Healthy Ways to Share Stress

­­Let OC RelatiLet the counselors at OC Relationship Center help you find your way back to each other.onship Center help you find your way back to each other.When you’ve had a bad day, it can be a mixed blessing to have a built-in audience at home in the form of a spouse or partner. In an ideal world, you would always be aware of what is bothering you and feel comfortable sharing it with a partner who is ready and willing to listen and commiserate.

But we all know that’s not how it always works. What if you don’t feel like talking about what’s really bothering you and instead turn your partner into a scapegoat? Conversely, what if he or she is under a lot of stress too, and not in the best position that day to offer comfort?

Here are a three common ways that stress can place a strain on marriage, along with a few dos and don’ts as to how to handle it:

Scenario #1: Misdirected Stress.

Sometimes it’s tempting to misdirect what’s really bothering you into frustration with your partner. After all, you’re so on edge that everything is a potential stressor, and you’re primed to snap over any number of unrelated issues, whether it’s the kids’ toys strewn all over the living room or weekend social plans made without your knowledge. As a result, your partner might begin to feel they have to walk on pins and needles around you, never knowing what might set you off.

If that sounds like you, DO take your emotional pulse at the end of the day: If you are feeling particularly stressed, don’t be afraid to say so and ask for a few minutes to unwind by yourself. Use that time to decide if what you are experiencing is just run-of-the-mill stress and fatigue, or something you want to discuss with your partner. DON’T try to keep it bottled in to prove how tough and capable you are only to jump on family members over things that don’t really matter.

Scenario #2: Venting stress but never doing anything about it.

For other people, the problem is nearly the opposite: they come home dying to talk about the stress they’re experiencing. However, if the stress is constant and prolonged, it can become difficult for their partner to hear about over and over again. Your partner may begin to take on the stress as their own, or tune it out, making you feel they don’t care.

If that sounds like you, DO tell your partner what’s bothering you, but if you find yourself always complaining about the same thing, DON’T rely on them as your only means of support—especially if it’s truly outside the realm of anything with which they can help. DO seek resolution by addressing whatever is bothering you as directly as possible, or talking with a counselor about different ways of coping. Most partners want to provide a shoulder to cry on—but many also grow worried when your stress goes unresolved.

Scenario #3: Sharing stress—then taking it back.

Have you ever come home and talked with your partner about something that made you angry that day but then withdrew as soon as your partner started offering advice? “Never mind,” you might snap. “It’s not that big a deal.”

It may be that the stressed or angry partner has either already handled the situation or decided to let it go, and therefore doesn’t want any advice—just a chance to vent or feel validated. The other partner might assume they’re being asked for advice and grow annoyed by what appears to be the other’s refusal to listen.

If this sounds like you, DON’T assume your partner is a mind reader. DO explain what you really want. You might say: “Something made me really angry today. I think I have it under control, but it would make me feel better to tell you about it.” It might not come naturally to your partner to listen without giving advice—some people tend to feel helpless if they aren’t able to “solve” your problem—but if you’re clear enough what you need, they should understand.

Finally, always remember that no matter how difficult your day might have been, your partner might be going through a lot of stress of their own. Always be attentive to their needs as well, and make sure that communicating about difficult situations in your lives is a two-way street. The bottom line is that stress is an undeniable part of everyone’s life, and being able to share it in a healthy way with your partner is a good way to put it in perspective as well as build intimacy.

If you find that stress is more often undermining your relationship than building it up, please give us a call at 949-220-3211 or schedule an appointment via our online calendar. We at the OC Relationship Center are here to help you.

Investing in Your Marriage

Invest in your marriage!After a while, many of us begin to lose interest in the relationship that is supposed to be the most important one to us – our marriage! It’s a common theme that weaves its way through many couples’ relationships, making marriage seem more like a chore than a gift. However, the secret to marital happiness is investing in your marriage, right from the beginning.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of this, and you’re wondering how it’s done. Here are a few ways that you can begin to invest yourself more fully in your marriage, right now.

    • Flirt with each other – Remember the days when you were dating? You hardly ever stopped flirting with each other. Flirting is so much fun, and it makes the other person feel great. For some reason, though, many married couples stop flirting after they get married. Start again today!
    • Read a book together – If you’re fortunate enough to have similar tastes, you can pick a book that you both love. If not, perhaps you can take turns delving into each other’s interests. Books stimulate conversation, which is why reading together is a great way to invest in your marriage.
    • Go to bed together – If you’re in the habit of going to bed at different times, unless a work schedule gets in the way, it’s time to nip this in the bud right now. Not only is bedtime the perfect time for intimacy, but it’s often a time when you can take a few minutes to reconnect with each other after a long day.
    • Make sex a priority – For many couples, exhaustion sets in after a few years of marriage. Sex takes a backseat to sleep, and the relationship suffers. Even though your career might be taking off, and the kids are driving you crazy, you still need to make time to fulfill each other’s physical needs.
    • Encourage friendships with other people – Men, your wife should feel like it’s OK for her to plan a girls’ night out every once in a while. Women, your husband should be encouraged to go fishing or bowling with his friends. We need these relationships as a part of our lives, and when you support them for your spouse, you’re really investing in your relationship with each other.

Can you think of any other ways that you could be investing in your marriage? Try a few of these, or come up with some of your own. You’ll find that when you do, you enrich the time you get to spend together, and your marriage grows sweeter by the day.

Remember, you were head over heels in love with your spouse at one time and your marriage was once your most important investment. We’d like to help you keep it that way. If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you.  Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar.

Can posting on Facebook hurt relationships?

Is social media hurting your relationship?In a world that is filled with new technology and a new social media site popping up every other day, are we living in a society where posting on these sites can hurt and even destroy our personal relationships?

Does blogging and live journaling hurt the feelings of those around us who read what we share online to the whole world? Do our friendships and relationships suffer because of the petty arguments we take part in on Facebook and Twitter? Is jealousy caused by Facebook stalking”? Does your mate get jealous when they see that someone is “poking” you or even posting on your timeline? There are so many people now that are closing their Facebook accounts because of a jealous lover or spouse, so what makes this social network so hazardous to your relationships?

Reconnecting with that old Flame

Facebook began as a way for people to reconnect with friends from their pasts. That friend that you had in middle school or perhaps even high school suddenly has found you and you have so much catching up to do. Finding that college friend that you missed saying goodbye to suddenly sends you a Facebook message and what a surprise! There are a realm of possibilities that have happened on Facebook and happen on the site everyday! However, there have been quite a few jealousy incidents as well. For instance, your high school prom date finds you on Facebook. The one that got away, you think. You have told your spouse all about them because you both share everything, right? Your spouse finds a post on your timeline from them, and goes ballistic! You’re convinced that your high school friend just wishes to reconnect, your spouse thinks otherwise. You never thought that this could be a way to hurt your relationship, but others may see it in a different way.

Some spouses believe that there is a new phenomenon known as Cyber Cheating. This type of cheating comes from constant banter between two or more people on Facebook. Some people misconstrue a wink or a sticker on Facebook as a way of flirting. Many of the newer relationships are damaged by Facebook in this way. What seems like a completely innocent conversation via Facebook messages, can be looked upon as your spouse or mate as a sexual invite, or even an invitation to dinner, when really it is simply an innocent and simple get to know you again gesture. It is important that you do keep lines of communication open with your partner or spouse about finding old flames and friends on Facebook. Honesty and trust are keep factors.

Whatever you do.. Don’t bring the relationship drama online

Surely, you have seen a lot of your friends post things on Facebook that are entirely too personal. A lot of younger, immature couples see Facebook as a way to air out their drama to the world. Do not drag up rumors of the other cheating on you on their timeline. Do not try to drag all of your mutual friends into the gossip either, it’s just a terrible idea! Make sure that if you want to vent about your partner or spouse, you do so with a friend via a phone call or text. Do not do it on Facebook publicly, this is the easiest way for them to see it and probably decide to end your relationship because you can’t talk to them about the issue at hand.

Make sure that when you do become involved with someone and they do also have a Facebook account, make sure that you both agree on the fact that you want to post your relationship status for the whole world to see. A lot of people are very private and may want to continue to have their status invisible or even listed as single. Many people get a little obsessive if their partner does not want to change their relationship status. Make sure you both know what you are getting into before you take the big step and become “Facebook official”.

Too Many “Selfies”

Everyone likes to take photos of themselves of Facebook, but how many self portraits do you actually need in one day? You get a new bikini, so you want to take photos, you get a new pair of earrings, you get new tattoos, you get new underwear, all reasons that people find to post photos of themselves all over Facebook. What if your partner is not all right with you posting these pictures? What if you keep getting comments about how sexy you look in them, beginning the online flirting and cyber cheating that your spouse has been worried about. This could automatically turn your relationship into a bad one. Make sure that if you are in a relationship, you keep the sexy selfies to a minimum. Your partner should be seeing you in these sexy photos, not complete strangers!

Social Networking does seem to be the trend of the future and it is important that we try to keep our personal drama and problems to ourselves. Using these sites as ways to vent are usually not a great idea and if you are private with your love life as well as your private life, you will be able to limit the amount of issues that you will have with your partner or spouse.