By Christine Murray, Healthy Relationships Initiative Director

Relationships can be the source of so much pleasure and joy in life. There are few joys that rival the wonderful feeling of truly and deeply connecting with a person who we love and care for. Healthy, happy relationships offer so many opportunities for experiencing this joy and happiness, whether it’s a romantic date with your intimate partner or a fun-filled day with your family.

With the depth of the joy we can experience in the context of close, loving relationships, it’s no surprise that the pain we can experience in relationships can run just as deeply. In fact, I think it is because we know the joy of our relationships that the pain can be magnified. Not only do we face the direct source of our pain–whether it’s a betrayal, a conflict, a loss of trust, a sense of being taken for granted, or an unmet expectation–but we also indirectly face the fear of losing the joy of connection within that relationship.

If not managed well, relationship problems and conflicts can spiral quickly out of control. A relationship that once felt safe and comforting can begin to feel like utter chaos. In this chaos, it’s normal to feel like you just don’t know what to do. This is especially true if the efforts you’re making to turn things around just aren’t working. You may be reaching out to the other person to try and reconnect, but they’re not budging or listening. You’ve reached a stalemate, and you feel stuck, lost, and confused.

When this sort of chaos erupts in your relationships, it’s natural to feel hopeless and be tempted to give up. But, even in the most hopeless relationship situations, there can be hope for a positive change to occur. Today, we’re starting a series of Healthy Relationships Initiative blog posts to help you if you face this type of situation in a relationship. Starting tomorrow, we’ll cover a series of 8 steps you can take to move toward some calm and growth in the midst of the chaos. Along with each suggestion in this series, I’ll offer a potential affirmation that you can use to provide a sense of calm and reassurance in the midst of chaotic times.

Stay tuned throughout the coming days for more on ways to manage relationship chaos. We hope you’ll find this information useful, whether you need it now or tuck it away for future relationship challenges in your own life or the life of someone you care about.