6 tiny signs toxic stress is slowly eroding your relationship

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Do you know the signs of toxic stress ruining your love life and relationships? Sometimes, it’s not so easy to tell. Good relationships turn bad. Why is that?

Is it something you said? Something you did? Do you wonder why friends are starting to avoid you? Or why do you feel negative about people you were once really close to?

When healthy relationships cease to be healthy, most of us want to know why. And even more so, we want to know how to fix a relationship that seems healthy when it starts breaking down.

Is dealing with stress in life affecting your behavior around people around you? Are you no longer attending social gatherings that used to give you life? Have you lost the one friend who you could always open up to? How about your relationship with your significant other? Are you having relationship problems and arguing more than ever for no apparent reason?

When healthy relationships break down to the point of being in grave danger, there’s always a reason.

Here are 6 tiny signs toxic stress is slowly eroding your relationship:

1. Your relationship breaks down

Your close relationships are the foundation for your physical and mental health. So when your healthy relationships begin to break down, it may mean you’re breaking down.

Breakdowns in once-healthy relationships are a symptom something is happening inside you, and it’s something you need to resolve.


Great relationships are contributors to a great life. No one wants to be stuck in unhealthy relationships, right? There are many perspectives on how to save a relationship and handle the aftermath of a relationship breaking down.

First, you need to see the light. While you may consider yourself healthy and believe you have healthy relationships, you may be surprised by what’s happening.

Have people you care about stopped engaging? What about people in your life who you used to rely on?

Have they stopped calling? Or, what about your involvement? Have you stopped reaching out to others? If this rings true you’ll want to dig in to understand what’s happening and get back on track before there’s irreparable damage.

2. You have low energy

People who often struggle with low energy are high performers who usually achieve their goals. They often have a lot of energy. So they find it easy to make relationships.

Life often goes well for them through their 20s. During this period, they have the energy to do fun things and go out with people on the spur of the moment.

Then they hit their 30’s. And change happens. Positive and negative. Life becomes much more demanding and complex.


Exciting opportunities and decisions push and pull on you. Job promotions place greater demands on you. Relationship challenges require you to transition from the freedom of peer bonding to the commitment of pair bonding.

You may have pair-bonded with someone, but it hasn’t worked out. Or you may have pair bonded and now have the challenge of the infinitely more difficult task of raising a child.

Then there are all of the other things in life that you didn’t plan for, like illness, getting fired, or having people you love get sick and die.

Good things can also be a challenge. Buying a house or finishing an advanced degree can be very positive changes. But they come at a significant cost.

Now that you know if you’re at risk.

3. You don’t acknowledge how stress affects you

You tell yourself you’re more than ready and able to handle any of these issues. Excitement and opportunity fill your atmosphere. You start to believe your childhood dreams really will materialize.

It is happening. Now. Fast. And you’ve got this, right? However, you have no idea how much stress these life events will cause you by themselves and when they happen in combination.


You’re probably thinking, “Nope, this isn’t stressful to me. This is life. And I’ve got it.” Trust me. Or humor me. Or stay out of curiosity. But you need to deal with stress and manage it.

Every successful person needs to understand the breaking point of their stress. You cannot maintain success when stress gets the better of you. And stress will destroy you and your most valuable relationships if not understood.

So you can weigh the toll stress takes on you and your relationship. And, equally as important, you’ll know how to handle it when healthy relationships break down from the damaging effects of stress.

4. You minimize the effect stress has on your physical and relationship health

We tend to go through major stressors and think we should easily bounce back and move on to the next thing. Not so! Stress follows you into your relationships. And it will affect how close you feel toward others and how close they feel to you.

5. You’re less present and affectionate.

You’ll lose the motivation to enjoy the fun activities you used to love. And this will cause relationship conflict. If not today, then in the future.

Stress can cause you to be more irritable, anxious, and less communicative. You will become a less enjoyable person to be with — a grouch. We all know those people, right?

Friends may gradually stop calling you because you’re just no fun to hang out with. Your physical and mental energy will drop from stress and will impact your relationships. Going to parties and events where friends hang out may seem nearly impossible. Frankly, you don’t have the energy.

6. You’re overly-busy

Doing too much is a catalyst for driving your stress levels up. A busy, stressful schedule gives you little margin for spontaneous or planned outings with friends or your partner. Stress will cause you to look at the world through a lens of negativity. Over time, you blame your overwhelm on others and life in general.

You become less patient with and more judgmental of the people you care about. You can’t overlook small issues, becoming irritable when they happen. This will cause conflict that could have been avoided if you weren’t so stressed.


If any of this sounds familiar, you’re walking a dangerous path. All of this will take a toll on love relationships. Your beloved wants all of you. Giving them your depleted, stressed-out self will make them feel uncared for.

They’ll feel like they’re getting your leftovers, which may not taste all that great. Over time, this can cause an injury to a relationship that could have been perfectly happy.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory

Not taking the time for yourself to unwind, especially when you have a lot of stressful life events, is damaging not only to your relationships but also to your physical health. However, stress management is vital.

Your body can only handle so much stress before your chemistry begins to change and you develop problems with your physical health. When you’re breaking down physically due to stress overload, it’s challenging to connect with people.

If you’re curious about your stress level and want to know if you are calm or a stressed-out accident waiting to happen, a great way to understand how stress affects physical health is by looking at and taking the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory.

Based on extensive research, they ranked 43 stressful life events from most to least stressful. You’ll be surprised by some of these.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Index score is determined by the total value of stressful life events experienced over 12 months. People who score 150 have a 30 percent chance of suffering from stress.

They have a 50 percent chance of suffering from stress if their score is between 150 and 299. If their score is over 300, they have an 80 percent chance of suffering from a stress-related illness.

What would you guess is your most stressful life event? If you would say a significant medical illness, the death of a child, a car accident, or even going to prison, you would be wrong.

The Holmes and Rahe research found that the death of a spouse is the most stressful life event, earning a stress score of 100.


Divorce came in second with a stress score of 73, followed by marital separation scoring 65, imprisonment and death of a close family member at 63, and personal injury or illness at 53. Marriage got a score of 50.

You probably never thought that finding and getting married to the love of your life would be the 7th most stressful life event.

And that losing your spouse to death or divorce would top the stress charts. Losing a spouse causes attachment loss and grief.

It rips away what John Bowbly called your secure base of emotional grounding. It often results in relationship financial losses and deep fear about the future.

How do you handle it when healthy relationships — and you — start breaking down?

The first thing to ask yourself is this: “Do I have a stress immunity weak spot? Have I been plowing ahead at breakneck speed and telling myself I can take on whatever life hands me? It’s time to get ready and admit you are not super-human. With a stress overload, you will eventually break, just like anybody or anything else.

Take time to reflect on the stressful events you have been through in the past year, and take the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. And if your stress score is at a dangerous level, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can I slow down and allow my body and emotions to recover from the stress?
  2. Do I need to reach out to my partner in a failing relationship and let them know that I value them and need them in my life?
  3. Am I already experiencing stress-related medical problems that I need to seek medical attention?
  4. Do I have overwhelming emotions that I need the help of a therapist to process?

Seeking the help of a therapist is always a good idea if correcting on your own isn’t an easy fix. Being humble enough to ask your partner or family for help is also crucial. Your courage in doing so could save a relationship and, potentially, a life.

You are stressed and losing relationships for one simple reason: the pressure of life is greater than your capacity to lift it. This does not make you bad or weak. It does make you a human who, from time to time, needs a little help from your friends.

What if you are losing a healthy relationship but you’re not suffering from the effects of stress?

There are other common problems — clinical depression, anxiety, and trauma, to name a few. You may want to sort through with the help of a healthcare professional. If you have any of these problems, you likely have a high-stress index score.

No article will alleviate stress from your life. The words on the page will not fix disconnected relationships. And many physical health issues will require professional help.

But, this discussion is imperative to living a whole and healthy life with relationships.

Now you know how to handle it when healthy relationships — and you — start to break down, you won’t ignore the warning signs.

Ekuonaba Media

Ekuonaba Media

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