Rebuilding relationships

Author: August Clarke

If you’ve ever had a fall-out with someone close to you or been through a break-up then you might be familiar with how difficult it can be to let go of the confusion, hurt and anger that accompanies bitter separations. Despite this, a lot of the time letting go of certain people turns out for the best and eliminates unneeded toxicity from your life.

Not all falling out’s are permanent, however, and sometimes it is possible to salvage a previously damaged relationship. What people don’t always think about is how frustrating and difficult it can be when you actually attempt to rebuild those connections, whether they are familial, platonic, or romantic. It doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it to try, but trying to get back to the same place you were at with a person you care about prior to any drama or grief you put each other through is rarely an easy process. There are a couple important things that might be useful to remember.

Allow yourself time to adjust

When you first start talking to or seeing someone again after a major fight or break, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that everything is going to be exactly as it was before. This is something I really struggled with after reconciling with a friend that I hadn’t seen for three months due to a falling out. At first, I was exhilarated and happy that we were on good terms again and I was eager to jump back into the same routine we used to have. It didn’t take long to figure out that things weren’t going to be the same as they used to be.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen someone, it’s only natural that you will both have changed in ways that are unfamiliar to each other. That can take some getting used to. It’s also relevant to point out that whatever triggered the collapse of your relationship in the first place may create new sources of tension that you also don’t know how to deal with.

This is really tough to come to terms with. At the end of the day, it’s important to realize that your relationship with this person will most likely be of a different nature than it used to be. It doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. A lot of the time it is even for the best. Nevertheless, it can still be hard to deal with.

At the start of rebuilding a relationship, it might be a good idea to allow yourself time to get used to seeing them again in a friendly context, even if that means seeing them less than you used to at first.

Honesty and communication is key

The problem with damaged relationships is that they generally damage trust on some level, too. Sometimes saying “sorry” and trying again isn’t always quite enough to make everything okay again. Re-establishing the trust you used to have with someone after it has been broken is one of the hardest, most stressful things that you may have to deal with.

There’s really not much you can do to repair it unless you are honest with each other and communicate clearly, in a constructive and non-confrontational way. If it is hard for you to open up to people, this can be really difficult, but I can honestly say that suffering in silence has never eased my anxiety in the same way that an open, honest conversation has. Building that honesty is a great way to repair trust in a relationship.

Rebuilding a damaged relationship is hard and can call up a lot of unexpected and unpleasant emotions. Remember to be gentle with yourself and with your friend/family member/significant other. Rebuilding trust doesn’t happen overnight, and you’re going to have to work at it. However, it’s far from impossible, and if someone is important to you maintaining that connection is a worthy goal to have.