Relationships and Stress – Yes

We are but mere humans. We are susceptible to our environments and their elements, and in today’s day and age, a stressful environment is the norm for most of us. We live stressful lifestyles, lifestyles that take their toll on our bodies as well as our minds. We try to eat well, get lots of sleep and exercise so that we can keep our bodies well oiled and running smoothly. But how do we relieve the mind? How do we reverse the damaging effects of said stressful lives? Sure, there are different ways of taking care of our mental well-being. Meditation, hobbies, socializing with friends. But who has time for all that? So we resort to complaining. We all need an outlet. We all need to vent. So we complain.

Complaining is a natural part of life. Just like the body fights an infection to eliminate a virus, the mind needs relief as well. It needs to get the bad out, so that it can function properly. Complaining doesn’t have to be bad and it doesn’t have to ruin a relationship. But, unfortunately, it often does.

Anything in excess can be harmful to its surroundings. Too much eating can lead to health problems.Too much drinking can make you dependable. And too much complaining can lead to stressing out the other party, and possibly cause them to get fed up, or distance themselves, resulting, most often than not, in a negative effect on a relationship. We need to learn how to moderate. However, that is much easier said than done.

Much like constructive criticism, complaining is an art. Complaining should be done in such a way that the other party does not feel overwhelmed, In addition, it is important that the person who is doing the complaining does not project their frustrations onto the listener. It is the only way to get your message across and relieve your concerns, while keeping a healthy relationship. In addition, if  complaining, then the complainer should also be presenting some sort of solution(s) to whatever stressor they are experiencing. We often get stuck in a vicious cycle of mounting complaints on top of complaints, without taking the time to find an actual solution to whatever it is that’s bothering us. And that leaves all of our problems on the table, without any resolve. It is not fair to dump our own stress and complaints onto someone else, as they could also be experiencing their own stress, and while we feel lighter and calmer after a complaint, the other person may all of a sudden feel double the stress, as they are now carrying the burden the complainer has put on them, as well as their own. Obviously, that does not help a relationship grow, it does not bring people closer together, and eventually it will, if not ruin a relationship, at least cause it to cool down.

We all have problems of our own, we are all stressed, we all need an outlet. Just like any other aspect of a relationship, if complaints are not properly handled, they will remain unresolved. The complaining party will feel like their frustrations don’t matter, that they cannot find the support they are looking for in the other person. And if the other party turns a deaf ear to complaints and labels the other person as a “whiner”, they will eventually come to resent them and shy away from continuing a relationship with them. This will do nothing positive for the relationship, potentially leading to a damaged, or, eventually, a relationship that can no longer progress. And that often means an imminent termination of the relationship.

Complaining, frustration, worrying, they are all parts of our lives. Not complaining can lead to overburdening ourselves, which can lead to more stress, depression, mental as well as physical illnesses. We simply cannot and should not keep it all inside. On the other hand, complaining too often can have the same effects on the other person. It’s all a very delicate balance and a work in progress, that needs continuous maintenance. Complaining can be healthy for a relationship. It can bring people closer together, as frustrations would be dealt with as opposed to being supressed and bottled up insinde. One person can speak their mind, while the other can take that as an opportunity to get some insight on their partner’s thoughts and struggles. Together, they can find solutions and enhance their relationship, as opposed to letting complaining morph into an insurmountable obstacle. We sweep something under the rug too often, we’ll eventually have a huge lump that we trip over every day. And nobody likes to trip.