There are so many reasons why people break up: cheating, changing expectations and interests, putting a partner on the back burner for too long, dumping them thinking the “grass was greener” with someone else… Whatever the reason, it’s all over. You are full of guilt and regret, and thinking about how to fix the relationship you ruined is just inevitable. However, only you can decide if you really want them back.
This article will give you a roadmap to assuage the hurt feelings you have caused and help to heal and make your relationship strong again. But once you decide to fix a relationship you ruined, beware that it’s going to require some real work on your part.
So, here is the question: how to fix a relationship you ruined?
And here is the answer: it won’t be easy, and it’s going to require some real work on your part. So be ready to “do the time” to fix a broken relationship for the love you want to save.
But remember: as you work on how to fix a relationship you ruined, there are no guarantees you will be successful. And it takes time.
You are about to embark on a journey that is going to take time, energy, and plenty of “eating crow.” If you are patient and focus on the goal, you’ll take all of these steps to heart.
The first step is to be brutally honest with yourself. If you were responsible for the ruined relationship, take that responsibility fully.
Identify what you did wrong and whether you were involved in some of these bad behaviours:
You need to identify the mistakes you made first of all. And then you must commit to not making these same mistakes again before you develop any kind of a plan to fix a broken relationship.
Above all, be completely honest with yourself about all the role you played in a damaged relationship. This is not the moment to let your ego rationalize your behavior. Taking full responsibility is not an option.
Related reading: How to Build Trust in a Relationship: 15 Tips
It’s not enough to simply say that you have taken an objective look at your bad behaviors that caused the relationship problems and vow not to repeat them. You can’t just tell your love that you have turned over a new leaf and want to renew the relationship.
You have to have a plan for changing your behavior:
At this point, another part of your plan may be to offer some gesture that lets them know you still love them and are sincere in your goal to fix things. Your words may mean little right now, so a small gesture might help.
Have their favorite takeout delivered to them at work or later at home.
It may not mean much, but they may at least appreciate the gesture. And it does tell them you are thinking about them. Now may not be the time for real talk, so back off from that.
Related reading: Putting Love into Action – It’s a Language
It’s one thing to let your love know that you are working on your mistakes and to make some type of a “peace offering.” It’s another to contact them directly and have that first conversation about what happened and how you want to make things right. If your partner has not blocked you, you might begin with text messages just to see if you get a response.
The message can be short – something like “I really want to talk to you about our relationship. I know I made terrible mistakes that resulted in a damaged relationship, and I am working on them. Please text me back so we can talk. I really want to fix things.”
You’ll know if they received the text, so now is the time to be patient and wait for an answer. Respect the fact that they may need time to think about it. If you don’t get a response quickly, spend time doing other things to keep yourself occupied.
You might even make a connection or two with others on this dating app – not that you will necessarily get involved with actual dating, but just having nice conversations will be good for your mental state.
Make a second contact, maybe a couple of weeks later, and, this time, maybe be a bit more specific about what you know you did wrong:
Notice three important things here:
What’s more important is that you are not making excuses for your bad behavior. There may be some, but this is not the time to go into them. If there were things that your partner did that contributed to your behavior, that is better served by couples counseling later on if you are successful in winning them back.
During your relationship, you obviously developed mutual friends and probably met their best friend too. If you aren’t making headway with your contact messages, then spending time talking with these others may help.
Make those contacts. You don’t have to get into details or let your emotions run amuck. Simply ask how your former partner is doing and if they think there is any chance that they still care about you. If your direct contacts haven’t yielded results, you might ask them to intervene for you.
And again, you wait for someone to get back to you.
If you learn that the love of your life has moved on, you have a decision to make. Do you accept that or do you persist? If it’s been a short period since you parted, they may not be “thick” into someone else just yet. You might want to try one last contact. If there is no response, you probably need to move on, regardless of your feelings. They want a permanent break, at least for now.
And keep in communication with those mutual friends. You just never know.
Related reading: Moving Forward: Your Guide on How to Stop Loving Someone
Suppose you get a response other than “Go to Hell.” In fact, you have gotten a return text, and your partner is willing to talk.
This initial conversation should never happen on the phone. Instead, call or text and ask when they are available and let them decide where they like to meet. Let them provide the details, and you accommodate them, no matter how you have to rearrange your schedule.
This will be the most important meetup people will have as they work toward fixing relationships:
Always put “when you are ready” to any such request.
You are certainly not a relationship hero to your partner. And probably not to yourself either. You chose the wrong way for whatever reason and rebuilding trust on the part of your partner may not come easily. But while they are taking time and space, what can you do to prove that you want to fix a relationship that you ruined? While this looks like it’s a lot of piling on yourself, right now that’s just what it is.
You may want to give this person a progress report of what you are doing to repair the relationship. This can be done by periodic text messages – phone calls may be seen as too intrusive right now. And don’t expect a response to your texts. When people are hurt, they may not want to have relationship conversations with the person who hurt them. Be careful about how much you try to make contact.
“Take accountability for what happened and apologize for what you specifically did. Be willing to answer any questions your partner has after the fact – they deserve to understand what happened and why. Then, make a commitment or promise going forward so your partner can feel safe in the relationship.”
Kelli Miller, psychotherapist
This is a moment where the rubber meets the road. You realize the mistake(s) you made; you have an understanding of what you need to change.
Your partner has a right to know what you intend to do differently to make this relationship work going forward. Remember, they may feel anger; they may be experiencing depression; and they may be afraid to give you another chance. If you want to have a good chance to fix the relationship, you’ll need to think about the causes of your mistakes first.
But a word of caution here: You may come to see that your partner had a hand in it too. NEVER say this, at least now at this point. It would not be helpful, to say the least. This is something that you should save for much later, maybe in couples counseling. Right now, you need to focus on how you will avoid what you did.
You cheated on your partner. Why? Maybe they had a part in it. They were so focused on other aspects of their life that they didn’t give you the time you needed. A co-worker did, and you found yourself counting on them for the support you wanted. Ultimately, the relationship led to a sexual relationship too.
Now, it’s impossible to undo that. But it is possible to take a look at that root cause and take some responsibility yourself. As your partner was ignoring your needs, did you initiate any conversation about it? Did you make your needs known? Did you suggest solutions? Perhaps it was just easier to take the route you did rather than work to save your relationship.
Make a lesson from your mistake. You have learned. And even if your relationship isn’t ultimately saved, you have good memories, and you are much wiser now as you move forward.
People goof. And sometimes they goof big and ruin relationships. While it may not be 100% successful, there is a path to fix a broken relationship if the perpetrator is willing to put in the time, effort, and self-analysis required to get the job done. If this sounds like you, go for it!