Agree that changes need to be made, and the relationship cannot continue as it is.,
Sincerely try to empathize with his misgivings about the relationship.,
Look for concrete ways for how some of his needs might be addressed.,
Remember you are not trying to “win” an argument.,
Express yourself clearly.,
Be on his side.,
Avoid manipulative tactics.,
Acknowledge your feelings of abandonment.,
Be your most mature self.,
Believe that you are worth staying with, and act that way.
This allows room for both points of view and states your position as an agreement. It also puts you on more equal footing in the discussion, and encourages a more cooperative approach.;
, A lot of times suggesting a break up is a sign of desperation when needs are not being met. What does he need from the relationship that he’s not getting? And are these things realistic? Does he maybe feel pressured by your wishes and are those realistic?
Encourage him to talk about what he needs, and listen to what he’s saying. Put aside defensiveness and try to understand where he’s coming from.
Ask for specific examples of situations where he felt his needs were being neglected. Examine any recent disagreements you might have had, and try to identify the needs that were associated with them.
Does he need more affirmation from you for his accomplishments and sacrifices?
Does he feel that you are contributing equally to the relationship?
Is he bored with his current routine?
Are some of the expectations from the beginning of the relationship not being met?
Do you have conflicting values about family and relationships?
, Let him know that you are willing to compromise and refocus the conversation on specific problems, rather than having the whole relationship called into question.
This also means that the next time he mentions “break up”, you try to confirm what issues he’s concerned about. Make sure he understands that he’s able to address issues without mentioning the break-up as a threat to you. Mentioning breaking up without the urge to follow trough can cause lots of anxiety.
Rather than trying to figure out everything by yourself, try to open up a discussion on finding solutions besides a break up.
Give him some suggestions for changes you can make to help him get what he needs. These depend on your particular situation, but here are some commonly applicable ones.
Suggest rearranging your schedule and habits to make more time for him.
Suggest fun activities you can share that align with some of his goals.
Let him off the hook sometimes for some social obligations he doesn’t enjoy. Be realistic and compromise to make sure he supports you at functions where you really need him bu can bow out of non-essential obligations.
Set up a compromise for when you disagree about movies, music, or other cultural activities. Try to mention out loud that it’s not necessary to have a discussion about this. Say: ‘It’s not important to have a discussion about that video. We disagree; that’s all right.’
Agree to give him more time alone to spend with his own interests, family, and friends, if that’s his wish.
, The goal is to find common ground, so you can work together to solve conflicts. You are each entitled to your opinions, but ultimately the relationship depends on finding ways in which you can both be “right”.
, Remember that even if what you have to say is valid, how you present it counts. Anything that sounds oppositional or accusatory might be taken as the start of a fight, especially if he’s already agitated.
, Understand that you probably won’t fix everything in your relationship over the course of one talk. Allow yourselves time to express your thoughts.
Exercise common courtesy. Don’t talk over him, and don’t interrupt. Things might seem really urgent at the moment, but it’s important that he feels that you’re listening.
Take his emotional state into account. Give him some time to adjust. He might be angry, and possibly confused. Set the tone for fairness, and give him room to cool off.
, Move past blame in order to find positive solutions. Telling him what happened is his own fault can soothe your ego when he’s threatening to break up with you, but if you want him to stay, let him know that you can accept the person that he is.
Be careful when bringing up the past. Aristotle maintained that the main purpose of the past tense was to identify where blame should be placed. Be evenhanded in your recollection of past events. And write down relevant past behaviours, so that they won’t interfere with everyday-situations. Don’t berate him over things he can’t change. Putting him in a state of permanent condemnation over things he has no control over makes it seem like he’s incapable of pleasing you.
Don’t assault his character. Nobody wants to be around people who dislike their inner qualities. If you feel you have to criticize, emphasize that you are talking about his behavior. And you’re doing this to help him. You would want the same from him.
Understand the difference between expressing feelings and assigning blame. Yes, you should respect each other’s feelings, but starting a sentence with the words “I feel…” doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without consequences.
When you start a sentence with “I feel…” make sure the rest of the sentence contains a feeling like “happy”, “frustrated”, or “confused.”
Be aware that it’s very common to say “I feel…” to disguise an accusation. “I feel you’re seeing it wrong” is not talking about a feeling.
, Nobody wants to admit they can be manipulative, but sometimes in the heat of an argument, logic flies out the window and it’s easy to resort to childish tactics to trick the other person into giving you what you want.
Learn to notice manipulation. The main way to recognize it is that it unfairly limits the other person’s choices. Look for a good relationship counseling reference for more examples and discussion of manipulative tactics. Here are some common ones:
Name-calling: “Only a stupid person would think that.”
Stonewalling: Giving someone “the cold shoulder” in order to punish them. Giving them time or taking time, is different. If you need some time, mention this! “I need some time, leave me alone for a minute, I feel frustrated.”
Threats: “Go ahead and leave, but I’m keeping the dog.”
appeals to pity: “How can you leave me after everything I’ve been through?”
Instead, give positive reasons to stay. Emphasize that you love him, not that “he can’t do any better”. Manipulative behavior doesn’t address the real problems in the relationship, and can only breed resentment.
, As infants, we can die if we’re abandoned, and so if we think we’re being left behind, we react with extreme fear and emotional outbursts. These emotional reactions can persist into adulthood if they are not adequately addressed, and can complicate relationships.Remember that no matter how painful a break up is, you can survive it. Even if you don’t want to break up, remembering this can help you find the strength to make necessary changes and express your feelings without breaking down or acting childish.
If he needs to think, give him the space he needs. Tell him that you want him to stay, but that you respect his decisions. Doing this shows you are not desperate or clingy, and that he’s allowed to have his own feelings.
Don’t let go of your position of strength. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t admit that you might be wrong, or that you can’t show your vulnerability. Just remember that whatever happens, you can trust yourself.
, The overwhelming urge will be to panic, become upset and lash out, but this will only make things worse. Take a minute to relax if you feel like you’re about to say something you might regret.
Think of anything that you do well and easily, even just a routine task like doing the laundry, and recall the sense of competence you feel when doing it.
If you get really angry or upset, try counting backwards from ten and taking deep breaths.
, Remember you have a lot to offer, and you can prove this to yourself and to him by acting your best. Being friendly, polite, strong, and loving is more effective than just listing the reasons why he should stay. Remind him of why he fell for you in the first place.