How to avoid 5 sources of stress in your relationship

Author: Canadian Living


How to avoid 5 sources of stress in your relationship

If the popular self-help book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (HarperCollins, 1992) taught us anything, it's this: Women and men communicate in fundamentally different ways. And communication differences can lead to relationship stress.

Understanding which female behaviours may cause your man to get stressed out can help keep your relationship conflict-free. We asked psychotherapist Kimberly Moffit about the top five ways female behaviour can stress men out, and solutions for how to adjust them.

1. Sweating the small stuff
We all feel anxious from time to time, but constantly worrying about day-to-day things – like Did I lock the front door? What should I make for the potluck next month? Did I remember to pay that bill? – can negatively affect your relationship, especially if your partner is more relaxed than you are.

Most women are natural planners, and therefore worry more about the future. Men tend to live in the moment. "Men are more psychologically wired to need immediate solutions to problems. So men feel stressed when women complain or worry for the sake of it, instead of taking action to resolve a problem," says Moffit.

Try to communicate what's bothering you to your partner, and more importantly, why it's bothering you. By giving him a problem to solve in the present, you can achieve a level of contentment with the situation.

2. Constant nagging
Both women and men can nag and find fault, but women are hardwired to notice the smaller details, whether good or bad.

"Men, just like women, need to feel important, needed and competent in a relationship. Nagging about little things he does could make him feel inadequate," says Moffit.

Instead of nagging, create a positive environment for you and your partner to talk about things that need to be changed in your relationship. Make sure that both sides are heard and that you're equals in the conversation, and in the relationship.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover how seemingly little things like teasing him about his looks or giving him the silent treat adds stress to your relationship on page 2

3. Playing games
Playing games in relationships can sometimes mask true intentions, and can lead to confusion and stress.

Men are straightforward creatures. If they don't like something, they will say so. Women are notoriously more complicated, and can engage in game-playing without even realizing it. By giving your partner the silent treatment or playing hard to get, you‘re making him guess.

"In any relationship, honesty is the best policy: Tell your man the truth so that you avoid confusion. Be honest so he knows what you really want," advises Moffit.

Often you can stop yourself from playing games by putting yourself in your partner's position. By acknowledging that you wouldn't like to receive this kind of treatment in return, you can stay in tune with how he may be feeling.

4. Teasing him about his appearance
Even the most innocent jokes about body image can be offensive. Men are just as sensitive about their looks as women are.

"Many men see their bodies as partially defining who they are as a person. Asking him to lose weight or poking fun at him can cause severe stress," says Moffit.

Although you both may joke around with each other, you always want to make your man feel like the best version of himself. He needs to hear how handsome he is and how sharp he looks in a suit, just as much as you need to hear that you look beautiful. Give your partner positive reinforcement about how he looks and he'll reciprocate. After all, that's what partnership is all about.

5. Jumping to conclusions
Women tend to react based on their feelings. This can sometimes lead to an overly emotional response, which is not always fair to their partners.

"Women sometimes have ‘all-or-nothing feelings' when caught up in an emotional moment or argument," says Moffit. And words like "never" and "always" are usually negative triggers for men. For example, saying, "You never surprise me anymore," may cause a man to feel like he is not getting his due credit.

Remember the little things he does for you, and be specific when you want to make your point. For instance, you can say: "I love when you bring me flowers – it really shows you care. It would mean a lot if you did it more often."

Every relationship takes hard work and open communication from both partners. Taking initiative to understand what might cause your man to feel stressed is a positive step toward a happy and healthy relationship.

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How to avoid 5 sources of stress in your relationship