In the modern, fast-paced world, stress is unavoidable, and it affects relationships between people. Various kinds of stresses and strains are one of the biggest and most common problems in any loving relationship.
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This problem can occur even from a minor misunderstanding between partners, and as people are egoistic in most cases, it is much easier for them to blame their partner. According to the results of the survey conducted by the American Institute of Stress in 2014, more than 25% of respondents claimed that they felt alienated from their partners, family members, or friends because of stress, and more than 50% of respondents stated that they had major quarrels with their dearests under the influence of stress. Thus, it is crucial for people to learn how to manage their stress and not create strains in their relationships (Bodenmann et al., 2015).
Types of Stress
Traditionally, in psychology, there are three main types of stress, the principal difference between which lies in the frequency of its occurrence. The first type is acute stress that appears and disappears quickly and is caused by a suddenly arisen problem. The second type is episodic acute stress, which is recurrent and is caused by problems that occasionally appear in people’s lives. The third type is chronic stress, that is the most dangerous kind of stress, as it affects a particular person and their entire milieu. One more dangerous aspect of this type of stress is that people usually get used to it, and it is much more difficult to get rid of it. Additionally, chronic stress can even kill a person through violence, diseases, and suicide (Rholes, 2017).
In romantic relationships, conventionally, stress can be divided into two types: the one that is directly connected to the partners’ everyday life and problems, and the other one that is caused by external circumstances such as problems at work or incidents in traffic congestion. As for the former, it is simply inevitable in any relationship; therefore, people must learn how to deal with it in order not to spoil their relationships. As for the latter, as a rule, people want to abstract from the external stress and not to bring it to their families, but they rarely succeed in it (Bodenmann et al., 2015).
Causes of Stress
Marriage is a fulfilling and wonderful experience, but a lifelong devotion is unlikely to run smoothly. Problems are an integral part of any relations, and they always cause stresses and strains in them. The most common causes of stress in loving relationships are finances, children, domestic problems, work, difficult behaviors, and changes (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
In almost every family, there is a tendency that when they start losing money no matter the reason, they begin to blame each other instead of trying to find a solution to their financial problems together. Apart from the lack of money, there are other financial issues that can cause quarrels. The most prominent of them are unreasonable expenditures, money squandering, not discussing purchases, hiding debts, lying about the source of income, and so on (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
Having children is also a wonderful experience in life. However, parenthood can sometimes create strains in marriage. Problems concerning children can appear even when a child is not born yet. This happens when partners cannot agree on the time when they want to have children. One partner may want to have children immediately after the wedding, while the other one may want to wait for some time for a number of reasons, such as the desire to enjoy life as a couple without children or career prospects (Rholes, 2017).
Then, during the pregnancy, women can feel unwell, and their behavior changes due to the hormones, and even if men are doing everything to take care of their wives during this period, it can still cause stress and quarrels between them (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
After a child is born, another set of problems emerges. Parents have to change their lifestyles in order to care for an infant. Thus, baby healthcare, feeding concerns, and sleep deprivation are major stress generators (Rholes, 2017).
Additionally, there are concerns and arguments between parents on how to rear children, pay for their education, healthcare, and nutrition, punish them for their misdeeds, and so on. Thus, it is crucial for parents to discuss every issue that concerns children and be willing to make compromises, otherwise, stress and wrangles are inevitable (Rholes, 2017).
In terms of work, there are three main causes that can cause strains in relationships. First, pressures and stresses at work have a major impact on people. When they arrive at home, upset and irritable, they create a perfect environment for a quarrel. In this case, they should discuss these work problems with their partners, as it will certainly make them feel better, while their partners should carefully listen to them and not create any confrontations or raise any troubling issues.
The second case is when people are career-oriented, they devote too little time to their families, which inevitably results in the alienation from them. The third case is when a job requires people to spend much time away from their families. In such cases, people also become alienated from their partners and children and feel loneliness (Anthony‐McMann, Ellinger, Astakhova, & Halbesleben, 2017).
There are periods in life when people may change their behavior due to certain factors. These factors can be connected with work, personal troubles, stressful circumstances, and events, or even with the loving relationships themselves. As a result, people can acquire bad habits, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. In such cases, the most effective way to get rid of them is to identify the source of the problem and try to solve it together with a partner and not keep it inside (Anthony-McMann et al., 2017).
In the course of relationships, there can be many changes. Some of them concern people themselves, whereas others are connected with external changes such as a new apartment, new neighbors, lifestyle changes, and so on. By the former, it is meant that people can change due to their life experiences and the overall aging process. However, the problem is that these changes can be different in both partners, or one of them cannot change at all. As a result, there are situations when people say that they married a different person and not the one they see now as their partner. In such cases, after the years of spending time together, people must show respect to their partners, understand that people have the ability to change, and accept it (Rholes, 2017).
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As for the external changes, many people are reluctant to make major changes in their lives. In most cases, people like stability, comfort, and tranquility. However, there are people who like changes along with the excitement and unpredictability that they bring. For the first category of people, external changes can cause stress, especially when they are forced out of their comfort zone. Thus, in certain cases, even such trivial things as buying a new refrigerator or making an acquaintance of new neighbors can cause arguments between partners, which can later grow into squabbles (Rholes, 2017).
Rejection and Acceptance
In general, rejection is an exclusion from something such as a group, information, emotional intimacy, communication, interaction, and so on. No one likes to be rejected, and, moreover, rejection is one of the greatest fears among people, as one of their deepest needs is the need to be accepted. Besides, the rejection and acceptance of the notion are closely connected with the notions of failure and success, respectively, as the former can be interpreted as a form of the latter (Bodenmann et al., 2015).
One of the hardest types of rejection is being rejected in love. Remarkably, rejection in love happens more often than acceptance, as people tend to love those who are not passionate about them. Moreover, being rejected in this case, makes people suffer even more. This intensity of negative emotions can cause severe stress, which has a great impact on people’s lives. Therefore, it is crucial to get rid of this kind of stress as soon as possible. The most effective way to reduce stress caused by rejection is leading an active lifestyle, particularly engaging in physical activities, learning new skills, traveling, meeting and communicating with new people, and so on (Rholes, 2017).
In any relationship, jealousy is a major source of anxiety and stress. Interestingly, jealousy is more often groundless, unreasonable, and erroneous. Basically, jealousy is based on the fear of loss, and as it is known, fear is blind (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
There are two types of jealousy: reactive and suspicious. Reactive jealousy happens when one of the partners responds to a real threat to their relationships with the other. Suspicious jealousy happens when one of the partners responds to an imaginary threat to their relationships with the other. Certainly, both types of jealousy create major strains in romantic relationships and must be handled differently. In the first case, the fault may fall either on a partner who is showing signs of affection towards another person or that person. In the second case, a partner who is jealous is wrong (Bendixen, Kennair, & Buss, 2015).
Additionally, there are other factors that make people prone to jealousy. Apart from the fear of being replaced, low self-esteem, insecurity, personal-psychological factors play a big role in supporting jealousy. Past experience can also increase a person’s inclination towards jealousy (Bendixen et al., 2015).
However, jealousy can sometimes be considered a positive emotion, as it warns people about a deficit in their relationships and helps detect potential threats from the outside. But when it happens for no reason, it can be very destructive. Thus, there are many ways to avoid or to manage jealousy, among which the most effective method is to speak openly and directly about one’s feelings, as honesty is the best way to avoid long and highly stressful conversations about potential or illusive threats to relationships. The best way to avoid jealousy is to show the partner that he or she is valued and special and devote them more time (Bendixen et al., 2015).
One more reason for stresses and strains in any relationships is deception. Although it is widely known that everybody lies, in romantic relationships, deception plays a particular role and happens even more frequently (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
Overall, deception is considered wrong. However, there are cases when minor lie can be healthier for relationships than the truth. First, for some people, truth hurts, and they would rather listen to a sweet lie rather than to ugly truth. In this respect, they simply want that others lie to them. Second, minor lie can sometimes help avoid unnecessary conflicts. Third, sometimes, lie can help maintain privacy, as it makes people more independent by freeing them from feeling of being “trapped” in their relationships (Bodenmann et al., 2015).
However, the disadvantages of deception prevail. Notably, the majority of people start lying at the very beginning of their relationships as, for example, at the first date when they tell untrue stories and lie about themselves. However, sooner or later, the truth will inevitably be revealed, as deception is almost always temporary and hard to contain. Admittedly, lying destroys trust, spoils relationships, and eventually, causes stress. Therefore, the best way to avoid any deception, as an ideal relationship can be only built on openness, trust, personal freedom, and mutual respect (Rholes, 2017).
Ways to Overcome Stress and Eliminate Strains
Any kind of stress damages health and spoils relations with the closest people. Stress influences not only physical but also mental health. It reduces the ability to enjoy life, function effectively, and think clearly. Effective stress management can help people overcome stress and eliminate strains in their relationships with their dearests (Bodenmann et al., 2015).
Thus, the methods of dealing with stress are abundant. But there are several of them that are the most prominent and lead to successful stress management. First of all, it is important to identify the source of stress and focus on it. Second, in the process of coping with stress, it is highly not recommended to use unhealthy methods such as smoking, using sedatives or sleeping pills, drinking alcohol, procrastinating, sleeping more than needed, and so on, as they not only damage health but also create only a temporal effect. Third, it is better to avoid unnecessary stress, try to alter the situation, accept the things that cannot be changed, and concentrate on those that can be.
Fourth, moving forward helps and engaging in physical activity are crucial methods in overcoming stress, as they help people abstract from their current problems, clear their minds, and create a foundation for productive thinking on how to solve the problem. Fifth, meeting and communicating with new people also creates a distraction from stress, as people can relax, enjoy, and entertain. Sixth, speaking openly and honestly with the dearests can help avoid unnecessary stressful consequences caused mostly by deception. Seventh, a healthy lifestyle can considerably reduce stress no matter the reason why it has appeared (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
Thus, in conclusion, it can be stated that stresses and strains follow people everywhere and create a great number of problems, especially nowadays, when the world is developing rapidly, and there are many distractions that can irritate people even on a subconscious level and cause anxiety. In romantic relationships, stress occupies a particular place, and the frequency of its occurrence is very high. However, there are many effective ways to overcome stress and eliminate strains in any relationships that should be used in everyday life (Lavner & Bradbury, 2017).
Anthony‐McMann, P. E., Ellinger, A. D., Astakhova, M., & Halbesleben, J. R. (2017). Exploring different operationalizations of employee engagement and their relationships with workplace stress and burnout. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 28(2), 163-195.
Bendixen, M., Kennair, L. E. O., & Buss, D. M. (2015). Jealousy: Evidence of strong sex differences using both forced choice and continuous measure paradigms. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 212-216.
Bodenmann, G., Meuwly, N., Germann, J., Nussbeck, F. W., Heinrichs, M., & Bradbury, T. N. (2015). Effects of stress on the social support provided by men and women in intimate relationships. Psychological science, 26(10), 1584-1594.
Lavner, J. A., & Bradbury, T. N. (2017). Protecting relationships from stress. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13(1), 11-14.
Rholes, W. S. (2017). Adult attachment, stress, and romantic relationships Jeffry A Simpson and W Steven Rholes 2. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13(2), 19-24.