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When a relationship you care about is draining you emotionally, you might feel desperate to fix it. Maybe you spend every free moment worried about your partner or about when your next fight is due to erupt. After dealing with so much stress, it makes sense that you'd be looking for answers. We've outlined tons of tips that can help you improve your relationship's negative patterns. To learn how you can fix your emotionally draining relationship, read on.

1
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Figure out the problem.

  1. Relationships are defined by patterns, so it's important to identify them. Try to pinpoint when you started feeling drained so you can determine what caused it.[1] Set a time to speak to your partner in a place that feels safe for both of you. Express your feelings, observations, and worries clearly, without placing blame on either you or your significant other. Remember, they'll have their own ideas too, so be prepared to listen with patience and understanding.[2]
    • Try to keep the discussion's focus on the relationship's themes, instead of getting into the back and forth of a specific fight.
    • When you and your partner identify an ongoing issue together, make sure the solution you decide on works for both of you.
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3
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Talk about your needs.

  1. In a healthy relationship, both partners should get back what they give. In an emotionally draining relationship, though, you might be investing tons of effort without actually having your basic needs met.[4] Before either of you can take care of each other's needs, you need to communicate them with each other.
    • Come up with a list of basic requirements that you need in order to be happy in the relationship.
    • This may be loyalty, a certain level of physical affection, mutual independence, and maybe a bit of reassurance.
    • Encourage your partner to come up with their own list.
    • Share your lists with each other. Together, you can brainstorm how to meet each other's needs in an emotionally sustainable way.
    • This way, the two of you are more likely to put in effort that has positive effects on the relationship.
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4
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Make compromise a habit in your relationship.

  1. At the end of the day, a draining relationship needs fixing on both sides. If during a fight, you're both only focused on your own individual interests, it’s going to be really tough to get things resolved. When you’re fighting or falling into a negative pattern, try to center your relationship’s goals first. Encourage your partner to do the same.[5]
    • If you’re fighting about who will unload the dishwasher, don’t think of your interests as competing.
    • One of you might insist that their day was more tiring, and so they shouldn’t have to. The other might say that they did it last time, so they shouldn’t have to.
    • Combine your interests and focus on compromise. For instance, you could say, "The dishwasher needs to be unloaded regardless. I get you’re tired, so I’ll do it. But next time, I’d like you to, so we’re sharing an equal load."

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Make sure you're working on the same issues.

  1. Communication is the key to fixing tough relationships. When the two of you really want to be great for each other, sometimes the only actual barrier to that goal is the misunderstanding of needs and expectations. To start a conversation about both partners’ perceptions of your relationship, try this exercise below.[6]
    • Consider six core parts of your relationship: communication, connection, investment, enjoyment, growth, trust.
    • You and your partner should take time to reflect. Then, assign each category a score, 1-10, depending on how well your relationship does in that area.
    • Use your scores' similarities and differences to start a conversation about your relationship's strengths and weaknesses.
    • Commit to working on one area of weakness each week and check in on how you both feel you did.
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Learn about attachment styles.

  1. Mismatched attachment styles can cause emotional drain. Attachment styles can be secure, anxious, or avoidant. Combinations of two of the three styles exist as well, though they’re uncommon. A person’s attachment style comes from their experiences early in life, but they can be altered with therapy and hard work.[7]
    • Secure attachment style refers to an individual’s ability to feel connected to partners, secure in those connections, and still capable of independence.
    • Anxious attachment styles indicate a person’s insecurity and emotional hunger in relationships. They can become clingy, demanding, or possessive.
    • Avoidant attachment styles refer to a fear of closeness with their partners. They ignore relationships' significance, shut down emotionally, and avoid intimacy.
    • Other combinations exist, and you can identify your style through online quizzes, research, and reflection.
    • Attachment styles can be excellent tools to talk about patterns in your relationship. They can also help you reflect on your own needs.

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Defuse fights when you can.

  1. If you can avoid big arguments, you both save emotional energy. Constant spats don't need to be the end of the world, but if you can't find a way to de-escalate your arguments, that could cause major emotional drain. If every little disagreement ends up being a giant, hurtful argument, both of you will end up feeling deflated. Try out these helpful tips and tricks below to defuse your fights.[8]
    • Use humor. When a fight pops up, try using a little silliness to keep things light.
    • For example, if you do an impression that makes your partner laugh, respond to a question in that voice.
    • Try touching. Go in for a hug, reach for your partner’s hand, or throw an arm around their shoulder.
    • Take a break. If you feel things escalating, spend a minute cooling off in separate rooms. Even just a quick pause can make a huge different!
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Admit when you're in the wrong.

  1. When you fight, owning up to your actions can defuse the situation. Sometimes, when you and your partner are in the thick of an argument, the last thing you’ll want to do is admit you were wrong. In that moment, it may feel more like admitting defeat. But in reality, to end your fight (and emotional drain) in a healthy way, letting your guard down is the key.[9]
    • First, tell your partner that you understand what you did to hurt them.
    • Next, let your partner know that you are sympathetic to how they feel.
    • The more fights that you can end quickly and positively, the less emotional drain you and your partner will feel.

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Keep complaints on the backburner.

  1. Too much complaining can harm an otherwise healthy relationship. It’s great to know your partner can rely on you as a sounding board, but too much negativity can leave one of you feeling drained and the other, unheard. When complaints from one partner wear out the patience, energy, or attention span on the other, the listening ear can end up feeling totally emotionally burnt out.[10]
    • If you tend to be the complainer, try screening some of your worries out. Ask yourself if you need support, or if you're complaining to complain.
    • If you really need help, you should be able to share with your partner. If not, find a positive spin to your comment instead.
    • If you’re the listening ear, try to be there when you sense that your partner really needs it.
    • On the other hand, don't make a big deal out of every little complaint. Offer a simple, supportive remark without opening up an entire discussion.
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Give counseling a try.

  1. A professional can help you navigate your relationship’s issues. It’s never a bad idea to get an expert’s opinion if you’re struggling in your relationship.[12] Reach out to your primary care doctor to get a referral for a great therapist in your area or try asking friends and family for a recommendation. It may be helpful to interview different therapists before you settle on one.[13]
    • Remember, if you’d prefer it, you can go to see a professional on your own instead.
    • Similarly, keep in mind that your partner may end up wanting to attend therapy longer than you will. This is totally normal!
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Spend time away.

  1. By taking a break from the relationship, you and your partner can find time to reflect. When you’re with someone, working towards improving your relationship, and constantly answering to your partner’s needs, it can be really hard to get a good sense of whether or not the relationship is working.[14] By stepping away from your relationship, the two of you can decide whether or not you’re happier and healthier on your own.[15]
    • Set clear expectations and boundaries before the break begins. No one should be getting hurt over a miscommunication.
    • Know that taking a break can be a bit of a risk. There’s always a chance that you or your partner will gain clarity during a break that leads to a breakup.
    • However, sometimes the relationship just isn’t working. Make sure you spend your break genuinely reflecting on your needs, desires, and relationship's patterns.
    • Trust that if you come back together, your relationship will have a healthier, more secure foundation to build from.

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Ask yourself whether or not it’s worth it.

  1. Even without a break, you can ask yourself questions to gain clarity. No relationship is going to be without issues, and you should make sure your evaluation reflects that. But at the same time, you should always ensure that your relationship is, overall, a source of more positives than negatives in your life.[16] Try to kick off your reflection using some of these questions below.[17]
    • Do you feel both of you care enough about the relationship working out?
    • Are you flexible with each other and within reasonable expectations, willing to change for each other?
    • Are you typically able to resolve disagreements in a friendly way?
    • Does the time you spend together add or detract from your happiness?
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  • Question
    Why does my boyfriend drain my energy?
    Tara Vossenkemper, PhD, LPC
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Dr. Tara Vossenkemper is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the Founder and Managing Director of The Counseling Hub, LLC, a group counseling practice located in Columbia, Missouri. She is also the Founder of and a Business Consultant with Tara Vossenkemper Consulting, LLC, a consulting service for therapy practice owners. With over nine years of experience, she specializes in using the Gottman Method of relationship therapy with couples on the brink of divorce, who have conflict, or who feel disconnected from one another. Dr. Vossenkemper holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Missouri, Saint Louis, an MA in Counseling from Missouri Baptist University, and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of Missouri, Saint Louis. She has also completed Level 3 training in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach and has been formally trained in both the Prepare-Enrich Premarital Couples Counseling approach and the PREP Approach for couples counseling.
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Expert Answer
    To answer that, you must analyze your life and try to make sense of the approximate timeline. How long have you been feeling emotionally drained? By doing this, you'll potentially find the possible causes for the issue. If needed, see a therapist to help you figure out what to do.
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      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Licensed Professional Counselor
      This article was co-authored by Tara Vossenkemper, PhD, LPC and by wikiHow staff writer, Caroline Heiderscheit. Dr. Tara Vossenkemper is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the Founder and Managing Director of The Counseling Hub, LLC, a group counseling practice located in Columbia, Missouri. She is also the Founder of and a Business Consultant with Tara Vossenkemper Consulting, LLC, a consulting service for therapy practice owners. With over nine years of experience, she specializes in using the Gottman Method of relationship therapy with couples on the brink of divorce, who have conflict, or who feel disconnected from one another. Dr. Vossenkemper holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Missouri, Saint Louis, an MA in Counseling from Missouri Baptist University, and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of Missouri, Saint Louis. She has also completed Level 3 training in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach and has been formally trained in both the Prepare-Enrich Premarital Couples Counseling approach and the PREP Approach for couples counseling. This article has been viewed 6,610 times.
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      Co-authors: 5
      Updated: May 29, 2022
      Views: 6,610
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 6,610 times.

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