Preventing Outside Stressors from Damaging your Relationship

Preventing outside stressors from damaging your relationship

Too often we become stressed due to work, extended family, renovations, the economy, school, or any number of things. Unfortunately, this stress often follows us home and causes harm to our relationships. It makes it difficult to communicate, to connect, to truly just be together. It can make us short with each other, more frustrated, wanting to isolate and disconnect. It often causes us to withdraw into our technology and hide. These external stressors are never going away. We live in a world full of them, but there are ways to prevent them from harming our relationships.

Be honest

Tell each other what is happening, why you feel stressed, why you are distant. We tend to be egocentric and assume our partner is pulling away because they are upset at us, not because they are having an internal conflict. By being up front, you can decrease the hurt your partner may feel from the disconnect, and allow them to understand what it is you need. On the flip side if your partner is stressed, don’t always try to fix it – sometimes, all they may need is a ear. Be the ear, listen truly, do not just wait for your turn to talk. Try not to be offended if they do not take your advice or would rather not discuss what is happening.


In times of stress, we often start to believe we have no time for self-care. Thinking “I can’t go to the gym I have to much to do” is a common. Know that when facing stress, self-care is crucial. We need to take the time to make ourselves feel better, take the time to do things we enjoy. Often the external stressor cannot be solved, but rather it can be valuable to have a positive escape from it. As a partner, encourage them to decompress, to take time for themselves. This will in the long run allow for them to have more energy to invest into the relationship, and make it a stronger partnership.

Take time to do things you enjoy as a couple

Make sure you still go out for those walks, hikes, dinners and whatever you enjoy doing together. In times of stress, we need to make sure our friendship stays strong. Take this time not to talk about the stressor, but rather enjoy each other’s company, have fun and laugh. These moments will allow for a build of positives in the relationship, which will help negate those negative interactions. It is crucial to foster your friendship as a healthy relationship can not exist if you are not friends first.

Reconnect daily

Make sure each day, no matter how stressed you feel, you take the time to connect in a meaningful way. Try hard to remember that when you chose your partner,  you vowed to work through the stressful times together. We all have moments that are hard, but we must remember to show those we care about that they are important and valuable to us.

Ashley Dreger
Counseling, MACP
Ashley is a couple, family and child counselor who helps people deal with problems such as depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, ADHD, self esteem issues etc. She supports people through their negative phases and encourages them to build deep connections and healthy home environment.
She is a certified behavioral consultant from The Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences and has an experience of over 8 years.

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