Man and woman sitting on steps discussing their relationship

Resolve to Resolve: A Broken Relationship

By Nadene Neale | | Relationships

This time of year, we habitually reflect and put into action desires for what we want to do with our time left (or just the year ahead of us). Resolve is a powerful word. One definition is to reduce something into its simpler parts.

When a conflict between you and someone important feels complicated, it may feel hopeless and more accessible to walk away and close the door or just “let it go.”

But what if you tried to break down what feels complicated into its simpler parts?

Truth be truth, you may be only one uncomfortable conversation away from resolving a broken relationship.

You can face the discomfort or keep missing out. Missing out on having new shared experiences, enjoying the accolades of each other’s lives, making new memories, laughing, crying or playing together, co-creating, making sweet love, or just simply connecting.

So, what are the “simpler parts” of resolving a complicated discordance you ask?

Simple Part #1: The commitment.
Simple Part #2: The plan.
Simple Part #3: The invitation.
Simple Part #4: Execute the plan.
Simple Part #5: Revisit.

Simple Part #1: The commitment.

The decision to make a change and take action starts inside of you. If you stay committed to discordance, discordance is where you will stay. You’ll need to decide to commit to a resolution (or simply to your best effort toward it). That way, on your deathbed, you can look back and say to yourself, I did try my best.

Simple Part #2: The plan.

It starts with and ends with an uncomfortable conversation.

You’ll have to feel undesirable feelings. You’ll have to face the mistakes you’ve made and the hurt you’ve caused. You’ll have to take responsibility for those mistakes and the hurt. They will, too. The plan is simple: an uncomfortable open conversation with a few ground rules. More to come on the ground rules.

Simple Part #3: The invitation.

You can’t resolve discordance in a relationship on your own. The other person or persons must also be interested in the resolution. You’ll need to invite them into the decision space.

For example, “I know I hurt you, and I want to help make that better. Would you be open to talking with me sometime soon? I mainly want you to feel seen and heard. The conversation might be uncomfortable, but we can get through it together. I’m interested in trying. I’m sincerely hoping you are, too.”

Simple Part #4: Execute the plan.

Well, it’s time to have an uncomfortable conversation. You’ve got this!

The setting is something to consider. Comfort and no possible interruptions would be desirable (no phones, no watches, nowhere else to be soon after, no easy outs). Also, limited ability to be overheard or for one to get up and storm off would be extra bonuses. Bring tissues. Be ready for tears, theirs or your own. Tears are a good sign that you’re getting to the core, their core, or your own; try not to dry them or run from those hard-earned tears. Instead, _be_ with them, honor them, and acknowledge them.

For example, “I see some emotion came up for you. Do you want to tell me more about it? No pressure.”

Simple Part #5: Revisit.

Follow-up after a little bit of time with a reconnect request. One more effort. You’re almost there.

For example, “Hey, what’s up? How have you been feeling since we talked?”
For example, “Hi. How have you been feeling since we talked?”

And, as promised, “the ground rules.”

I developed a tool to help people engage in difficult conversations.

I call it: The Radio.

In case the above fails, you might try asking if they’d be willing to try on a conversation tool/game called The Radio.

Learn more about The Radio.

Lastly, it might be ideal to have “the uncomfortable conversation” with a mediator.

How to choose a mediator?

It could be someone you both know well who won’t take sides. Someone interested in seeing your relationship improve. Someone who can make you both feel safe and more at ease. Someone comfortable with talking about emotions and can offer a neutral and sensitive perspective. Someone who can de-escalate when needed and witness the exchange. There might be someone in your life who can meet these needs, or it might be a professional.

How to prevent discordance?

One way to keep from needing a tool like The Radio is to connect more often in more connective or profound ways. A friend and creator has developed a day-to-day proactive tool to enhance deeper connection. She calls it Plunge.

It’s an important project with beautiful intentions. You can learn more about the Plunge Toolset on the website.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.