When your partner is facing major hurtles in life, it can be a tense situation and affect your entire relationship. They might be facing career challenges, unexpected financial issues, family drama, health issues, or something else that is on their mind often. It can be challenging to find ways to help without getting stressed out yourself or letting it affect your relationship.
It is important in these times to be there as a supportive partner. You can listen to them without judging them or trying to fix their issues. It can really help if you validate their concerns and hear them out. You can also ask if there are any small practical things you can do to make their life a little easier while they deal with the stressful situation. This is a very impactful way to show them that you care and they you want to help them.
Pay attention to your partner’s stress signals and what brings them relief. Are they eating and sleeping abnormally? Are they more withdrawn than usual? What lets you know they are stressed? Men and women have different responses to stress due to the different hormone levels. Women tend to need more affectionate compassion and sweet gestures and talking, while men tend to appreciate more action-driven approaches. Men tend to favor recognition and offers of assistance, and women tend to enjoy feeling wanted. Everyone is different, though, so communicate with your partner about it and you will see yourself using difficult situations as an opportunity to get to know them better. Don’t assume they want what you would want if you were stressed.
Realize that their stress has nothing to do with you. It can be easy to take it personally when your partner is frustrated or frazzled around you. They can seem angry at you, but they are not. Give them the benefit of the doubt when you can. Set some boundaries and make time to do some self-care practices so you can stay calm and strong for your partner. That way, they can lean on you for stability for a while till they are back to normal. They would do the same for you in a good partnership. The last thing you want is to let yourself get stressed by their stress, though.
If their issue seems way too overwhelming for you, ask them to get help from an outside person. Sometimes, it is best to seek help from someone who is not too close to you and very invested in your wellbeing. When a partner is troubled and comes to you for help, it can be deeply unsettling to see them that way. This renders you more worried than helpful. If the issue is too complex, it can be the best route to get a counselor or therapist that your partner can work with instead of coming home to you with their stress.
Life is stressful sometimes. Some seasons of it are especially taxing. When this happens to your partner, try to stay in communication and support them to the best of your ability. This is a chance to turn towards them with love and deepen and improve your relationship. When you can be together through the hard times without letting that make you drift apart or argue too much, that is a truly special and valuable relationship.