3. Your partner is stressed out.
Instead, “say supportive things and use supportive language.” Empathize and sympathize, but don’t compare your stress to your spouse’s. “When your partnerstarts complaining, don’t say, ‘Oh, you think your day was bad, listen to what I had to deal with!’ It doesn’t help anything.”Also, “stress is contagious.” Ford compared stress to a game of ping-pong, where the tension “bounces back and forth between partners.” Partners become both unable to relax and enjoy each other, she said. Stress “shows up in our actions, our behavior, and in both verbal and non-verbal communications,” so it’s bound to not only affect both partners but also their relationship. “Stressed-out couples quarrel and fight more often, withdraw from each other, feel disconnected, sad, frustrated, angry.” Ongoing unchecked stress can create bigger problems. “Long-term stress can turn to depression and isolation resulting in a frozen and distant relationship.”
Studies show that a man’s fertility is significantly affected by life stressors, including work, family, and social life. Being unable to cope with these problems has the greatest negative impact.
“Stress impacts our love relationships more than we are aware of or acknowledge,” according to Judy Ford, a licensed clinical social worker and author of Every Day Love: The Delicate Art of Caring for Each Other. Part of the problem is that stress is entrenched in our everyday. “Stress has become such a normal part of daily life that partners become immune to the symptoms and warning signs,” she said.
Ignoring stress only ignites it. “Even when a couple tries to ignore stress, like static in the air, it is felt and absorbed.” If partners do talk about being stressed, they may not know what to do about it, Ford added.