Stress in Relationship – What? Why? How?
We all want the happy days never to end and prefer to stay in the honeymoon season for as long as possible.
However, at some point of your “getting to know each other” phase something happens.
Work, relatives, politics and your personality quirks show on the surface and cause stress in your relationship you don’t necessarily enjoy.
The thing is…
Stress is inevitable.
But who said it has to take over your relationship too?
I believe that there are certain stress sources that could and should be avoided in life. Your relationship should bring you joy and although things are never perfect every day – they could be great most of the time.
And that’s what we aim for here.
Identifying The Relationship Stress Source Solves Half of Your Relationship Problems
Finding what makes you crazy, what pushes your buttons and turns you into a hysterically screaming or annoyingly grumpy human being is what will make your relationship work or break it for good.
You cannot fight an enemy unless you identify it.
At the same time, thinking you know what the problem is doesn’t always involves even 50% of the real issues. Just because yesterday you shouted at your partner for touching your phone without permission it doesn’t mean that’s the reason you are annoyed by him.
Let’s see if we could find out what causes stress in your relationship and how bad the situation is.
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1. Lack of Respect
I put this one first as that’s what would break the relationship immediately.
If you don’t feel respected in your partnership, there’s a big chance you often express your feelings by getting angry if they don’t listen to you or ignore what you say. Respect or the lack of it is in the top 3 of the relationship problems.
There’s only one way to find out if that’s the case – identify disrespect and evaluate it. Is it something serious or you misinterpreted your partner’s behaviour?
Here are a few examples of disrespect that could help you identify the problem:
- You and your relationship aren’t your partner’s priority (never) and he always arranges your dates and relationship life around his personal stuff.
- Your significant one checks your phone and social media accounts daily and gets angry if you are not OK with that.
- They often ignore their responsibilities in your relationship, skip appointments, postpone dates or don’t show up at all as they promised.
- You don’t have any personal space anymore and feel like your partner violates every single bit of privacy you ever had.
I have more detailed information on how to recognise disrespect in your relationship in this post here.
If you feel like you are stressed over something and cannot identify it, I suggest that’s the first thing to look at. It’s the hardest to recognise and ignored way too often.
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2. Poor Communication
It’s not a secret that women love to talk and “communicate” almost all the time while men prefer to do it only if necessary.
Women are taught to express their feelings from a very young age and this gives them enough time to practice and practice how to do it right.
Men at the same time were mostly taught to suppress their emotions and communicate in a manly, strong manner – only if needed with as less explanation as possible. No one ever told them to state their feelings openly and talk over issues. And it was like that for ages. They don’t “brag” over problems, they solve them. They don’t express feelings, they ignore them and then beat them with the power of logic.
If you’d like to learn more about the differences between men and women, I recommend Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Grey. It will draw you the perfect picture of how different a man and a woman could be.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean we can’t make things work. It requires a lot of patience, a few spoons of mutual understanding and willing to work together towards a common goal. It pays off though.
If this causes stress in your relationship and you are the lady in it, I bet you already knew it.
In fact, while you were reading, there were a few examples proving you that’s the problem between the two of you.
Here are a few examples of poor communication in your relationship:
- At the beginning of your relationship, you were talking for hours on different topics while now it all comes down to a few sentences on how your day was.
- Every time one of you decides to discuss an issue the other is too busy too stressed, too annoyed by something else, too tired, too… you get the point.
- When you do get the chance to communicate a problem, it ends up with both yelling at each other.
- You feel like you are slowly drifting apart and don’t know how to initiate the conversation about that.
- In fact, you often catch yourself having a full conversation in your head with your partner and going through different scenarios until you find one that won’t make him run away/yelling at you/ignoring you, etc.
- Instead of knowing each other more with time, you feel like you know him less and less.
Communication problems are usually the most common source of stress in the relationship and cause an endless amount of problems.
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How could you fix it?
Just as everything else in your relationship, that’s a fight you both have to participate in.
Take a few more minutes to watch the video below on the 3 most important relationship skills by Joanne Davila. I promise it’s worth it.
♥ You could check her book on Amazon – The Thinking Girl’s Guide to the Right Guy: How Knowing Yourself Can Help You Navigate Dating, Hookups, and Love
3. Inability To Forgive and “Forget”
Have you ever been in a conversation with your partner where one of you involves old problems in the current argument?
Was any of these old problems solved?
If yes, why would you mention it again?
It doesn’t make sense and yet, you both do it.
One of the best things to do for yourself and your relationship is to “forget” about your old problems once they’re solved. To “forget” about them doesn’t mean to erase them from your memory, but to forgive and fully let go of them, to never allow them to cause more problems. Storing a pile of “things you did to me in the past” is stressful and an absolute killer of your happiness.
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While this is true for any relationship, it is especially applicable for long term relationships and marriage.
We all “do things” and “say stuff” we regret. What’s done is done. You have two options: forgive and let go, never allow the problem to cause you more pain in the future or never forgive and live in almost eternal misery. The last one ends only with separation – a breakup, divorce, etc.
Which one will you choose?
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4. Unaddressed Anger
This one is a bit tricky and often ignored on purpose.
In the short term ignoring a problem in the name of stress-less life sounds great. I mean, why would you get angry if your man hasn’t touched the hover since the day you moved in together (when he touched just to show it to you)? You are OK with cleaning after him while he is watching the sport or hanging out with the guys, right? He is busy, you are not. You just had a great weekend away, why bother to put pressure and stress over something so insignificant…
That’s what you tell yourself twice a week, 8 times a month and 96 times a year. You understand that at some point you will stop being so “fine with it”, right? However, instead of addressing the problem and looking for solution or understanding, you shout at him every time he leaves his socks on the floor – that’s “just another thing he doesn’t care about in this house”.
Soon you will explode over something small, he will wonder why his woman yells so much for insignificant stuff and will defend himself. You will bring up all of the things he’s never done, leaving him speechless… We all know how this ends.
No, the reason you do all that isn’t because he left the socks on the floor. The reason is that you didn’t address your anger when it appeared at first place – that time when he showed you where the hover stays. And you know it!
The hover situation is a simple example. Replace it with everything else you swallow on a daily base, and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for stress in a relationship.
Releasing the frustration, taking the negative energy out and communicating the problem when arises could give you fewer relationship problems, reduces stress, prevents you from piling up anger and makes you happier.
5. Money Problems
More than 50% of divorces happen over money issues.
This statistic itself is scary and indicates that there’s a huge gap between two people in a relationship.
Money as a subject is stressful enough. Money issues in a relationship are Stress with a capital S.
Identify why money is a problem for you:
- Not enough income and too many outgoings?
- Are you not sticking to the arranged budget?
- One of you spends money on a costly hobby, and that hurts your money situation?
- One of you doesn’t want to spend money at all while the other loves getting things every now and then?
- Saving money is something you both wish to do, but somehow you both end up spending everything?
- You are struggling with identifying the problem, but all you know is that it is indeed a money problem.
If you catch yourself thinking about one or more of the examples above, I recommend taking the matter seriously. Don’t panic and stay away from ultimatums. However, solving it is your task Number 1.
Money stress in the relationship is equal to a catastrophe, and sooner or later the crash will happen.
If you’d prefer someone’s guidance, I recommend First Comes Love, Then Comes Money by Scott and Bethany Palmer. I recently read it, reviewed it here and could honestly say it could save your relationship and reduce stress over money to a minimum.
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6. Self-Doubts and Low Self Esteem
Let’s talk about you!
Tell me about your dreams.
How do you feel about your life?
Are you happy with where you are?
Do you feel like you keep a horrible secret you don’t want to admit it exists?
The secret that you aren’t happy about yourself? Do you feel unsatisfied and secretly fight depression and low self-esteem?
If something happens that ruins your inner happiness, causes you to stress in the relationship with yourself and the one with your partner, you must work on it.
You deserve to be happy every single day of your life.
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Fight for it!
First, you will want to find the reason you doubt and judge yourself more often than you’d ever admit.
Many times you know that your relationship problems and stress in life come from your way of thinking and the way you see yourself.
Maybe your partner is trying to give you hints that you insecurity affects your relationship.
Here are some examples if your stress in relationship source is this one:
- You feel like you don’t deserve to be with this person as he seems to be too good for you.
- You don’t want to spoil things, so you catch yourself panicking over the possibility to ruin everything… as usual.
- You were never happy in a long term relationship, so it’s a matter of time things to go wrong with this one too.
- You fight with low self-esteem since you were young and never won the battle.
- You know you’re messed up, so why bother trying to make things work…?
If you recognised yourself in any of the examples above – you doubt yourself in an unhealthy way.
Your question is how to fight it.
Start by loving yourself more.
Sounds too trivial?
That’s because not enough love for yourself is the only reason you have all of the problems above. I’m not willing to make it too sweet for you – the truth is, you don’t love yourself enough.
The good news?
You aren’t the only one that has self-doubts and learns how to love themselves.
One of the best ways for me is to make lists.
I create a list of things I love about myself every time I feel like I need to. Nothing selfish about it. It’s vital to find a way to make things better. It’s fair for your partner and life-changing for both of you.
The second list I recommend you do is about things you are grateful for in life. It’s hard to hate yourself if you’re grateful for everything you are or you have. I talk more about gratitude and its magic powers here.
Also, the video below might be helpful to you. Care to check it?
7. Too Low or Too High Libido
Intimacy should bring you two closer to each other.
However, very often one of the partners has a higher libido than the other one. If the difference in your levels is too big, here comes a problem. If your need for intimacy isn’t met or your partner doesn’t satisfy you as often as you might want, it causes stress in the relationship.
This stress is many times ignored, and one of you makes the compromise to restrict themselves from the desired activity or ignores their lack of desire and goes for it anyway.
None of these ways to deal with the problem is alright, and sooner or later stress will overtake both of you.
Look for ways to boost your libido or find less pressure on your partner. Talk about it a lot.
8. Work Stress
OK, let’s face it – it was about time to mention work stress and its effect on your relationship, right?
I mean, who doesn’t stress at work?
The magic to a stress-less relationship isn’t to avoid stress at work but to deal with it and never bring it home.
I used to work in a bank for almost 10 years.
Dealing with tens of people every day has its consequences. In the beginning, I was coming home exhausted and angry at the people who weren’t happy with the bank’s services. I was talking and talking over the problems I had every single evening. If my family didn’t want to listen I was calling colleagues just to “take it out” and “talk about it”.
However, talking about a problem doesn’t necessarily make it disappear or make us happier after that. The satisfaction is temporary and there’s a reason for it.
I didn’t address the problems in the right place.
If a customer isn’t happy with a product the bank offers, my job was to find a product that suits his needs, so he could leave the office happy. At the end of the day I had to focus on “problem solved”, not on “pff, you can never make them happy”.
After a while, I realised that my home was a place I had to create peace for myself and my family. It took me a lot of time to teach myself that the moment I walk out of the office, I have to leave all the problems there and focus on my personal life.
Your working life isn’t your personal life.
Think about it in this way: You are an employee at your work and that’s all. That’s how your boss sees you, that’s how your company has you in the registers.
However, the moment you leave work you aren’t “the employee” anymore. You are You – a man or a woman with family, dreams, goals, plans for the evening, plans for the weekend. You have a life to live and your work is not your life.
Don’t let the stress from your office overtake your happiness at home.
Of course, I am far away from the idea that this is 100% applicable. But if your job causes you too much relationship stress and issues, maybe it’s time to reconsider if it’s worth it.
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9. Relatives and Relationship Stress
We all know it – being in a relationship with someone means you are in a relationship with their family too.
It doesn’t matter if you live thousands of miles away, in the technology era distance isn’t what it used to be.
If your partner’s family or your relatives aren’t happy about you two (or themselves), it affects your partnership. Stress comes in many forms but I believe that stressful relationship with relatives hits the high levels or “freaking out” way faster than anything else.
It’s just.. they always know which button to push to create the desired reaction. This reaction could be annoyance, anger, suppressing feelings, long-term frustration, relationship doubts and problems.
Unfortunately, the ways to deal with family issues are as many as the people in your family – the approach is different.
However, if there’s one advice I could give you, it would be to share your relationship problems only with the people you sleep with – meaning, your partner only.
It is no one else’s business, and they would never understand the issue better than the people involved in it.
On top of that, the fact you forgive your loved one something they’ve done it doesn’t mean your family will be as forgivable as you. Remember – they will always love you more than your partner and will always be your relatives and share the same blood with you.
10. Unarranged Chores Issues
I left this one to be the last on purpose.
I feel like it’s so common to fight over chores (remember the hover and the socks?) that there’s no need to mention it at all.
However, if there’s something that bothers you daily and it could cause stress in the relationship, it deserves its place here.
Ah, running errands and doing chores around the house takes away the magic in the relationship so fast that it hurts almost as much as removing hair from your legs with wax. It’s shocking and unpleasant as hell. But it’s necessary and sooner or later someone has to do it.
If you think the chores should be done sooner than later, but your partner is on the opposite side, the stress in the relationship piles up with the speed of the light.
If you are the lady in the relationship – you might always have the feeling that chores are something that women were supposed to be responsible for until 30 years ago or even less.
For example, in my family, it’s still in this way and my grandmother (she raised me) always divided work into two categories: “woman’s job” and “man’s job”. While I completely agree this is old mentality and inapplicable nowadays, it doesn’t wipe out its effect on me. In our house nothing is “my job or your job”, but the feeling is still somewhere there.
If you are anything like me and face the same struggles, you know how often you get angry when you see that the dishes “are waiting for you”, “the laundry is waiting for you”… and many other things are waiting for you.
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However, “waiting for you” is what I tell myself not my partner. There’s a difference in what the reality is and what I tell myself the reality is.
The reality isn’t that doing the laundry is “my job”. It’s that my partner works 13 to 15 hours a day, almost 6 days in a week, and he simply won’t have the time nor the energy to hover at 7 p.m. or set up the washing machine at half 2 in the morning. At the same time, I work full time from home and I could do all of the things around the house in a convenient for me time. On his days off I often ask him to do different chores and he never said No to any of them.
If this isn’t your case, you and your partner work the same hours but only one of you do the things around, the level of stress in the relationship goes high every other day. I advise you to simply learn to ask for help. Yes, if you describe what you need him to do chances are he will do it. If asking for help doesn’t work you have a relationship problem you need to solve in the nearest future.
The reason this stress occurs in families often comes from the fact that we don’t talk about who does what before we move in together. We leave it for the last moment when it’s already too late and our shoes share the same drawer.
Reducing stress in the relationship starts long before it actually appears.
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Here are a few tips on how to deal with stress in a relationship:
- Find out what would make you angry at your partner and ask if he sends the message you receive. It could be a misunderstanding.
- Never attack and always stay open for suggestions.
- Keep the volume of your voices down and remember: you are together to make things work, not to stress yourself over one more thing in life.
Sources Mentioned in This Post