6 Tips for Navigating Romantic Relationships When You’re Not at Your Best

Young couple with paint brushes

For many of us, romantic relationships tend to be by far the most challenging kind of relationships of all. When we are at our best, they can require a lot of energy and attention to handle well. When we are not at our best, for example, when we are under the weather, overtired, over-stressed or otherwise compromised in some way, navigating romantic relationships effectively can become extremely challenging. These six simple tips can help navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of romance well, even when we are not our best self:

Slow it Down
Making quick decisions and taking actions without considering them carefully can fuel negative thinking and false beliefs undermining your ability to use reason, logic and critical analysis. When making decisions and taking actions related to relationship issues, take care to consciously slow things down.

Ask a Friend
Seek the opinions of a trusted friend and revisit your options at different times to ensure you don’t make rash choices and that you can see things with a more objective, accurate point of view.

Mirror, Mirror!
Learn to use the simple, but extremely powerful technique called “Mirroring” in all important discussions with a paramour. In mirroring, you simply mirror back to your partner exactly what you heard them communicate before commenting on it or responding to it with your thoughts, opinions or interpretations. You will be endlessly surprised at how the simplest statements are heard differently by different people. This not only dramatically improves the accuracy and quality of communication by allowing for correction of misinterpretations, but also creates of strong sense of being heard and understood in each person.

Prioritize Adequate Rest
Taking care to get proper sleep is critical. Inadequate sleep and chronic fatigue is associated with relationship problems, irritability and impatience. Poor judgment and negative thinking related to relationship issues can be exaggerated even more.

Do a Self-Check
Staying calm during stressful and maddening situations in your relationship can require a substantial amount of emotional energy. In addition to feeling down or depressed, your emotional resources can be impacted by many things that are often out of your awareness like having a slight cold or being worried about a friend going through a tough time. The cumulative effect of these normal life stressors can result in a huge impact on your emotional resources to cope with relationship challenges. Take a few moments at the start of each day to rate your emotional energy level from one to 10, and identify some of the reasons impacting your rating. Simply identifying that your emotional resources are unusually compromised on a particular day, and having some awareness as to why, can actually bolster your energy level and help minimize vulnerability for poor judgment and inaccurate negative thinking.

Control What You Can
When your emotional resources are less than optimal, be proactive instead of reactive and strategize to prevent situations that you know usually incite frustration instead of just trying to function as usual. For example, if you know your trip to Costco tends to try your patience on even your best days, reschedule for another time on days that your relationship is more challenging.