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Critical Area No. 1. Identify Problems Early. All relationships are going to have problems, but if you want to save it, you’ll need to figure out what the problems are so that you can address them. You need to understand you may be 50% of the problem or even 100%, can you handle it? Can you look at the situation objectively and say “I need to change my behavior”? People can get defensive in situations like this, and refuse to admit they may be at fault and refuse to find ways to handle the problem. It’s never easy admitting that you may be wrong even to yourself.

Critical Area No. 2. Start Communicating. Communication is the key to a relationship, and if you feel that your relationship is slipping away, try some good, old fashioned, simple, communication. Sit down and talk. How long has it been since you really listened to each other? Chances are that it’s been awhile if your relationship is having problems. Talk about the problems, air them out, and talk about solutions. You may actually have no idea how your partner is feeling, but communication can change that. Just remember, communication is not you talk and your partner listens. If you want to find out what the problems are, let the partner talk, you listen and don’t keep interrupting to tell them they’re wrong!

Critical Area No. 3. Apologize When You’re Wrong. If you realize that you have been part of the problem in the relationship, make sure that you apologize for your action or inaction. Apologies can do a lot for a relationship in making it stronger, but it takes guts to apologize. The apology has to be genuine, if you do in a half-hearted way, you’re just tearing the relationship all the way down.

Critical Area No. 4. Stop the Blame Game. Stop the blame game before it ends your relationship. You shouldn’t be trying to throw all the blame on your partner anyway. Most of the time relationships fail because of problems with both partners. Blaming your partner is only going to make them defensive, which is not going to accomplish your goal. You want to discuss the problems and see if the both of you can throw out good suggestions on how to handle the situation that is a win-win for the both of you. Try and put yourself in your partner’s shoes and see things through their eyes.

Critical Area No. 5. Get Rid of Preconceived Notions. Preconceived notions are what breakups are made of. You don’t always know what your partner is thinking, so stop trying to act like you do. Stop telling yourself that they don’t care or making yourself fearful with things you think they may be thinking or doing. Stick to the facts if you want to know how to save a relationship. There’s enough to do without dealing with problems that you thought up. There’s a wise old saying, “Don’t believe anything you hear and half of what you see”. I think that’s pretty good advice.