Helping your partner through difficult times

All relationships face their ups and downs. Frankly, it’s inevitable. It’s important to remember, though, that just because there are difficulties doesn’t mean that the relationship is bad. You might have a nearly perfect relationship, but other aspects of your life may cause pain, heartache, or challenges.

When your partner is going through something, sometimes it’s not always clear what they’re going through, or that they are going through something at all.

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Listen

When listening to your partner while they are facing a challenge, part of that process might involve listening even when they aren’t talking. Sometimes, people shut down during difficult times, so it would be helpful to look for the signs. Maybe your partner is being very quiet, or not themselves. It could mean they are depressed.

While you may want to know everything that is going on right away, keep in mind that it may be difficult for your partner to share everything. Tell them that you are there for them, but let them share when they are ready. And when you listen, actually listen.

Be sympathetic

Sometimes, your partner’s problems may seem strange to you. They might be upset about something that you don’t understand, or be facing an issue that you don’t even view as an issue. Part of being sympathetic, though, means casting aside any feelings you have and letting your partner feel what they feel.

Don’t judge your partner for what they are going through. Understand that there may be layers to their problems, so even if an issue seems silly, it may have triggered a deeper problem, whether that’s something internal, or an experience in their past.

Don’t always try to fix

This can be difficult, especially when your partner is hurting. If you love them, then you probably want to do everything in your power to get them to happiness. Sometimes, though, attempts to help can hurt.

Even giving advice, when not asked for, can come across as unhelpful. Your partner may have already thought about the advice you’ve given, or it could come across as telling your partner what to do. So, try to be aware of what they are going through, and don’t try to do something for them that they don’t want you to do.

Give them what they need

Sometimes, all your partner might need is someone to listen to. It can be tricky, because if someone is going through difficult times, they might not always know what it is they need. That’s part of being in a relationship. Over time, you will come to know what exactly it is they need in a situation.

One helpful approach would be to ask your partner what would be helpful when they are facing difficulty – but ask them when they are no longer going through it. This might be a great opportunity for them to communicate their needs when they have a clear head, and allow you to help them when they need help, even when they may not be in a place to communicate it later.

Men hugging each other.