When you picture stress in your mind, what images do you see? Work? Money? Family problems? These are some of the most common causes of stress, but there is another problem on the horizon, one which you might not even consider when you try and picture the reasons for stress – relationships. Yes people, relationship stress is a thing.
Why stay in a relationship which is causing you to want to pull your hair out?
Exactly the question we need to address, but it’s worth mentioning that everyone feels a little stressed out within their relationship from time to time; this doesn’t mean there is anything particularly wrong with your union, it just means that you’re dealing with another person who from time to time can be a little selfish, unreasonable, and perhaps doesn’t think before they speak. Remember, we’re all human, and it’s quite likely that you do the same thing to them occasionally.
[Read: How to talk about your feelings in a relationship and grow closer]
What is relationship stress?
Before I go on, let’s really pinpoint what relationship stress is. If not, you might confuse this with something much less serious and cause unwanted problems in your relationship!
It’s normal to feel a little annoyed with your partner and your relationship in general, but life takes us through twists and turns, and our reaction to these problems are what makes us human. When I talk about ‘relationship stress’, I’m talking about the point where your partner is causing you to feel overwhelmed, constantly upset, perhaps questioning yourself and whether you want to be in the relationship anymore. [Read: How to sniff out the cause when something feels off in your relationship]
When this happens, you can’t think straight, you feel worried, and you’re not sure what’s going on.
It’s not pleasant.
So, relationship stress isn’t when your partner leaves their dirty clothes on the bathroom floor and forces you to have to pick them up when you’re already running late, and its not when your partner accidentally forgets to pick up something from the supermarket that you specifically asked them to get. These are normal relationship squabbles and not a real reason for stress.
You see, stress gets a pretty rough end of the stick in life generally. We all say “oh, I’m stressed” but we don’t really give stress the respect it deserves. Real stress is actually very damaging to help and well-being. When you’re genuinely stressed your health is at risk, because your body is releasing too many stress hormones and causing all manner of rather nasty reactions to take place in your system.
Over time, this becomes like a snowball effect and everything turns very negative. So, when your hair doesn’t go quite right, you miss your favorite TV show, or you forget to buy something from the store, you’re not stressed, you’ve just have a slight moment. [Read: Why some people go looking for drama even when their life is peaceful]
Relationship stress is caused by real issues in your relationship. For instance, if you’re constantly arguing, constantly butting heads and never agreeing, you have real grounds to say you’re experiencing relationship stress. If your partner is acting strange, they’re very withdrawn and you can’t get out of them what is wrong, you have relationship stress.
Can you see the difference?
Relationship stress is a period of time, usually prolonged, when things are just not going well between you two. And as a result, you can’t think of anything else. You over-analyze what’s going on, you wonder whether the relationship is going to end, you might lose your appetite and probably find that your sleeping pattern is turned upside down. Put simply, relationship stress is a variant of general stress, with pretty much the same symptoms. [Read: How to stop overthinking in a relationship and calm your mind down]
How to deal with relationship stress in the right way
If you’ve ever been stressed in general, you’ll know there is a right way to deal with it and a very wrong way to deal with it. Many people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drinking, going out too much, overeating, shopping too much, smoking, or even taking drugs. But these are things you need to avoid at all costs. If anything, you’re going to make your relationship problems worse by doing any of these things, not to mention what it is going to do to your health and well-being.
A far better way to deal with any type of relationship stress is the big C – communication! [Read: 14 communication steps that will guarantee you a better relationship]
Yes, you need to sit down with your partner and talk it through. You need to explain how you feel and try and get to the bottom of what the real issue is. Stress is often caused by uncertainty, and it’s likely that you’re picking up on things but you don’t actually know what those things mean.
As a result, you start to think too much, worry unnecessarily, and then change your behavior, which forces your partner to do the same. At the end of it all, nobody is entirely sure what is going on!
There is a right time to have this conversation and a wrong time. Do not attempt this at the wrong time! The wrong time would be when your partner seems upset or stressed themselves, in a public place, when either of you has to go somewhere quite soon, or when you just don’t feel that the time is right.
Listen to your gut here; we all know when something is a little ‘off’ and if you’re picking up those vibes, perhaps now isn’t the best time for a big relationship chat! [Read: How to power of your words can make or break your relationship]
On the other hand however, approaching the conversation in a lighthearted and relaxed way is best. Don’t jump straight in there and say “I’m so worried, what is going on with us?” That just sounds plain crazy, even though it is basically what you’re thinking.
Instead, mention that you’ve felt like things haven’t been quite right between you lately and you want to check in and see if everything’s okay. If you’re the one feeling like things aren’t going well but your partner doesn’t seem to get it, now is the time to tell them how you feel. [Read: Easy communication exercises that seem like fun games to play with your partner]
Again, don’t go in there with accusations, but simply mention that you’ve been feeling a little upset by what’s going on your relationship and you want to resolve it so you can move forwards together. Emphasizing the “together” part of that is always a good thing too, as it stops your partner panicking that you’re about to ditch them and move on. The hope is that you can find a way through together and fix the issue.
When relationship stress becomes too much
What if you can’t resolve the stress? What if you always feel like you’re on the brink of an argument and your partner doesn’t seem to see a problem with their actions?
You could have another conversation, highlighting the specifics issues which are causing the stress and exploring whether you can fix it together, but if that doesn’t work there is only one option – say goodbye. [Read: Is it time to let go? 14 reasons why good relationships end]
It sounds harsh, but you shouldn’t be in a relationship that causes you to wake up with a sinking feeling every day. If your partner isn’t prepared to change their behavior just a little when you highlight something which is causing you stress, what happens when huge issues crop up in the future?
You’re not on the same page in this case, and that’s not a recipe for a healthy or happy union. It’s far better to quit whilst you’re ahead, and free yourself from the damaging effects of stress at the same time.
Relationship stress isn’t something most people consider to be real, but when a union causes you headaches, anxiety, too much overthinking, constant arguments, and a negative feeling in the pit of your stomach on a constant basis, where is the fun? Where is the love? Where is the passion?
[Read: 25 must-follow relationship rules for a happy romance]
Relationship stress is never a good thing, and in this case, perhaps it’s best to find someone who makes you feel content, and not as though you want to scream into the nearest pillow.
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