Have you noticed what is your default reaction when you slip into stress and anxiety in your intimate relationship?
Some people tend to panic. Some others would start arguing. Each individual has a unique way of reacting when they are under stress.
Imagine a happy couple who realized that they are in a financial crisis. When they came to know about it, one of the partners fell into a state of paralysis. But, the other partner, who was panicking, started to throw out different ideas for overcoming the issue.
Since both these people reacted in two diverse ways instead of understanding each other, their conversations evolved into conflicts and arguments. Their problems snowballed and paved the way for issues that they never thought would affect them.
Here, the couple failed to communicate and continued to remain in stagnation. Instead of bringing attention to the core issue, they continued to blame each other. This is a snippet of what could happen in a relationship when the couple gets into stressful situations. It can vary from a couple to another as each relationship is unique in its way.
What are the causes of stress and anxiety in a relationship?
As per Dr Niall Bolger from the New York University, there is a broader context while considering the causes of stress. There can be different factors that induce stress in a person. They can be work-related, family issues, arguments, neglect of feelings and emotions. Besides that, miscommunication, differences of opinions, wants, and needs can also have an impact.
When a person continues to bottle up their stress and anxiety issues, it can wreck the relationship in so many different ways. As per a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorder, the researchers surveyed 85 married couples. They found that couples who did not have any anxiety issues and supported each other had high-quality relationships. The couples with a partner having anxiety disorder had problems navigating through their relationships.
How do stress and anxiety affect intimacy?
Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions can have a profound impact on intimate relationships. When we look into intimacy, they are of two types, and they include physical and emotional intimacy. Stress and anxiety can have a drastic impact on intimacy. It can lead to issues such as loneliness, miscommunication, abandonment.
Studies show that anxiety and stress can affect physical intimacy among couples. It could lower their libido levels and cause issues like painful intercourse and erectile dysfunction. It is pertinent to address these concerns at the right time to enhance your intimate relationship.
When your partner is undergoing stress or anxiety, focus on building a healthy interpersonal relationship. Through this, you can act as a support system and help your partner through the situation. It will assist in making your relationship stronger.
T. I Zavider and their colleagues published a study on the effects of anxiety among couples in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. They analyzed the daily mood and relationship of 33 couples. Here, one person in each of the pairs had anxiety issues. In this study, they found a correlation between anxiety and distress in their relationships. Through this, it is evident that anxiety and other concerns can have an impact on intimate relationships.
How to curate a healthy relationship with your partner?
We all know that stress and anxiety can affect any relationship. But, working on these issues and overcoming them with correct guidance can be the best you can do to build a healthy relationship. By doing so, you and your partner can get over the negative cycle in your relationship caused by stress and anxiety. The founders of Sexpositiveme, a platform that focuses on destigmatizing sexual practices and relationships, said:
Couples need to prioritize themselves first. Remember that you are partners in life but also individuals that love each other. This is not being selfish but acknowledging you are in it for the long term. With that said, take some time to process what is causing the stress and anxiety in your relationship. Once you have this established, calmly talk with your partner about it. Try to find a solution together. Find ways to better communicate with each other. Work as a team to support each other. If needed, have a 3rd party, such as a therapist, help you understand and overcome the issues. At the end of the day, it is all about trust and communication with yourself and each other.
With correct guidance and support, you and your partner can get through stressful situations and manage anxiety. Be a part of our workshop, and find out different ways to improve your relationship with our sexual wellness professionals.
Cover image from Unsplash