connections are truly benefiting us, and which may need some work?

Dee Holmes, Senior Practice Consultant at Relate, says: ‘A relationship audit is a great way of ensuring that we’re investing our time, energy and attention in the relationships that bring most meaning and fulfilment to our lives. It allows us to move forward in our relationships in a healthy way, instead of letting issues build and resentment grow.

‘When you’re taking an audit of your relationships, you’re taking an audit of your life. It’s about reflecting upon your own needs and using those reflections to optimise your relationships for healthier, happier and more fulfilling bonds.’

Here, she explains how…

First, reflect

‘The most important question to first ask yourself is: How is this relationship making me feel? In most part, does it make me happy? And if I’m not happy, what’s making me feel dissatisfied?

‘For example, you might feel a relationship has become a bit one-sided or maybe your goals as a couple no longer align.

‘It’s also worth asking yourself: Are there things I could be doing to improve this relationship, and if I’m not doing them, why not?

‘By asking yourself these important questions, you can start to gauge the current health of your relationships, what’s good about them, what’s working and what isn’t.’

Consider quality over quantity

‘We might think we have lots of friends, but to avoid spreading ourselves too thinly, it’s worth questioning what our relationship needs are at this point in our life, and which relationships are currently nurturing those needs most.

‘For example, do we have someone in our life who makes us really laugh? Someone we can depend on no matter what? Someone who gives great advice?

‘Knowing our needs helps us to see whether we have the right people in our life and where to best direct our time, energy and effort for the most meaningful and fulfilling relationships.’

Be objective

‘When feeling frustrated by a relationship, ask yourself: Are my expectations of this relationship realistic and am I being fair?

‘For example, is someone making less effort because they have a lot on a plate currently, or because you’re at different stages in life?

‘Always question whether a shift in the dynamic of a relationship is temporary or long-term, and what might be behind it.’

Communicate your needs

‘We often make the mistake of assuming another person knows how we’re feeling or how their actions are coming across, but we all think differently and we are not mind readers.

‘Communication is key. Always start the conversation talking about your own feelings and owning your part in the relationship.

‘You might even ask: Is there anything I could be doing to improve our relationship?

‘Often we put off having difficult conversations, but as long as they’re approached sensitively, the results are usually beneficial.’

Make a plan

‘When performing an audit on a romantic relationship, it’s always useful to reflect together on where you are now and where you want to get to.

‘You might consider: What are our current strengths and weakness? What are our values? What are our goals and what changes can we make?

‘Then consider realistic steps you can take.

‘There’s no point saying: “Let’s both make more effort”, as this doesn’t really mean anything. Your plan needs to be tangible. For example, you might take it in turns to plan a fun activity to do together every weekend.

‘Often people think if you have to work at a relationship it’s not worth it, but that’s not always the case. To get true benefits from any relationship you have to be willing to put some effort in.’

• For more info, visit and navigate to ‘relationship toolkits’

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