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Get through a rough patch in your relationship

Going through a tough time with your partner? Here are some strategies for surviving it

by Psychologies

Express yourself

To express means to ‘push out’ – to get feelings out of your body and into the open,’ says Sarah Rozenthuler, psychologist and author of Life-Changing Conversations (Watkins, £8.99). ‘But you don’t necessarily have to express them to your partner. Therapists, coaches and counsellors can be the emotional sponge that we all sometimes need in life.’

Try the 15-minute rule

‘To move forward in your communication together, take it in turns to talk uninterrupted for five minutes each, followed by five minutes of joint conversation,’ suggests Christine Webber, a Harley Street psychotherapist, specialising in CBT and author of e-book How To Mend A Broken Heart (Bloomsbury, £4.99). After a strict 15 minutes, do something completely different together.

Communicate difficult feelings

Tricky feelings, such as resentment, don’t go away; they fester, cautions Rozenthuler, so have that conversation. ‘A few moments of discomfort may save your relationship in the longer term – the key is to disagree respectfully,' she points out.

Work on you

You may need to spend some time alone. ‘Go on a course, read a book, discuss strategies with a friend,’ suggests Rozenthuler. ‘If you feel cranky, ask yourself what will help you feel more balanced. Don’t expect your partner to bring peace, happiness or excitement to the relationship if you haven’t found it yourself first.’

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Photograph: Corbis

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