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Is Your Stressful Job Hurting Your Relationship?

4 Apr

Experiencing some sort of stress is a normal part of any career. Anyone under a deadline or preparing to give a big presentation has surely felt the stress I am talking about. This type of stress is known as “eustress,” or positive stress. This is the type of stress that pushes us to be better and to achieve more. While this positive stress can be good for us in small doses, negative stress is never good for us. Negative stress is the kind of stress that is all-consuming and takes over your entire being. When you are experiencing this negative stress, you no doubt bring it home with you. Generally negative stress makes you irritable and grumpy, and as a result, hard to be around. As I am sure you can imagine, bringing this stress home with you can certainly cause a strain in your romantic relationship.

When I think of going home I think of somewhere safe, somewhere happy. But when you or your partner brings work stress into the house, your home becomes a place you or your partner no longer want to be. I have been stressed out and snapped at my husband numerous times, and he has done the same to me, all as a result of work stress. When this happens it is usually over something extremely silly – like my husband forgetting to rinse his dinner plate off or me leaving my purse on the kitchen counter instead of hanging it up. Sure, these are the things that annoy us about each other on a daily basis, but only when we are irritable and grumpy do we snap at each other about it.

While we both have great jobs, sometimes we feel the negative stress eating away at us. This usually happens when we have so much going on at one time that we can barely breathe, let alone have five minutes to ourselves. This constant stress and overworking causes us to come home in a bad mood, and as a result, treat each other badly. Surely if you come home stressed out enough times and cause tension in your home, problems in your relationship are bound to creep up. In order to minimize the impact of work stress on your relationship, here are some tips:

Try Venting To Your Partner About Your Bad Day

I find that when I have had a really bad day, talking about it with someone who supports me 100% always helps. Sure, my husband might not completely understand my stress or what I am talking about, but having him there beside me telling me that tomorrow will be better always helps. If you find that your partner is a bad listener or always has to talk about his day when you vent about yours, try talking to someone other than your partner about your stress or how much you hate your boss. What is most important is that you get the stress out so that you don’t bring it home with you. If this means calling your mom or your best friend rather than relying on your partner, than do so.


I know a lot of people use the excuse that they don’t have time to exercise after work, taking care of their kids, etc. The truth is that there is always time for exercise, even if it is just 20 minutes a day. Sure, after working a long, hard day in the office the last thing you want to do is workout, but trust me it will make you feel better. I can’t tell you how many times I have come home in a bad mood, gotten in an argument with my husband, and then worked out to find that I was no longer irritated or mad. I find that when both my husband and I are working long hours and don’t have time (or make time) to workout, we are both very on edge, which causes crazy arguments that could have been avoided had we taken 20 minutes to exercise. If you work a job where you get home late, then get up in the morning and workout. If you have the ability to take a longer lunch, then go workout during your lunch break. Whatever you have to do to ease your stress, do it.

Set Work/Life Boundaries

There are many nights of the week where either my husband or I come home with some work that we have to get done. Usually we do it while we sit and watch TV together. While this is ok sometimes, getting in the habit of bringing your work home with you is never a good idea, especially if your relationship is already suffering from work stress. It is important to remember what is most important in life – like your marriage – and take the time to work on that as much as you work on work. Maybe the boundary means shutting off your work phone for an hour while you and your partner enjoy dinner, or maybe it means having one night a week reserved for “date night” (note: this shouldn’t be a weekend night because you should already be spending time together). While getting your work done is important, so is your relationship. Remember that taking the time to nurture your relationship is very important.

Figure Out The Problem

Probably one of the most important things you should do if you are experiencing overwhelming stress at work is to figure out why you are so stressed. Is it because you have too much work and not enough time? Is it because your boss is rude and insensitive? Is it because you hate the work you are doing? Is it because your co-workers are mean to you? Whatever is causing the stress can usually be addressed if you can figure it out. For example, if you are stressed because you have too much on your plate then the next time someone tries to unload their work onto you, tell them no. If your boss yells at you in front of other employees, go talk to HR about it. If your co-workers ignore you or gossip about you behind your back, avoid those co-workers. There are ways around the stress, you just need to figure out the root cause of it and try to solve it.

If None of This Helps, Think About Finding Another Job

I know this may be a big step, but you have to ask yourself what is most important –  your marriage/relationship or a job that can be easily replaced? Hopefully you didn’t say the latter, but if you did maybe that is your clue that the relationship is not worth working on. If, however, you value your relationship more than your stressful job and you cannot seem to find a way to stop the stress, start looking for another job. Not only will this make you happier, it will make your relationship happier.