Is Stress Killing Your Relationship?

Is Stress Killing Your Relationship?

Relationships are affected when two stressed individuals bring that stress into their relationship. If you feel your relationship is constantly under strain, take the time to work on building a healthy relationship and eliminate stress in the process.

Identify Your Stressors

If you want to be able to deal with stress, you need to determine the source of your stress. So where is your stress stemming from?
Is it
1. Work
2. Personal insecurities
3. Unrealistic self-expectations
4. Poor work-life balance
5. A sense of meaninglessness

Be Aware of How Stress Will Destroy Your Relationships

1. Bad Communication

If you let stress fester within your relationship, it will increase the likelihood of you and your partner engaging in maladaptive communication patterns, such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and harsh startups. Furthermore, research has shown that relationships involving these forms of communication generally do not last.

  • Criticism – Blaming the person instead of disapproving of something they did. ( ‘You are insensitive.’ versus ‘You did an insensitive thing.’)
  • Contempt – Being sarcastic and cynical around your partner. (Rolling eyes, hostile humor,etc.).
  • Defensiveness – Defending oneself by being offensive to your partner (I’m not hurtful, you are!)
  • Harsh startups – How emotionally laden discussions often begin with mockery and name calling.

2. Reduced Sexual Drive

Pent-up stress leads to a reduced sexual drive. This lack of intimacy with your partner will further pave the way for emotional distancing. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which is known to reduce your libido. This leads to infrequent sexual activity and therefore reduced sexual satisfaction.

3. Reduced Efforts to Foster Relationships

When under constant stress, couples generally do not make efforts or invest the time required to mend their relationship. This is because when we are under chronic stress, we get mentally and emotionally exhausted quickly, which causes us to distance ourselves from our loved ones.

Tips To Mend Your Relationship

Over time, it is possible to mend and nurture stressful relationships with love, care, and dedication. Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Modify Your Expectations With Time:

Sometimes, you may expect your partner to know what you are thinking and react accordingly. It’s a bit unfair to expect your partner to know how you’re feeling or what you want without even mentioning it to them. Communication is vital. Clearly let your partner know what you expect. Modify your expectations of what you and your partner want from each other based on where you both are at in the relationship.

2. Be Aware of Your Primary and Secondary Emotions

According to the emotion-focused approach in Psychotherapy, our emotions fall into two categories: primary and secondary. Our primary emotions include our vulnerable states of being like fear, pain, sorrow, and hurt. Our secondary emotions are a reaction to our primary emotions. These emotions include frustration, anger, resentment, and jealousy. Primary emotions are what bring people together while secondary emotions tear people apart. It is important to be aware of your primary and secondary emotions and to make a conscious decision to express the primary emotion behind the secondary one. This will enable you to communicate how you feel more effectively to your partner rather than just hurting your partner intentionally.  

3. Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask For Help

If you think you need help to work on eliminating the stressors in your relationship, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Talk to someone with experience who will be able to guide you.

We at Ergos Mind, have a webinar starting in four days called Distress to De-stress, which will equip you to learn how to reduce stress in your life and relationships. Click here to know more.