There isn’t a guidebook for what you should do when relationships are in distress. But there are ways you can go about addressing the problems. But first, you have to acknowledge them. What’s causing stress in your relationship? Is it miscommunication? Lack of trust? Or is your personal stress having an impact on your partnership?
Let’s talk about what you can do when relationships are in distress and how you can tackle these issues head-on.
What Do You Do When Relationships are in Distress?
Relationships require commitment and maintenance to keep them thriving and healthy. But that doesn’t mean you won’t weather any storms together. In fact, that’s almost guaranteed!
It’s important to remember that all couples will face hardships at some point. Being able to work through them with your significant other will only make you stronger and more resilient to anything that comes your way.
So before you throw in the towel, try these tips. Your relationship might surprise you!
Address The Problem
The first step to handling relationships in distress is to identify and acknowledge the problem at hand.
Ask yourself – what is the main reason my relationship is in distress? Is there anything that’s upsetting me in my partnership? Are my wants and needs being met?
Maybe you’re able to identify the problem right away, putting it down to lack of quality time or boundaries not respected. If so, great! That will help when it comes to addressing the problem with your partner.
But perhaps you can’t pinpoint an exact reason why your relationship is under stress, and that’s okay too. You might have to work a little harder to communicate with your partner to get to the root of the problem.
Communicate With Your Significant Other
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship but, it’s also a common cause of relationship distress.
Often, we say things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment. Or we use different communication styles that ultimately end up in a major miscommunication.
While communication is absolutely necessary when couples are in distress, there is a right and a wrong way to communicate!
When addressing the cause of stress in your couple, try to use ‘I’ rather than ‘you.’ For example, rather than saying “you never plan date nights!” say “I would really appreciate it if you planned the next date night.” Or switch “you’re always on your phone at dinner!” To “It would make me feel cared for if you didn’t bring your phone to dinner.”
Instead of placing blame, it shifts the conversation to how you feel and allows for more meaningful, impactful conversations. Listen to your significant other too, and try not to be defensive or negative if they bring up one of your faults.
Remember, you’re in this together. So try to work through your problems as a team rather than two opposing sides.
Consider The Root of The Stress
If your partner has been acting distant, or you’re getting into frequent arguments, it’s easy to assume the cause of their stress is you. But remember, we all have lives outside our couple. And there could be a multitude of reasons your partner (or you) are stressed.
Anything from a deadline at work, family troubles, or financial burdens can cause stress, and it’s only natural that this may affect your couple.
If you suspect your partner is under a lot of external stress, try to be sympathetic and supportive during this time. Make your best effort to diffuse arguments and not take their mood or tone of voice too personally. Be someone they can look to for counsel, and tell them you want to help.
If you are experiencing external stressors or anxiety, ask the same from your partner. Let them know that you’re going through a stressful period that has nothing to do with your relationship or how you feel about them. That alone is comforting and reassuring and may alleviate some tension.
Prioritize Self-Care and Alone Time
Even if you aren’t experiencing external stressors, the fact that your couple is under stress is reason enough to prioritize self-love.
One of the key ways to handle stress is by taking the time to meet your needs.
Calm your mind with meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. Process your emotions by letting your feelings out in your journal. Partake in relaxing practices like listening to music, aromatherapy, or a sound bath. Or, simply prioritize doing more of what brings you joy.
Stress can cause you to operate at full speed, so try to take it slow! If you need to run a hot bath or burn off some of that pent-up stress by going for a run, do it.
Taking time away from your couple to spend time with yourself can help bring a fresh perspective to the relationship. Plus, you’ll be able to better handle relationship stress and regulate your feelings when you’re in a state of relaxation.
More Tips For What To Do When Relationships are in Distress
Change up the scenery. Instead of having discussions inside, sit in the park, or go for a walk instead.
Remember why you love your partner. What drew you to them? What qualities do they have that you admire? Remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.
Consider therapy. Whether it’s couples therapy or counseling, or individual therapy or counseling, talking to someone can really help.
Reignite the spark. Plan a date night and do something you’ve never done before! Or go back to the place you had your first date to reignite the spark.
Give each other space. The next time there’s tension or stress in your couple, give each other space to process it before coming together to discuss.
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