How stress in everyday life impacts the relationship in a couple

Most couples will certainly agree on this point: a stressful situation can promote a fight between partners. A sick child, a missed plane… even if some people will have some difficulty admitting it, it is often tempting to “let off steam” or blame someone else when faced with events that generate stress. But this would not only be illustrated in the interactions between two people.

79 newly married couples analyzed

According to recent research, a difficult situation to manage can bring out the attitudes perceived as negative by his significant other and exacerbate our annoyance vis-à-vis him. To reach these conclusions, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin interviewed 79 newly married heterosexual couples. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire each evening over a ten-day period. The exercise consisted, somewhat like a diary, in noting the stressful events experienced during the day, as well as in describing the quality of the interactions with his or her partner.

The most irritating behaviors

At the end of the experiment, the researchers noted an increased tendency to focus on the negative behaviors of their partner in people most exposed to stressful situations. Among the behaviors that irritate the most, the survey retains the fact of not keeping a promise, of showing anger or impatience or even of criticizing one’s partner.

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L’impact du coronavirus

Of course, a single stressful day is not enough to demonstrate this type of reaction: rather, the study mentions a longer accumulation of stressful life circumstances. “For many people, the past few years have been difficult and the stress of the pandemic continues to be felt. It would be possible to examine whether the harmful effects of stress are even more marked in couples who are no longer in the newlywed phase. But the fact that we saw these effects in a sample of newlyweds shows how significant the effects of stress can be,” says Lisa A. Neff, a researcher in the university’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. of Texas, who conducted the study.