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Stress Ruining Your Relationship? 10 Signs and Quick Fixes

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Stress is everywhere; it’s unavoidable. Could it be ruining your relationship? Here are 5 signs of a relationship on the rocks… and 5 speedy fixes.

There’s bad and even worse news when it comes to stress and relationships. The bad news is, most people admit to feeling stressed on a regular basis. The worse news is, feeling stressed on a regular basis could spell trouble for your relationship.

In the midst of all this bad news, there is a glimmer of hope: even if stress runs rampant in your life, your relationship isn’t destined to suffer. Knowing the signs that stress is negatively affecting your relationship, and taking quick action to remedy the situation, can prevent it from heading into a downward spiral.

How to tell if stress is negatively impacting your relationship

Whether work, health, or finances cause stress in the life of you or your partner, it can negatively affect the relationship in a variety of ways. Some people feel less close and less comfortable with their significant other when dealing with stress. Dealing with stress also tends to make people feel less sure about the relationships they’re a part of; people with lower stress levels typically feel more secure in their relationships.

Symptoms of stress vary greatly among people and couples. In a healthy relationship, the following five signs could indicate that stress is taking its toll.

#1 You’re always irritable. If most of what your partner says or does ticks you off, or you feel their words or actions are a slight at your expense, stress could be a contributing factor. The longer stress plays a starring role in your life, the more grumpy and/or argumentative you’ll tend to be—and the more likely you’ll be to lash out at others. [Read: 14 really quick stress busters to recharge your mind]

#2 You lose your ability to communicate rationally. If you’re feeling particularly stressed and overwhelmed, your ability to discuss things rationally goes out the window. For instance, a simple discussion about whose turn it is to do the laundry might turn into a complete blowout with screaming, water works, and hurt feelings. This happens because stress actually affects your ability to focus, and promotes negative thinking. Studies show that it even affects your judgment and listening skills.

#3 You feel your entire relationship is a bust. When stress is a regular companion in our lives, we’re more likely to view even the most positive things in a negative light. This goes for a great relationship, as well. Unfortunately, we fail to realize that stress is what’s making us feel our relationships aren’t what they should be.

#4 You find you have a wandering eye. Feeling anxious and overwhelmed has a funny way of making us feel more attracted to other people. We begin to fantasize about being in relationships with people other than the people we love. We begin to think that maybe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. [Read: 10 vital steps to resist temptation in love]

#5 Your phone is your sole focus. When we’re under pressure at work, we spend more time on our phones or in front of our computers. Studies suggest that “technoference” in relationships leads to conflict, depression, and less relationship satisfaction. So, being on your phone when you’re supposed to be watching a movie with your partner could be a sign—as well as a cause—of stress.

How to save your mojo

By now, you’re probably stressing about the fact that stress could be harming your relationship. Stop it! It’s possible to manage the stressors that are negatively affecting your relationship—before they have the ability to do any harm. You have more control over your environment than you think. Even if you can’t change a situation, you can control how it affects you and your partner. By changing your perspective and following the five steps below, you can keep your relationship on a positive track that stress can’t destroy.

#1 Make a plan. When you and your partner are in a good place, create a tentative plan for how, together, the two of you will handle stressful situations. Identify each other’s negative reactions and come up with ways to channel that negativity into positivity. One of the best ways to relieve and reduce stress is to exercise together. [Read: 16 non-sexual touches to relieve stress, and feel more connected]

#2 Reduce your stress. Find ways to reduce your own stress and it will benefit your relationship. Listen to music, read, meditate, or do deep breathing exercises—whatever it takes to bring your anxiety levels to a tolerable level, so it doesn’t affect those around you. Since stress makes us think negatively, the best thing you can do is shift your perspective. Realize that a difficult situation isn’t as terrible as it seems, and you’ll get through it.

#3 Encourage and support your partner. Being in a relationship means you and your partner look out for each other. If you notice your partner is feeling particularly stressed, be supportive and know when to give them space to work things out. Letting your partner know they are cared for helps relieve their stress, which allows your relationship to survive the rocky ride. [Read: 19 life quotes to motivate you to live a much better life]

#4 Prioritize your commitment. It’s possible that you don’t feel like connecting with your partner if you’re feeling especially overwhelmed. In instances like these, it’s best to prioritize things to find out what’s most important. You have to realize that you can’t control everything. Take time to talk to each other and be each other’s support.

Examine what the relationship might look like six months from now if you don’t make time to spend with each other, and if you don’t make your partner a priority. Taking time to look at things this way should motivate the two of you to make time for each other. [Read: Do you feel emotionally drained? 15 reasons and cures]

#5 Seek help. There may come a time when your partner isn’t able to meet all of your needs. They may be too overwhelmed, themselves, to be able to help you effectively—or vice versa. If you aren’t getting the help you need, don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, or even a therapist to get the support and advice you need. Doing so may save your relationship.

[Read: 8 small ways to deal with big changes in your life]

While you’ll never be able to control everything, you do possess the power to take responsibility for your actions. Use the guide above to understand and recognize the signs that stress is harming your relationship, and take the necessary steps to prevent permanent damage.

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Shawn Lehrke
Shawn Lehrke
Shawn Lehrke has been a freelance author for over 15 years. Her writing expertise spans a variety of niches, but her passion is creative writing. Shawn lives in...
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3 thoughts on “Stress Ruining Your Relationship? 10 Signs and Quick Fixes”

  1. Hillary says:

    This is so me! I am stressed all the time these days because of the boss’s return from the trip and the meeting he arranged with all of us. What if something goes wrong and he doesn’t like my report? Everything I’ve worked for all these months will be lost. Oh I am so worried, you have no idea. I think that as much as I try to hide it my husband can sense it. I guess I am irritable and talk on a high voice with him. I am so sorry but I can’t help it. God sent me this article. Thanks to these points I have an idea of how to reduce my stress right now. First thing in the morning and I’ll get help from my best friend.

  2. Dandra says:

    I met my boyfriend in college, and we’ve been dating ever since. We both went to a top-tier university and are both extremely competitive and driven people. We have spent a lot of time in college traveling and building tons of fun memories together. Fast forward to now: We’ve both been out of school and have been living together for about 2 years. I work in a very male-dominated industry, and I have to work extra hard to prove myself as a female at my company. I put a lot of pressure on myself at work, and I want to excel in my career. The stress of this (along with the stress of moving to a different part of the country away from family and friends, and my low self-esteem in general) has caused me to become very self-absorbed and not a very loving, caring person in general. I find myself snapping at him instead of encouraging him, and I don’t know why. My boyfriend is really unsatisfied and unfulfilled at his current job. He spends his time trying to fill his days with planning trips and other things to do, looking for job interviews, and a number of other diversions. Anything to keep him from dying of boredom. He expects a lot out of our relationship, and he expects me to be on point 100% of the time. He works hard to make me happy and does a lot to plan fun dates and things to do. However, he’s gotten to his breaking point. He doesn’t think I am putting in enough effort, and he’s certainly right. The other night, he said, “Sometimes, I feel like we both know this has been over for a long time. Other times, I can see myself with you for the long haul. I’m really confused about what to do.” I was crushed when he said this. I hate being so defensive and snippy all the time. I know I am the person that needs to change. Not only that, but I also need to make it stick. I’m really scared of losing my boyfriend, because I love him so much.

  3. maggie May says:

    Helping each other through the stresses in life is part of what helps to build a great and successful relationship. My husband know that the one thing that stresses me out the most is money and when I’m broke. He always tries to talk me through things and always offers his help. I never take his help because I know it will pass in a week when I get paid. It’s just the tendency I have to freak out in my head a little. These things happen and the best way to deal with it is together and calmly.

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