6 relationship stressors many couples struggle with
It’s common for things like money and family dynamics to cause stress in relationships, but some experts say there are other stessors couples still struggle with.
Sex and relationship expert and matchmaker Claire AH of Toronto said every relationship can be stressful at times, but it’s important for people to realize how much stress they can actually handle.
“It’s ultimately about the amount of stress you’re experiencing, whether it’s chronic or acute, and if you feel like you can reasonably work it out,” she said.
“If you feel like it’s negatively impacting your quality of life on an ongoing basis and there isn’t much chance of improvement or reprieve, it’s important to think about whether or not it’s working for you.”
Other threats in relationship
Previously speaking with Global News, Chantal Heide of Canada’s Dating Coach said some of the biggest emotional threats in relationships include hurt, fear and anger. Anger itself is often a byproduct of fear.
“That anger, accompanied by the resentment you feel over your inability to feel good in the relationship, begins to create what I call an offensive-defensive,” Heide said.
“Now instead of simply shielding yourself from further attack, you’re seeking to set up an emotional army, ready to strike at the first opportunity.”
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Hiede said hopelessness is another one.
“This emotion spells the beginning of the end for most relationships,” she said. “When someone feels like nothing can be done to change the pattern of negative emotions, hopelessness can set in and partners truly give up on even attempting positive change.”
Emotions like these and stress in general could be a larger problem in a relationship, Claire added — one that has to be addressed either with the partner or a mental health professional.
“A lot of stressful situations require an open dialogue, but there is often an element of self-reflection or work on the self needed from at least one partner on an individual level.”
She added these stressors often cause problems in relationships:
Different communication styles: Are you more closed off to your partner, or do you share every single detail? Not all people in relationships have the same communication styles, so often, it can be difficult to get your message across.
Different love languages: We all crave love, but there are different ways to show it. Some people prefer touching, quality time or spoiling their significant other with gifts, while others may focus on communicating their feelings. Either way, it’s important to respect what kind of love language your partner has.
Different attachment styles: Some couples enjoy a more intimate attachment style, while others are more keen on having their alone time.
Different approaches to health and wellness: How we think about health and wellness can also impact a relationship. For some people, healthy eating, daily exercise or even finding time to meditate are part of a daily routine. But if your partner isn’t willing to show interest or even participate, this could cause tension.
Different long-term goals: It’s hard to know when someone is the “one,” but either way, both people should be on the same page when it comes to what they want in the long run.
Different feelings towards monogamy (romantic or sexual): Setting boundaries around monogamy should be done earlier in the relationship and communicated clearly.
“For all of these differences, stress occurs when we don’t talk about the differences,” Claire said. “We need to acknowledge them and respect each other in our differences.”
She added there’s no wrong or right party, just what you can or can’t compromise on.
“It’s also important to know that, although we can get on the same page about things initially, our feelings and needs may shift over time,” she explained. “That’s difficult when it’s a larger chasm of difference and sometimes it’s not possible to find common ground. That’s hard, but being realistic about it is the best course of action.”
Start by discussing the issue, she says, but also take time to think on it individually.
“Consider relationship therapy if it’s a complex issue, and honour the natural conclusion if a compromise can’t be reached.”
— With files from Dani-Elle Dubé
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