surviving a relationship rough patch

5 Relationship Rules for Surviving a Rough Patch

After the initial honeymoon phase of a relationship, it’s normal for couples to go through periods of closeness and distance based on the stage of the relationship they’re in, the stage of life they’re in and various outside influences. It’s impossible for couples to be collectively feeling their best all the time, which means that couples often go through rough patches.

During a rough patch, partners may feel less emotionally close to one another or they may find that every little thing they’re partner does drives them crazy. In other cases, they might feel as if every little disagreement is worth fighting over. Though rough patches are a natural part of every relationship, especially during times of major change or stress, it can still be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in a rough patch.

Instead of losing hope for your relationship, consider these five relationship rules to help you get through a rough patch:

Remember the good times

If you and your partner are in the height (or would it be depths?) of a rough patch, it might be hard to remember why you are together in the first place. If things are not going well, try to remember the good times in your relationship. Think about when you first met, the reasons that you fell for one another and your favorite memories with them. Focusing on these things, rather than the negative, will help you remember why you are together in the first place. Thinking about the good times can also inspire you to reflect on what made those good times so good. Did you have a different routine going? Were you having more sex? Did you make a point of having date night? Thinking about the good times can help you recognize healthy habits that were contributing factors to the good times that you can lean on to try and get out of a rough patch.

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Spend more time together

If you and your partner are in a rough patch and just are not getting along, it may seem counterintuitive to spend MORE time together, but this is exactly what you should do. When couples are in a rough patch, it is often because they are out of sync. Planning date nights, scheduling relationship check-ins, starting a new hobby together: these are all ways that you and your partner can start to spend more time together to try and reignite your spark or rediscover your relationship. Spending time together, especially in romantic ways, will also lead to more intimacy in the relationship (more on that below), which can help you break out of a rough patch.

Prioritize intimacy

Intimacy is a super important part of any romantic relationship. If you and your partner are in a rough patch, reflect on the level and types of intimacy in your relationship. Do you feel supported and appreciated by your partner? Do you snuggle together in bed? Are you having sex often? It is important to consider all aspects of intimacy in your relationship from emotional intimacy to physical intimacy to sexual intimacy. Prioritizing intimacy in all its forms will probably lead to even more intimacy because intimacy plays off of itself.

Get to the root of the problem

While some rough patches arise as a natural part of the relationship cycle, sometimes there is a specific thing that causes a rough patch. If you and your partner go from highs to lows in short periods of time, it’s important to consider what could be underlying this rollercoaster of emotions. Getting to the root of the problem, which will take good communication and patience, will allow you to make moves to address the problem and get out of the rough patch. Remembering the good times, spending more time together and prioritizing intimacy are not enough to break you out of a rough patch if there is an unaddressed problem in your relationship. Committing to relationship check-ins and having the hard conversations can help you discover the root of the issue(s) and start repairing your relationship.

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Commit to counseling

If there is a root cause of the rough patch (and even if there isn’t), it can be hard to break a relationship out of a rough patch on your own, especially if the rough patch has stretched on for a long time. If this is the case, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to turn to a professional to help you navigate the rough patch and break free.

Identifying the root of a problem (like we mentioned above) can be very difficult if you and your partner do not know how to effectively communicate with one another (and A LOT of couples do not). If you do get to the root of the problem on your own, it can be even harder to make changes to address the problem. This is where trained professionals come in! Counseling is a great resource for couples that are going through a rough patch. Counselors are trained to help couples identify problems in their relationship, learn to improve communication, and break out of rough patches!


If you and your partner are going through a rough patch and are open to the idea of counseling, consider Relish, a relationship coaching app. Relish brings all the perks of therapy with the added convenience of being from your phone. Relish is much cheaper than other therapy options which means it won’t put any added strain on your relationship if you and your partner are already on the rocks. Relish is a great resource for couples looking to dip their toes into relationship counseling and coaching. It is also great for couples that need a fix ASAP! Relish is less about the client/counselor relationship than other forms of therapy and instead focuses on you, your partner, and your goals as a couple. The goal-oriented model allows you and your partner to see improvements quickly, which can help you break out of a rough patch and continue to improve your relationship.

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