10 Ways in Which Stress Can Damage Your Relationship

Stress is a word that defines most people’s lives right now. So no, you’re not the only one in this situation. Stress can be related to a lot of things, including health problems, not-so-great relationships, money issues, a new move, and so on.

However, most of the time, stress is caused by minor things, such as a busy day at work, last-minute projects, kid-related stuff, busy schedules, and the list can go on. These minor day-to-day inconveniences can lead to a lot of relationship problems when not handled well.

And that’s because most people tend to ‘apply’ the stress from work, for instance, into their relationship. I’m sure it happened at least once in your lifetime to come home from a hard day at work and take it out on your partner, just because you probably couldn’t do it on your boss or other colleagues.

While it’s normal to be stressed once in a while, everyone is, since being an adult can be very complicated, from financial problems to parenting, work, maintaining a household, and so on. But you need to make sure you’re not letting stress affect your relationship/marriage.

Read on to find out how stress can damage your personal life!

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1. You can take out your stress on your partner.

According to Antonia Hall, a psychologist, relationship expert, and author, as humans, when we have to deal with a lot of stress, we tend to backlash on the people we love the most, just because they’re there.

Most of the time, people do not react very well when they’re under a lot of pressure. So if you had a stressful day at work, chances are you won’t be the most relaxed person at home, either.

“It can make us withdraw, see issues where none exist, lash out emotionally, and shirk away from affection, which is naturally very hard on your partner and the relationship,” Hall added.

If you’re finding yourself in this situation, try to focus more on your self-care and find ways to reduce your stress levels. You can try spending more time in nature, reading a good book, practicing meditation, yoga, listening to music, taking a long, hot bath, or anything that helps you lower your stress levels.

In this situation, she recommends amping up your self-care rituals. “Getting out into nature, exercising, and meditating are all helpful in lowering stress levels and rebalancing.”

2. You’re not getting intimate with your partner as often as you used to.

According to Mike Dow, Psy.D., Ph.D., author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think, Act & Be Happy, when you have a lot of things on your plate, making love is the last thing on your mind.

If you were used to enjoying the time between the sheets with your significant other and now you’re not doing it anymore, maybe because you prefer to stay on your phone, watch TV or simply go to sleep earlier, it’s a clear sign that stress is affecting your relationship.

As Julia Breur, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton, Florida has explained, even though it’s normal to not feel the same energy after the honeymoon phase of the relationship is gone, those moments are still vital in keeping you and your partner connected.

So even when you don’t feel like doing it, make sure you make your partner feel loved in other ways. Kissing and hugging can be a great way to show your affection, and if you feel a little cuter, try holding hands while watching something on TV.

3. You don’t have enough ‘me-time’.

Since your life is so busy, you probably don’t have enough time for yourself. Getting caught up in a daily routine, splitting your time between work, other responsibilities, and your partner, you might feel like you’re neglecting spending time with yourself.

If you never have time to do the things you want to do, or you feel like you get overwhelmed very easily, it could be a sign that you’re stressed. You need to learn to prioritize your time in such a way that you have time for yourself as well.

According to Aniesa Schneberger, MA, a licensed mental health counselor who is also the founder of Tampa Life Change, it’s important not to let day-to-day issues affect the relationship you have with your significant other.

However, make sure to plan some me-time, because you need it as well. It would be helpful to schedule a few hours a week just for yourself. It’s up to you how you choose to spend those hours, you can either read a book, watch a TV show you like, talk to a friend on the phone, take a walk in nature or just sit quietly while doing nothing.

And no, you’re not selfish for including some ‘me-time’ in your routine. After all, if you’re not spending enough time with yourself you’ll end up affecting your couple’s time, which could damage your relationship over time.

4. You’re easily bothered by their voice pattern, cough, sneeze, the way they eat…

If you’ve reached a point where everything about your significant other is bothering you, including the way they eat their food, sneeze, cough, and anything else you can think of, stress could be the issue.

The sound of common habits shouldn’t annoy you so easily, especially when it comes from the person you love. According to Dr. Breur, stress might be the culprit once again. You’re probably so stressed and have so much on your mind, that everything else begins to annoy you and you become agitated over the smallest things.

You need to work a little bit on yourself and find out what’s really bothering you. Maybe your job is way too stressful or maybe you don’t feel that your efforts are being met, either way, finding out what’s causing the issue is very important.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your significant other for help. “Your partner is not a mind reader and needs to know your needs and even your life dreams,” Breur said. If you want them to understand what’s going on, you need to tell them, otherwise, they won’t know how to help you.

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5. You’re not as emphatic as you used to be.

Stress can have this effect on people. When your stress levels are very high you tend to become less empathic towards your partner, according to research. As Hall has explained, your partner will feel isolated and alone if you’re lacking your sense of togetherness.

If you’re not able to connect with your partner anymore, the connection will eventually fade away and a breakup might be inevitable. So even on those days when you don’t feel like showing your affection because you have a lot on your plate outside your relationship, it’s still important to make them feel loved and appreciated.

The small gestures mean the most, so even just as little as 10 minutes a day of kissing, touching, and hugging your partner will contribute to lowering your stress levels, Hall said.

6. Your partner doesn’t spend as much time with you as they do with other family members.

While wanting to spend time with your family is normal, when your partner is spending more time with them than they’re spending with you, it’s certainly not a good thing. This escapist behavior could lead to a lot of assumptions in this situation, according to Breur.

You might feel like your partner loves them more than they love you, or they’re not comfortable enough to talk to you about certain things. Either way, your relationship will continue to suffer if you’re not doing anything about it.

The solution here would be to try to talk to your partner about it and let them know how it makes you feel. As there is no relationship without compromise, you need to find a solution that works for both of you.

Breur recommends allowing your partner to be close to their family, as it is normal, but also let them know that talking two hours on the phone with their sibling is bothering you. If they use to spend all day at their parent’s house, try to limit those visits to once or twice a week. This way, they’ll get to spend time with their family but also include you in their plans.

7. You don’t care about what your partner has to say anymore.

Even though you love them very much, you find yourself not being as interested in what they have to say as you were once. If you’re saying a lot of ‘uh-huh’ or ‘that’s good’ instead of actually engaging in the conversation, it’s definitely a red flag that stress is taking over your relationship.

Communication is very important in a relationship, so make sure you’re taking it seriously. While it might be tempting to think about bills and work projects while your partner is speaking, leave those thoughts for another day and try to enjoy the conversation.

As Aniesa Schneberger has explained, be an active listener and try to maintain eye contact during conversation, this way you’ll let the other person know that you’re listening and that you care very much about what they have to say.

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8. You prefer spending time on social media rather than spending time with your partner.

Yes, social media is addictive. You find yourself scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, watching funny animal videos, checking updates, sending emails, doing a little online shopping on your phone, as so on.

However, if you and your partner prefer to spend time on your phone rather than talk to each other in real life, it’s definitely a red flag and your relationship will likely have to suffer.

“We truly have become a mobile world,” Dr. Breur says. “And with all the information and social media available 24/7, we have become a society that does not make communicating face to face a priority.”

Breur recommends opening up to your partner, talking about the issue, and trying to think about a phone-free solution that works for you both. If you’re spending 8 hours a day at work on the computer, and 4 hours at home on your phone, when will you ever have time for your significant other?

A few tech-free rules would work great in this case. For starters, you shouldn’t use your phone during meals, and try to leave it aside while you’re in the bedroom as well. Spend time talking to your partner, and tell them how your day went, instead of scrolling through social media.

But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to spend time on your phone anymore, just make sure you’re not forgetting about real-life connections, as well.

9. You/ Your partner are drinking way too much alcohol.

While enjoying a glass of red wine once in a while is nice, you need to make sure you’re not including alcohol in your day-to-day routine. If you find yourself reaching for alcohol way more often than you should, it could be a sign that you’re very stressed and don’t know how to manage it.

“Many couples excuse these behaviors when they are dating and then act surprised that the behavior continues into cohabitation or marriage,” Dr. Breur says.

As Breur has added, alcohol abuse is destructive, for both yourself and your relationship. Try to cut back on drinking, and limit yourself to just one glass of wine per week. If you can’t do that, it would be better to seek professional help.

10. You’re falsely thinking that you’re not in love anymore.

According to Dr. Dow, “love is a chemical footprint in the brain and high levels of stress can make you feel like you’re not in love anymore, as it can deplete your levels of serotonin.”

High levels of serotonin are usually found in those who’ve been in a relationship for a long time. Therefore, stress can create the illusion that you fell out of love. However, this might not be so true.

You need to learn how to manage your stress and start treating your relationship as a priority again. You’re not falling out of love, you’re just too stressed.

Here are 10 Ways To Feel Attracted to Your Partner All Over Again. CLICK HERE to find out more about this topic!

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