By Christine Murray, Healthy Relationships Initiative Director

It’s natural to feel alone and isolated when you’re facing chaos in a relationship with someone who’s very close to you. That person may be your primary source of support, so when that bond is fragile, you may feel lonely and confused about where you can find help.

However, reaching out for help from trusted friends and family members can be an important step toward moving beyond the chaos. If you’re afraid to admit that you need help, remind yourself of the following: “People who care about me would want to help me get through this.”

Before you reach out for help from friends and family, however, take some time to think through how to do this in the way that’s most likely to help your current situation and least likely to make it worse. Think through the details of whose help and advice you want to seek, and consider any possible negative side effects of involving any other people in your relationship problems.

Also, consider your intentions for seeking help: Are you reaching out because you want the other person’s support and guidance, or are you trying to find people to take your side and turn against the other person? Although the latter motive may offer some temporary relief, involving someone else in that way can lead to long-term problems.

Here are some other questions to help you consider who in your life might be helpful to ask for support in the midst of a relationship challenge:

  • Would this person have my best interests at heart?
  • Will this person offer me objective, reasonable advice, even if that means possibly telling me about things they think I’m doing that might be contributing to this situation?
  • Does this person know enough about my history to understand why I think and feel the way I do?
  • Is this person a good listener?
  • Can I trust this person not to tell the details of my problems to other people?

If you can identify one or more people who you can answer “yes” to most of all of the above questions, consider how you might reach out to them for their support. This support can be crucial for helping you to feel connected and cared for as you face the difficult times in your relationship.

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