How to navigate rupture and repair in relationships

rupture and repair
Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash

Have you ever felt a relationship go to the next level after you have a fight for the first time then come back together? This is the magic of rupture and repair, an essential component to healthy relationships.

The common ground you reach after the disagreement feels more solid. You feel grateful for the conflict because it’s allowed for an enhanced feeling of closeness and connection.

Even though it felt bad at the time, the rupture offered an opportunity to go deeper with the friendship or partnership. You feel like you know the person better and feel better about the relationship because it’s weathered a storm and come out intact and improved.

How does the concept of rupture and repair work? You may have done it already and if so you’ve demonstrated excellent emotional intelligence. Here are 4 healing actions that are usually involved.

rupture and repair

1. Apologize

It takes a good deal of humility to admit you’re wrong and apologize. Even when you’re not sure you’re wrong, apologizing goes a long way toward repairing a rupture in a relationship.

It shows the other person you’re willing to give something up for them. In this case, you care enough about them to sacrifice your need to be right.

2. Forgive

By the same token, receiving and accepting an apology is essential to successful rupture and repair. You inspire mistrust when you refuse to accept an apology and prefer instead to keep the rift going.

You may not be able to forgive yet and that’s okay. But denying any possibility of forgiveness means the relationship stays in rupture mode.

3. Understand

Ruptures often come from misunderstandings. If we seek to understand rather than taking offense we invite repair into the relationship.

4. Listen

Listening without prejudice to another person’s point of view will bring about repair. If we tone down our defensiveness and open our hearts to another person’s feelings, we increase connection.

Instead of identifying with a point of view, prioritize the relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon your beliefs, but resist the urge to dehumanize someone because they disagree with you.

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