Each one of us is stressed about something or the other. Ask a kid and he will tell you how stressed he is about his exams. Ask an adult and they will tell you how their work, responsibilities and relationships have been causing them stress.
It’s like, stress has left no life untouched.
While we have discussed in some of our other articles, about how stress can affect your health, did you know that stress could also be affecting your intimate relationship?
Your actions during stressful times might be hurting your beloved person. You really don’t mean to and wouldn’t want that, would you? Let us look at some most common things, we human beings do while we are stressed and how it affects our intimate relationships.
We will also help you out with a few ways you can deal with the stress and undo the damage you have caused so far.
What Happens When You Are Stressed?
1. You Act Irrational and Start Venting Out
This is the most common “symptom” of stress. Typically, whenever you are stressed, there is always one person who bears the brunt of it all. That one person is often someone very close to us whom we sometimes take for granted and know that you can make up with, later.
Stress causes people to act irrationally and expect irrational things from their partners. You might not consider your partner’s boundaries and expect things of them that they might not be comfortable doing. If they deny, that’s the end of it.
Stress often causes outbursts where a simple phone call made by your partner, to ask you if you had food, might end with them being yelled at.
When people face stress at work, it is a very common that they come home and let it out on their partners and family.
Your poor partner and family, what did they do to deserve that? They might have been waiting for you to come back home from work since the time you left.
2. You Commit Mistakes That You Otherwise Wouldn’t Have
Stress takes your brain into fight or flight mode. If your stress is caused by external stressors, it might reflect on your intimate relationship. Your mind gets so preoccupied, that other important things take a back seat. Your EQ (Emotional Quotient) plunges downhill.
Imagine, you’ve got the news that you are being passed over for promotion. You are doing all that you can to get to your boss. All your thoughts revolve around how you can convince your boss that you deserve the promotion. At home, your significant other is preparing a sumptuous meal and a surprise for you because it’s your anniversary. You totally forgot that it’s your anniversary!
Stress might often make your eyes wander as well. Your brain is looking for things to distract itself and someone very attractive walks by. You will look!
3. Libido Takes a Plunge
Generally, when people are stressed, they do not even like talking to others, let alone getting intimate. You might want to spend all day in bed curled up in your blanket stewing in your thoughts.
While you might be okay with a warm hug, testosterone levels fall when cortisol levels rise. If your partner tries to make a move, you might brush them off or get irritated. While you know that it is the stress that is causing this behavior, your partner might start losing sleep over your disinterest in them.
Why not tell them what’s bothering you and see how they stand by you?
4. You Become Emotionally Unavailable
There is a saying, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
How can you be there for someone when you would rather lean on someone else?
Human beings tend to fixate on their problems and believe that their problem is the biggest. If you have been having a bad day, and in the evening you miss your daily bus, you are bound to ask the question, “why do bad things happen only to me?”
At such times, if your partner comes up to you with a problem, you will try to undermine them and say that you have bigger problems.
Stress disturbs your ability to empathize.
Also, when you are upset about something, it makes it very difficult to be happy for others. Your partner or family might want to celebrate something with you, but all you can think of is how you got passed over for a promotion.
Also Read: Men Have Emotions Too! Speak Up!
5. You Start Bottling Up Your Feelings
While few people open up about their feelings, most choose to bottle them up. You might not feel like sharing your feelings or let anyone in because you do not want anyone else to worry.
While your intentions might be good, your partner might desperately be knocking on your door to let them in. It is very difficult to see your partner and be unable to help them because you do not know what’s bothering them. This might scare the partner and activate their fight or flight response in turn.
6. Everything Seems Negative
Stress makes you see everything in a negative light. Your partner might make your favorite dish, and all you might respond is that “there’s less salt in it.” Stress can cause you to spiral downwards into negativity. Stress can make you cranky and moody.
Just how you would not want to see your partner suffer, your partner wishes the same for you. Stress has very obvious manifestations that can hurt your loved ones. While stress is inevitable, there are things that you can do to deal with them better.
What Does Stress Do to You and Your Relationships?
- Stress saps a lot of your energy and cognitive resources.
- Everything positive in your life gets overshadowed by the few negative ones, and you start complaining about every small thing.
- Stress makes you irritable, and you easily pick fights with your loved ones.
- It’s easy to resort to the blame game when you are stressed.
- You overlook all the good things your partner and loved ones do for you.
- It becomes difficult to communicate with you, if you are stressed and the other way around.
- You would rather spend your time alone.
- You forget the needs and feelings of your partner.
While there’s short time stress that occurs before an exam or a race, being stressed for a prolonged period can cause anxiety, depression and have several repercussions on your health.
So what are somethings that you can do to deal with stress better and make life simpler for you and your loved ones?
Let Go, Relax and Reflect – If the things you are stressing about are in your control and you can do something to change the way things are, do it. If not, there no point thinking about it, isn’t it? Let things take their natural course. Reflect on what is happening and what can be done. Think of solutions, don’t dwell too much on the problem, espcially if you can’t do much about it.
Gain Some Perspective – Look at the bigger picture. Does the stress-causing element seem so big now? If your relationship itself is the stressor, think about the why and what that is causing it.
Deal with It – Like Nike says, “Just do it.” If your job is causing you stress, take a step, start looking for a place where you feel valued and do what you love. If it is your spouse who is causing the stress, talk to them about it and seek professional help if needed.
Apologize to Your Partner / Loved Ones – You might not even realize the number of times you hurt your partner through your actions when you were stressed. Speak to them about why you have been a certain way and apologize for what hurt them. Promise to be mindful of their feelings in the future and stick to your words.
Ask for Space – Rather than just disappearing, or acting aloof with your partner, ask for space. Let them know that you need some alone time and that you will be back as soon as you feel better. Give them hints about what is bothering you if you do not want to disclose everything.
Talk It Out – Whether it is with your partner, a well-wisher, or a counselor, talk it out. Someone else might have faced the same issues as you, and there might be a solution that you did not know about. Also, a load shared is a load reduced. Once you talk about it, especially with your loved ones, it feels as if a big load has been lifted from your chest.
Set Time Aside to Repair the Damage That Has Been Done – If you have been a lousy partner for some time because of the stress, it’s time for some damage control. Plan for a date night, go for long walks with your significant other, sit with them for coffee and pour your heart out, go away for a weekend. Do what it takes to light that spark again. Your partner will love having the “fun you” back.
Get Some ‘Me’ Time – We cannot stress the importance of this one. Always set aside a few minutes each day just for yourself. Do what you love, read a few pages of your favorite book, plug in your earphones and just plop on your bean bag, go for a high-intensity workout, or just stroll in the park. Do something each day that feeds your mind and your soul.
The bottom line is that STRESS IS INEVITABLE. You cannot control situations that cause stress, but you can always control how you react. Practice mindfulness and try to detach yourself from situations causing stress. Walk away from situations that do not serve you.
You can always use the 5 x 5 rule whenever you find yourself stressing out about something. If it will not matter to you 5 years down the line, there is no point in spending even 5 minutes thinking about it.
Try it! It works.