What are some Common Causes for Relationship Stress? No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship, it’s bound to go through ups and downs at some point during the journey. The things straining your relationship might not even be related to you and your partner at times. Sometimes, external factors can play just as much of a crucial role in affecting your relationship as a sensitive problem between you and your partner would.
For example, dealing with a hectic workload in the office can stress individuals to the point where they don’t want to socialize, even when they’re home with their significant others. However, it’s essential to understand that you can stop these unfiltered feelings from getting between you and your partner when you know how to manage relationship stress by identifying the causes accordingly.
Most Common Causes for Relationship Stress
At Marriage Means Moore, we have helped our clients deal with relationship stress using our proven 4-step solution. Here are a few distressing factors that we typically see a lot of couples deal with:
- Lack of communication between partners
- Feeling lack of self-support
- Worrying that your husband or wife doesn’t find you attractive anymore
- Feeling dejected or rejected because of your partner’s actions
- Financial struggles and related disagreements
- Work-related problems
- The build-up in holiday stress
- Family issues
- Feeling burdened by house chores due to lack of help from your partner
- Inadequate emotional or physical intimacy
Most of the time, we’d see at least a couple of these factors in play before someone eventually starts feeling suffocated, entering the uncharted territory of dealing with relationship stress.
Stress Affects Men and Women Differently in a Relationship
Before we get into the topic in detail, we think it’s worth mentioning that men and women often react somewhat differently to stress. We could have easily moved ahead without discussing or defining this aspect of a relationship because some people find it moot to define emotions by gender. However, we also can’t deny the chemistry behind certain reactions.
When dealt with stress, our body releases hormones, including cortisol, epinephrine, and oxytocin. While the prior two elements work together to circulate blood sugar levels and raise blood pressure, the latter hormone is released directly from the brain to relax our emotions, countering the impact of cortisol and epinephrine.
The details lie in the fact that men release significantly less oxytocin than women when dealt with a stressful situation. This essentially means that they react much more aggressively to both cortisol and epinephrine. That, in turn, makes them more prone to act upon their fight or flight response, which compels them to either suppress their emotions by taking the escape route or fight back.
On the contrary, women are more likely to handle stress by nurturing their emotions while seeking help from those to whom they’re closest to for feeling better.
So, the next time your partner is dealing with relationship stress, you can help them much better knowing this, filling the void they must have been experiencing due to stress. For example, since a woman’s sense of self-esteem is more intricately interlinked with her feelings, she’ll likely appreciate feeling acknowledged and cared for by their partner. They would even welcome it more often once they know their emotions don’t deter their partner.
On the other hand, most men are more invested in competition and performance. Therefore, when they’re stressed, the one thing they appreciate the most from their partner is their assistance and words of support and recognition.
How to Know Your Partner is Stressed?
To answer the inevitable question, “How does stress affect relationships?” you need to ask yourself, “How do you know when your partner is stressed?” This will help you solve your problems much more effectively. Because the longer you’ve been with your partner, the better you can understand their body language and mood swings.
Moreover, you may notice several other changes in behavior when a person is stressed in a relationship. For example, if your partner is dealing with relationship stress, they made do these things on an unconscious level:
- Radiate anxiety when you try talking to them about it
- Overanalyze your conversations unnecessarily
- Show less self-control over their emotions
- Keep themselves withdrawn in social circumstances
Moreover, many people also experience physical health problems when their “My relationship is stressing me out” status starts switching to something more consistent. It’s important to realize that dealing with a little bit of stress is very normal, either inside or outside your relationship. However, when these occurrences begin taking a toll on your mental health, that’s when things start to get serious. So, if you think your partner is experiencing this at the moment, they may likely show at least a couple of the following symptoms to give away what they are mentally going through:
- Problems digesting food
- Skin problems, like acne
- Chest pain
- Stomach issues
- High blood pressure
- Sleeping problems
- Constant headaches
- Muscle tension
It’s imperative that you check up on your partner from time to time to see they’re not dealing with relationship stress alone. After all, no matter how good someone is at hiding their pain, there’s always something they do out of character that should have you worried for them. Moreover, even if your partner is the kind of person who has always been the anchor in your relationship, there could still be times when they also need your support but don’t know how to ask for it.
How Does Stress Affect Relationships?
Couples dealing with tough situations often find themselves lost in arguments when they don’t know how to manage relationship stress constructively. Furthermore, how they talk to each other can also scar their relationship in the long run, causing their delicate connection and trust to fall apart.
For example, suppose your partner says, “This relationship is stressing me out,” and instead of talking it out rationally, you get defensive. Likely, your partner admitted that in the first place because they wanted to figure out a way to deal with the issue and not get you worked up. However, since they couldn’t elaborate how they are feeling without a little push from your side, and you’re not willing to hurt your feelings anymore, things go south.
Moreover, even if they don’t voice their opinions, it still wouldn’t take you that much time to realize something’s wrong due to their change of behavior. Either way, it’s usually when this realization dawns when the negative thoughts start invading you and your partner’s mind, wavering the foundation upon which you’ve built your relationship.
Is my relationship meant to last? Does my partner even like me? Is our relationship really a safe place? Questions like these eat away your relationship from the inside out, leaving you and your partner feeling empty yet full of uncertainties.
How to Help Your Partner Manage Relationship Stress
By now, you must have already figured out why a trustful connection is a must for building a mature relationship with your partner. To beat the anxiety and move on from that as the victor, you and your partner need to be on the same page, emotionally speaking. Ultimately, that’s also what gives you the undeterred hope for a better future together.
Therefore, if your partner is currently going through a difficult time dealing with relationship stress, you can help them significantly by acting upon the following practices:
1- Offer (But Don’t Force) Your Support
When your partner is under a lot of stress, they may find it difficult to engage with you on an emotional level. You can take that as your cue to shower them with your support and offer them your help. They might not ask for it, but they’d still need it from someone they trust.
Not to mention, some people don’t think they should need help, to begin with. When that’s the case, it can be somewhat challenging for both you and your partner where you want to help, and they want no part of it. If that’s your situation, it’s better not to force your support on your partner and rather work from the sidelines. That way, you can still applaud their lines while also making sure you’re there to catch them in case they fall.
2- Work on Your Communication Skills
Next, we can’t stress how important it is to have constructive communication with your partner in all aspects of life. When your partner is feeling low with stress, the responsibility falls on your shoulder to talk to them about it with a rational mind. It would be best if you didn’t assume what they’re feeling during these conversations as well. Instead, you need to know what they’re going through in their own words if you want to resolve the problems together.
3- Try Listening to Understand
Moreover, you can listen beyond the words and pick up on their body language and other verbal cues. Remember, understanding how to manage relationship stress eventually comes down to how you choose to show your partner that you care. Trying to listen past their words is one of those gestures to show them that you are invested in their feelings as well.
4- Put Yourself in Their Spot to Understand Them Better
Similarly, it would help if you put yourself in their shoes when they share their problems with you. After all, it’s only then you can relate to how they must be feeling and how other parts of their life must be getting affected as well due to their bottled-up stress.
5- Choose Your Words (and Tone) Carefully
Lastly, when you finally talk to your partner, you must make sure you’re choosing your words and tone carefully. When you or your partner rush to defend yourself rather than communicate your thoughts just as they are, stress builds up even further. However, how you choose to talk to your partner can also help put them at ease, knowing they aren’t being judged or micro-analyzed.
What to Do When You’re the One Dealing with Relationship Stress
Similarly, you can’t neglect yourself when you’re the one dealing with relationship stress. After all, how can you help your partner if you can’t even manage your own stress? While life always finds a way to get in the way somehow, it’s still crucial that you carve out time for yourself just like you do for your partner. When you’re calm and have better control of your emotions, you can save the relationship from tumbling down a dark hole.
You can follow a few simple practices to manage your stress adequately, including:
1- Prioritize Your Sanity Over Others
Your peace of mind must come before everything else when you’re fighting stress. By that, we mean prioritizing your basic needs and taking time to work on yourself despite other pressing matters. This is important because you can’t genuinely figure out other parts of life if you haven’t even given yourself a good amount of time thinking regarding what you want.
2- Create a Calm Environment for Yourself
Rather than powering through on low fumes, it’s better to slow down so you can make time for your body. You can de-stress and create a serene environment for yourself when stressed by doing things that help your nerves calm, like taking a warm bath, reading a book in bed, and having an adequate amount of sleep every night.
3- Jot Down Your Thoughts in a Diary
With a calm mind, you can start writing your thoughts in a journal. It’s an effective strategy to keep your stress from bottling up. Plus, this self-help practice also allows you to detangle your problems as it gives your mind the extra space to look for solutions instead.
4- Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Support from Your Partner
Lastly, while it can be terrifying to admit your problems on an intimate level with your partner at times, you should never hesitate to do so. Beyond everything, that’s the whole point of being in a relationship.
You and your partner should have the freedom to share your feelings without stirring negative thoughts for each other. Suppose that’s not the case, and you’re reminded time and again by your partner that this is not something that’s welcome in your relationship. If that is so, it might be because you’re wasting your time with a toxic partner who doesn’t understand how love works!
Talk with a Relationship Coach
Lastly, it’s one of the best options to talk it out with a relationship coach when you’re looking to figure out how to manage relationship stress. At Marriage Means Moore, you can get your first appointment scheduled with us today and watch your relationship get back on track within 90 days!