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Stress in Romantic Relationships

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When you are in a committed relationship, there can be a lot of laughter, joy, and love. There can also be some stress. Here are several common causes of romantic relationship stress and how you can combat them.

Work Stress

When one or both members of a couple have stress at work, it’s common for it to bleed into the relationship. After all, people often spend forty or more hours a week at work, so when there are issues there, it’s not easy to turn that stress off when you walk in the door in the evening.

Money Worries

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Financial concerns cause a lot of stress in relationships. It could be not having enough money to get ahead, but it can also be that one person is more of a spender while the other tends to save. Differences in outlooks on how to handle money can create a lot of stress in a relationship, as can a situation where a couple is living paycheck to paycheck.

Sex Problems

Incompatibilities in the area of sex can be very stressful. Many times, this boils down to insecurities or lack of communication about what each partner wants and when they want it.

Health Issues

If one partner has a health challenge, it creates stress for both people and the relationship in general. Such an experience requires even greater communication skill than usual to navigate through.

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Parenting Stress

When a couple has a new baby, it can change the dynamics of the original relationship. And that continues to happen as the child grows and new and different challenges pop up all the time. And if two people have opposite opinions on the basics of raising a child, the stress can be even worse.

Communication Problems

Most relationship problems boil down to this, but there are specific ways of communicating that can put undue stress on a relationship. For instance, someone’s propensity for using “you” statements that mainly blame the other can lead to a complete breakdown in moving forward. And it can negatively affect the couple’s ability to get through any of the other relationship stressors.

Inequality of Household Tasks

As two people move in together and navigate the world of shared tasks, strife can develop. Usually, it’s the result of one or both people not feeling appreciated for their contributions to the household. If one person feels they are doing more and not getting enough credit, it can lead to hard feelings and arguments fast.

How to Deal with Relationship Stress

Here are some ideas of ways to cope with romantic relationship stress:

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  • Be constantly working on communication skills. Focus on “I” statements, where you tell your partner how you feel, instead of “you” ones, where you say what you perceive they are doing wrong. You might read books, see a therapist, or take marriage workshops to improve your couple communication skills.
  • Don’t stay silent. If something is bothering you, avoid keeping it to yourself in a bid to save an argument. That’s a recipe for having it build up and lead to more significant problems later. Instead, carefully think about how and when to best bring it up.
  • Practice listening without getting angry. The more you can hear what your partner is saying without overreacting emotionally, the better your communication will be. If you get mad, then your partner will too, and that will be the end of productive talking. Even if you need a break from the discussion periodically to take a walk and cool down, it’s better than erupting in anger and saying something hurtful.
  • Make time for togetherness. It’s easy to sacrifice time with your partner when life gets busy, and everything is stressful. But feeling distant and unconnected will only increase the stress. Make time for dates, intimate moments, and even just a meal together.
  • Listen to hear. When your partner is telling you something, practice listening with a real intention of understanding what they are saying and what they mean by it. We tend to listen to others during a disagreement with half our mind or more already on what we’re going to say to dispute it. When you listen to hear instead of listening to debate, conflict automatically diffuses, and stress lessens.
  • Give positive feedback. It’s easy to criticize when you’re upset about something but harder to praise, especially when what your partner is doing is something you consider to be his or her job. But praise and positive feedback for what you like and appreciate can go a long way toward keeping your relationship tipped away from stress and toward joy.

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