5 Hacks: A cheat sheet for busy professional couples ~ surviving Valentine’s Day and coping with relationship stress

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5 Hacks: A cheat sheet for busy professional couples ~ surviving Valentine’s Day and coping with relationship stress

 With Valentine’s Day upon us, some of us get thinking about the often challenging area of romantic relationships. Along with the hastily purchased flowers or chocolates as you race home, come the tricky issues, for even in the most well-suited couples. It’s no secret that being in a relationship has its difficulties and it can become a major source of stress.
We crave connection and intimacy and yet frequently our relationships become filled with tension and pain.
Stress sparked off by relationships can show up as problems such as anxiety, difficulty sleeping, or even tension headaches. Understanding that stress can be caused by your relationship — and the unique ways you and our partner react to it — helps us to identify these symptoms.  The challenging part is to listen and respond to the warning signs, and effectively move through the ups and downs together.  All relationships are different and it can be confusing trying to work out what is going on between you.  If you are not aware of exactly how you are acting, and reacting, you may experience relationships as distressing and painful, without understanding why.

You are unique, as is your relationship and the more you are prepared to listen to feedback from your partner without getting defensive the better. Don’t get me wrong…I get it this is not an easy task for any of us! But like all things, a great relationship requires hard work. Some of that hard work for you may be just being able to hear and take in some feedback and then figuring out what to do to change how you are coming across.

It’s common to misunderstand relationship problems because the causes arise from hidden patterns within us, not from others’ behaviour or attitude. The problem is we often don’t notice the role that we play. We are so focused on what the other person is and is not doing. Hence, many people are left uncertain about what it takes to create a happy, long-term relationship.

Your 5 steps to coping with relationship stress

  1. Work out what the problem is ~ For example: “My husband doesn’t pay me enough attention, he is always working.”
  2. Identifying the patterns which are causing the problem to arise and continue ~ When he is finally at home I get snappy and irritable a lot with him, because I am overwhelemd with all that I have on my plate.
  3. Thinking of ways you might be part of this problem, ~ Is he withdrawing and becoming distant from me because I am being negative, critical and he can never get it right for me? Maybe I am ignoring him when he does try to spend time with me, because I resent all the time and energy he dedicates to his “other mistress” that is work?
  4. Taking action to change the way you respond ~ Noticing when he is putting you first, turning down work or travel opportunities, extra meetings from home etc. and instead trying to listen to me about what I need.
  5. Seeking independent help ~ If the problem persists and despite you trying to get it sorted alone, relationship counselling can help challenge the negative patterns you have developed between you.

 Tips on working towards a happier relationship:

  • Set an intention to fully commit to the relationship. Yes I know it’s tricky… this involves compromises and can lead to a loss of freedom, however, think of the deeply satisfying and intimate connection you stand to gain with fully diving in.
  • Accept the other person as they are, including all their faults, weaknesses and normal human foibles. Remember you have all these things too!
  • Take a risk and try and be as open and as honest as you can. Remembering that words can be hurtful so be as constructive and positive as you are able to be.
  • Take responsibility for your mistakes, by practising saying sorry when it is warranted or even by being the bigger person and apologising even when you are unsure if it is warranted.
  • Be open to negotiation and forgiveness — aim for a good compromise, and keep going till you get there.
  • Try to let go of your need always to be right or in control. Often needing to be in control is about fear. I have to control everything or it won’t be ok.
  • Give as much support to your partner as you can and watch how support starts to flow back towards you effortlessly
  • Make time to have fun together.


By |2017-02-03T17:22:37+10:00February 3rd, 2017|Relationships Tips, Well - being|0 Comments

About the Author:

I am a Melbourne relationship counsellor and psychotherapist. I love writing for couples and individuals looking for answers and guidance about relief from their emotional pain. I do this work because I firmly believe that everyone is capable of growth and change. With my professional toolkit, my support and many years of therapeutic experience, it is a privilege to help you achieve greater mental and emotional wellbeing. Take the first step and make contact with me for an initial consultation in my Caulfield Clinic.

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