If you’re in a troubled relationship, Kristie Overstreet, clinical sexologist and author of “Fix Yourself First: 25 Tips To Stop Ruining Your Relationships,” says you need to take time and begin to work together with your partner.

“First thing you want to do is to internally ask yourself ‘am I ready to take some action to help save this relationship.’ If you’re not willing to do the work and take action---it’s not going to be favorable or fixable. A lot of couples have the idea that they want things to improve but they don’t want to take action. I ask each person in my practice to explore themselves and make sure they are ready to do the work.”

Kristie says one of the first things you can do is this: make an appointment with your partner.

“That is a great tip to have. It’s important to make that appointment. We schedule so many things in our lives. Most things don’t get done if it’s not on our schedule. Taking the time and scheduling it every week for quality time is extremely important. We can’t use the excuse that there’s not enough time in the day to build the relationship.”

Kristie says it’s also important to listen to your partner.

“When we hear our partner telling us something we are so quick to respond and give our thoughts on it. But it could be much more productive if we listen and then mirror it back to them---‘I heard you say that you get upset when I _______.’ It lets the partner know that they are heard. Then you can respond having heard exactly what they said.”

Although it’s not easy at times, Kristie urges you to focus on the positives in your relationship.

“There are so many negative things within our world and difficult things that come up in our relationships. We are not going to dump our partner or leave the relationship if they have negative aspects. Remember what the positives were when you fell in love with the person.”

Just as important is this: take responsibility for your own happiness.

“Absolutely! If we followed this suggestion I believe our relationships would be a lot more healthy. Each person needs to take their personal ownership, do the work and find their own true happiness. The partnership will grow if both individuals are emotionally healthy.”

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