Even when a breakup is warranted, it can be messy and painful. Things often are said that are later rued, and both people usually are hurt. Breakups rarely leave friendly relationships in their wake - the residue of a breakup can be every bit as acrimonious as that of a nasty divorce. Breakups sometimes take place when the couple still love each other - this is so very tragic, but dramatic circumstances within the relationship prevent the couple from being together.

Healthy long-term relationships are characterized by an easy air of convivial collegiality - even when arguing, there's little doubt the two love one another. A relationship in trouble, though, exhibits none of this comfortable geniality. Neither partner displays any interest in doing anything with the other, and it seems more like a motel than a home, with each partner checking in and out during the day, with no emotional commitment.

There's no eye contact - in fact, there's no contact, period - physical intimacy is one of the first victims when a relationship goes bad and begins the decline to breakup. Gone are the flirtatious glances and the random caresses. There's more passion in a government office.

Both parties in the relationship know there's a problem - if a stranger in the home can see it, of course they're aware. If they want to mend and restore the relationship, the first thing they've got to do is sit down together and honestly confront their problems together. This isn't a time for assessing blame, but for two adults who care about each other to analyze their relationship honestly and openly with each other. It's the beginning of re-establishing communications between them.

After talking together, they must part for a while and contemplate on their talk and on whether they're willing to make the commitment and sacrifices necessary to save the relationship. This is no time for either to give lip service to rescuing the relationship - if either one isn't committed to preserving the relationship, they should let it end.

At this point, assuming both have confirmed their desire to save the relationship, it's time to sit down once again and get down to the substance of discussing the sometimes hurtful specifics. Don't get all entangled in your ego now - you've got a chance to save your relationship; don't blow it by pointing fingers and assigning "accountability." When a relationship's in jeopardy, the blame rarely falls only on one person's shoulders. Instead, concentrate on identifying and resolving problems that are breaking you two apart. Agree to do only to those things you can honestly and sincerely do - don't make pledges you can't keep. If that's your approach, you might as well break up now.

Now it's time to start the second step - rebuilding your aspirations and ambitions. You've identified problems and at least tentatively set about solving them. Perhaps some of them were due to the dreams and promises you shared when you first got together being abandoned; maybe one or both of you grew out of them and left the other behind. Now's the time to come back together and synchronize your dreams and discover that road of common interests and hopes to walk together. If you care deeply about each other even though you don't really share many interests or dreams, don't be too concerned - some special couples have glorious relationships without sharing any particular interests or aspirations, but those they have are complementary. As long as you can continue to care for each other and continue to express it in word and in deed, your relationship should stay secure and thrive.

Third, stay concentrated on rebuilding your relationship and making your future together. Don't slip, don't get lazy and fall back into the old habits of not communicating, and growing isolated. And when you need it, go ahead and ask for help. Now you're at a point where you've become used to problem-solving, and when new issues crop up, you're more than able to deal with them immediately so that they don't become overwhelming. The time will come when, looking back, the two of you will recognize that this crisis was probably the best thing that happened to you!

Author's Bio: 

Steve Steiner enjoys helping men deal with the conflicts and challenges they experience in relating with women and helping them form successful relationships.

If you found this article helpful and would like to discover more ways to improve your relationship, also check out Stop Breaking Up and Second Chance Romance Review.