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. . . And if all else fails?

What to do when you've tried everything and your relationship still seems to be failing.

When you have done the best you can, and your relationship seems to be falling apart at the seams, what other possibilities exist? What can you do when you have difficulty sustaining intimacy in your relationship?

What options are available when the very foundation of trust is shaken by an indiscriminate act of infidelity? How can you fix things when one love partner outgrows the need for dependence and begins to noticeably relish the freedom that their new-found independence offers?

When you no longer feel exclusively special to each other; when you no longer feel recognized by the other or wanted or appreciated or perhaps you feel taken for granted, what can you do?

When the heart no longer beats faster in anticipation of the sexual intimacy you once shared, what then? How can you mend a broken heart? Most people resist change until they are backed against the wall; until they feel that there is nothing else they can do.

Change takes courage. It means taking responsibility for your relationship and being brave enough to take that first step toward change while you are still afraid.

Change takes effort. You must do something different. Sometimes it is important to accept the fact that you may not be able to do it all by yourself or even with your love partner. If you need help, ask for it.

Love partnerships die of neglect. Money, sex, and family problems are only symptoms, they are not the cause. If we value our relationships, we must learn that they require lots of love, attention to detail, time, dedication and continued maintenance.

The changes that are required to maintain an intimate and healthy love relationship are often bigger than both love partners can manage by themselves. When there is a desire to move through the rough spots that all love relationships inevitably experience; when love is present, and the desire for change is mutual, it is time to talk about working things out. . . together.

There are many ways to help us heal the hurt. Study after study has shown that when love partners have difficulties, first they consult their friends and relatives and the most common professional they approach is their medical doctor and in some cases, their spiritual leader.

It is unfortunate that many people often associate the seeking of the services of a professional marriage and family therapist as an admission of failure. So what? There is no shame in taking care of yourself. Therapy is one of the choices. It can make clear the way to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, you can now make a choice. To sit around, knowing there is a problem and not doing anything about it can be as painful as staying in an unhealthy love relationship because you are afraid of being alone again.

Studies say women are more likely to seek counseling than men. I am a man, so I can say this. Sometimes men are jerks! We often feel that we must maintain our ego-centered macho image by refusing to admit we may need help. What nonsense! Men are human beings, too. Human beings have problems. Some men often view seeking help as a weakness. What a crock!

To seek the advice of a professional when things are falling apart can only be a sign of strength. We use that same argument to justify why people should use our own professional services in our everyday work, yet we are too afraid or too stubborn to admit that we need help. We feel that we are "man enough" to work it out by ourselves.

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