10 ways to effectively deal with relationship stress

Does your partner or spouse cause you to stress?

Stress, whether from inside or outside your relationship, is likely to affect the way you think, feel and behave. This invariably impacts on your partner and your relationship – creating a vicious circle. If you’re dealing with relationship stress, I’m so glad you’ve landed here. I can help you to manage this. 

Relationship stress can be caused by a drip-drip effect of, for example:

It can also come about as a result of a crisis, such as an affair, sudden illness, the death of a loved one or other family problems.

Avoiding issues can provide temporary relief, but this may lead in the long-term to a buildup of stress, and reduced resilience when you’re confronted with stressful situations.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are physical consequences too – the impact of stress can make you ill.

Watch this video to learn more…

How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia

Are you stressed or is it your partner?

You and/or your partner may be suffering from stress from external sources. Ultimately, you are each responsible for your own recovery.

If you blame your partner, other people or the situation, you can get trapped in feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This is unhealthy as you end up wasting precious energy on things you have no control over, instead of focusing on the things you can control.

The specific reasons you or your partner may be stressed out

Discover full-length articles with a ton of tips and advice here: 25 Common Relationship Problems.

If only I could give you a magic wand with which you could bewitch your partner!

Is your partner – or are you – able to help?

Ideally, you’d offer each other emotional and practical support. If your partner appears unable to help and/or support you, try not to judge them. If this is out of character for them, then it may be that your partner’s own well-being is not so good at the moment. When you are feeling stressed it can feel as though everybody, including your partner, is out to make life difficult for you!

However, here are some potential alternative explanations…

  • Maybe unbeknown to you, there are adverse family circumstances or stresses at work that your partner didn’t want to burden you with. I know from my work with police officers, for instance, that they’d often not want to tell their partner what they’ve been involved in as it can be too distressing.
  • It could also be that he or she interprets your stress-related grumpiness as you being angry with him or her.
Your present circumstances don't determine where you go; they merely determine where you start. - Nido Qubein
It’s not so much what happens to you, but how you deal with it that makes the difference

How to start calming things down

When you get to the point where you just don’t want to go home at the end of a working day, or you dread your partner coming through the door, your relationship just won’t be satisfying any more.

If there are problems in your relationship or marriage, now is the time to sort them out. Continuing to do what you’ve always done is not going to change anything. I’m afraid wishful thinking will only lead to further relationship stress.

I’d really advise you to consider getting professional help from an experienced couple counsellor if this is your situation. Even if your partner doesn’t want to go, you still can – and at the very least you won’t feel so alone any more. It can be hugely helpful to discuss, in confidence, what is happening with an expert.

You can connect with an online, professional licensed therapist right now.

There’s also much you can do right now that can make a difference. Firstly we’ll look at things that you can do, and then we’ll look at ways that you can support your partner.

10 ways to effectively deal with a strained relationship

  1. Calm yourself or do whatever you can to calm your partner – as human beings we’re much better at finding solutions when we’re calm.
  2. Accept that your partner can’t read your mind. There is now evidence that ‘reading someone’s face can be unreliable.
  3. Understand that your partner is going to react, deal with stress and solve problems differently than you would, even if you don’t like or understand their ways!
  4. Realise that your- and your partner’s time scale may be very different!
  5. Write down your thoughts – it will help you to be more objective.
  6. Address any external sources of stress.
  7. State clearly if something is really unacceptable to you.
  8. Take care of yourself. This means getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising regularly.
  9. Engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities, even if it seems too much of an effort to start with.
  10. Consider taking some gentle natural remedies and read my article on treating depression without medication.

Also, you may like to have a look at my page on online hypnosis frequently asked questions. Self-hypnosis is such a great way to help reduce and even cure many a problem.

How to help your partner and yourself

5 ways you can help your partner cope with stress

  1. Encourage him or her to look at the above 10 ways to deal with stress.
  2. Act as a sounding board and refrain from making judgements.
  3. Give advice only when asked – you might otherwise only increase relationship stress.
  4. Give your partner some extra positive attention to support, inspire and soothe him or her.
  5. Remember that what might comfort you might increase someone else’s stress levels! Support your partner in whatever way he or she finds helpful, as long as they’re not putting themselves or anyone else at risk.

How introverts and extroverts deal differently with stress

An introvert (someone who is more at ease with their own thoughts and feelings) is more likely to be soothed by peace and quiet, and solitary activities.

An extrovert (someone who likes going out, getting involved and being with other people) is more likely to cope by engaging in lively activities.

You are each on a continuum between introvert and extrovert. Try to work towards a balance to avoid the risk of becoming polarised as that will certainly increase relationship stress.

Stress involving your children

I can do no better than let you watch Bruce Feiler’s presentation on building happy families. Oh, how I wish I had seen this when I was bringing up my son. It would have SO reduced all our stress levels.

If you and your partner have very different ways of dealing with your offspring, you are potentially making life more stressful for each other. This will help…

Bruce Feiler: Agile programming — for your family

You’re unlikely to be able to eliminate all stresses in your marriage or relationship. However, since relationship problems are one of the biggest causes of stress, I’m sure you’ll agree that it makes sense to deal with them.

Instead of hoping and wishing, why not get some counselling?  It’ll be a relief to be able to talk things through with someone completely independent. Help is just a phone call, email or text away.


Nothing lasts forever in life – not the good times and not the bad times. I know that with some good relationship advice you can work towards resolving the issues and keep chipping away at the stress in your relationship.

Do what you can to become the person you want to be.

You may also be interested in…

Background photo: silhouette of woman's face. Text: Need advice? Get help. Chat with a licensed therapist now.
Your problem is never too big, too small or too embarrassing to get personal advice from a professional counsellor!

Other helpful links

Are Relationships Good for Your Health? Student British Medical Journal
Psychological Science – Offering support under the radar