Me, you and this big wall you’ve built between us

Nicole McIsaac, News Editor

Life can be overwhelming. Between constant change, heavy demands, crippling anxieties — the list can go on — it’s hard to keep everything under control. However, those unplanned stressors that fulfill daily routines find ways to engulf almost every aspect of our lifestyles, including romances.

The pressures from school, personal conflicts, family, friends and a crumbling mental state are all prime examples of the components that configure into a bottled-up emotional mental showdown. Once released, these feelings can take a big toll on relationships — even the inseparable ones.

According to a 2020 report by the American Psychological Association, 49% of American adults reported their behavior was negatively impacted by the physical and emotional toll of increased stress. The study further disclosed how that mood alteration branches out into one’s romantic endeavors.

“Most commonly, (American adults) report increased tension in their bodies (21%), ‘snapping’ or getting angry very quickly (20%), unexpected mood swings (20%) or screaming or yelling at a loved one (17%),” the researchers stated in the report.

However, it is important to note that the impact of stress on relationships won’t look the same for everyone. While some may find themselves often fighting with their partner, others might be feeling more detached and withdrawn from any sort of engagement.

In an online study published on SpringerLink, researchers viewed two experience sample studies and discovered a common disengagement from work-induced stress spilling over to romantic relationships.

“These results suggest that detachment from work not only affects the working individual’s, but also their close partner’s the perception of their interactions, showing that detachment plays an important mediating role in the stress spillover and crossover process,” the researchers wrote in their analysis. “This emphasizes the relevance of addressing interpersonal processes in the association between detachment and well-being.”

The majority of the time, one might not have the slightest clue as to why their partner is hitting the fight-or-flight mode in life. However, since the effects of stress are completely unavoidable in relationships, it is crucial to be able to recognize the warning signs and be able to manage the situation at large. And if you love them, you will.

Here are a few signs that could indicate that your partner might be undergoing a fair amount of stress:


Oftentimes, stress can force individuals to disassociate from the world and create a bubble from the outside forces around them. If your partner is pushing you away in any way, shape or form, this could potentially stem from them trying to avoid placing their funk on your shoulders.

Fighting and constant pushback

When your partner is dealing with crippling stress, they could find themselves lashing out and spewing hateful word-vomit. While this should not be excused as acceptable behavior, it could be a sign of underlying mental blockage that they are taking out on you and your relationship.


Your partner might be less willing to engage in free-time activities, making you feel disconnected from them. This might feel like they are losing interest in spending time with you, it is important to note that they are often yearning for separation from any social engagement.

Lack of physical attraction

When a person is going through a rough patch, physical touch and sexual intercourse could be the last idea popping up in their mind. It is important to understand that this isn’t your significant other’s fault, and does not mean they have lost feelings for you.

If your partner is showing any of these indicators, it may be time to have a civil, calm and meaningful conversation that avoids any blaming viewpoints.

And it can be hard. It’s not as simple as sitting your partner down and having a conversation on the copious amount of stress that grips their every thought pattern. It can feel vulnerable, unsettling and plain awkward.

However, if you love this person, it is important that you acknowledge the struggle they are facing and accommodate accordingly to ensure a safe and protective space.