April 6, 2021

Signs That Stress Is Affecting Your Relationship

By: Natalia Walcott

No matter how hard you try, there is no running away from stress. It can occur during any part of your day, whether it be while driving, working, running errands, or while with your partner, etc. Although you cannot always anticipate stress and prevent it from happening, you can control how you react to that stress. There is no reason to transfer your individual stress onto your partner and cause conflict when there was none to begin with. Relationships are not always easy and will present multiple challenges throughout their duration. It is important to recognize the signs that your relationship is being affected by multiple internal and external stressors. Here are a few signs to consider.

Both of You Are More Distant and Less Engaged With Each Other:
When you are stressed, you are unable to think clearly. You may lash out at your partner and be very dismissive. If you had a bad day at work and feel overwhelmed with stress, you are more likely to express feelings of irritability/ anger, withdrawal, and rejection towards your partner. At that point, you have allowed the stress from your job to spill over into your relationship. This type of negative behavior does not allow for proper communication as a couple and can lead to unnecessary arguments. The inadequate communications skills caused by your stress can lead to alienation from one another if it continues.

If you notice this taking place, take a step back and analyze the situation. Figure out what the main stressor is and work with your partner to relieve the stress so that these negative conversations can become less frequent. The use of invisible support, like cooking your partner’s favorite meal before they come home from a stressful day at work, can help alleviate the stress without directly trying to find a solution to their problems. It is common to fall out of sync with your partner every once and awhile, but do not allow it to hurt your relationship.

There Is A Decline in the Amount of Sex:
When you are stressed, your mind is preoccupied with dealing with the situation that caused the stress. In dealing with it, it takes time away from your day that you could have spent with your significant other. You are burnt out and exhausted, so it is not unreasonable to assume that you would want some time to yourself. It is also reasonable to assume that having sex with your partner is the last thing on your mind. However, this needs to be communicated to your partner because they cannot read your mind. Make sure your partner knows why you are not in the mood to have sex with them. Tell them that you have had an exhausting day/week and need some time to recharge – mentally and physically. Reassure them that the decline in intimacy on your part is not a reflection of your lack of love or attraction to them. If they know what is going on, they can understand the situation and provide help in ways that you find beneficial. Even if you are not in the mood for sex, maybe having a movie night cuddled up on the couch can keep the romance alive and allow for some decompressing on your part.

Taking the Stress Out on Each Other:
Bad days are inevitable. However, taking your anger out on your partner is not the solution. This can cause you to take out your personal stress to your partner, causing both of you to be in a bad mood. This bad mood can lead to nagging and picking fights over the smallest things. It can also cause you to be over-critical of your partner, leading to their withdrawal. Nobody wants to have everything they do scrutinized and judged, when in the grand scheme of things, they are not doing anything wrong. When you are stressed, our brains fixate on negative thoughts and events. You need to actively fight against transferring your anger and frustration onto your partner. Remember that they are your biggest fan and want to see you happy. Allowing your negative behavior that’s caused by your stress to come between you and your partner is unacceptable. Have a conversation about the situation and work together to remove the tension from your relationship.

Marital Satisfaction is Going Down:
No one likes to constantly be around stress and conflict. Life is too short to be sweating over the small stuff and stuck in a situation where you are constantly miserable. When stress is continuously introduced into your relationship, it can become mentally draining and negatively affect how satisfied and committed you feel within your partner. If you and your partner are living together, you will experience more stressors due to your financial and living situation being dependent on one another. When faced with stress, it can have a negative impact on your relationship satisfaction. Research shows that wives are less satisfied in their relationship when met with stress compared to their husbands. This gives wives the perception that their relationship is falling apart and that they have problems in multiple areas. It also shows that the more stress you have, the more you blame your partner, and the greater the decline of your relationship satisfaction. This is where good communication comes into play. Although it might be a difficult conversation to have, it is necessary to talk to your partner about your current feelings with your relationships. Once it is addressed, mitigating steps need to be taken to repair the relationship satisfaction.

Everyone is human at the end of the day and is bound to be affected by stressors. It is how you treat our partners and the amount of communication occurring while stressed that plays a big role in relationship satisfaction. If your partner verbally lashes out at you when they are having a bad day, try to take a step back and realize that their anger is misplaced. Communicate your feelings about that negative behavior with your partner so that it doesn’t occur in the future.


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