Stress is cropping up more and more in our lives. Feeling stressed for one or both partners in a relationship can do a lot of emotional damage. Men aren’t known to be big on their expressive skills, so when your boyfriend is stressed, you have to be careful on how to approach the matter.
Whether it’s caused by work or personal problems, a stressed boyfriend will often push you away, clam up and withdraw.
Men don’t take very kindly to being shown they have a weakness. He’ll probably change the subject every time you try to discuss it.
So how do you deal with a man who is clearly stressed out, but doesn’t seem to want help? Well you know that despite all that, he needs to be helped to deal with this issue both for his good and the good of the relationship.
Here’s what to do when your boyfriend is stressed:
1. Increase physical contact
One of the easiest ways to show your silent support is by touching. He may still not be into talking about what’s bugging him, so settle for the next best thing.
When you see him withdrawing into himself, touching him will draw him out. Research has shown that touching helps produce oxytocin from the brain. This chemical inhibits stress response and fosters cooperation and sharing.
By holding his hand, rubbing his arm when you pass by or even giving him an impromptu massage, you’re encouraging his brain to share his problems. It’s a little bit of science and love.
In no time, he’ll be talking and will have reduced level of stress. Make sure you’re ready to give a listening ear when this happens.
Getting physically intimate can also help reduce stress and anxiety. The bran releases feel good hormones during sex that reduces stress.
Studies show that sex is a natural relaxant and it clears the mind.
2. Ensure he sleeps enough and eats healthily
Stress and anxiety negatively affect sleeping and being relaxed.
Under stress, the body releases hormones that keep the body alert. Anxiety comes with racy thoughts that may be overwhelming.
A lack of sleep triggers an increase of anxiety and irritability. This cycle can be very destructive both mentally and physically if you don’t do something about it.
Chances are if your boyfriend is tossing and turning all night, then you’re also being affected. Take it upon yourself to start a routine of pre-bed relaxation.
Creating a relaxed environment for sleep is the first step. Ensure he stays away from caffeinated drinks a couple of hours before bed. Serve him water or low sugar juices if he’s thirsty. This is also a good time to offer that massage to relax his muscles in preparation for sleep.
Diet and nutrition levels can either make stress go down, or increase them. Certain foods will provide comfort by soothing your partner without sapping his energy, and increase levels of hormones that naturally fight stress.
Low fat, carbohydrate rich meals and plenty of fruits will do the trick. Make him nutritious meals that will boost his system.
3. Ask him what you can do
Ask him if there is anything you can do to help him relieve his stress; do not assume you can figure it out alone.
Stress can be caused by being overwhelmed with things in life. Asking him what he wants puts the power in his hands. You’ll be engaging him to help him solve hi s problems.
He’ll take time to actually consider his options and tell you what he feels he might need most. Say “you look really tense today, what can I do to help?”
Make sure not to push him if he says “nothing” because insisting will aggravate him more. Honor his request even if he asks for space or a massage.
He will feel loved an supported when he sees that you’re making a sincere effort to help him deal with his stress.
4. Be patient
People handle stress differently. Men tend to become more argumentative, less comforting and supportive to others and more critical.
When you deal with your boyfriend, try to be more matter of fact than emotional, then you’ll be less likely to get irritated. His need to be argumentative and critical of you will be a moot point in face of facts.
Men frequently have a difficult time processing their own emotional responses. You’ll get a better response to your expressions when you don’t make them feel like they have to deal with your emotions too on top of being stressed.
If he does end up getting on your nerves, take a time out. He probably doesn’t mean to be so harsh and will end up regretting his reaction. Just be patient.
5. Suggest a weekend getaway
A weekend away from everyday stresses and responsibilities will do both of you a lot of good. You could take him fishing or golfing depending on what he likes.
Just ensure you don’t make the getaway about you. Be there to have fun with him and show your support.
You could also involve his friends and recruit them to help him unwind if you feel your support isn’t enough.
He might act prickly in the house and not want to socialize. But in the outdoors away from his stressors, he’ll welcome the company of his friends.
6. Get him involved in a physical activity
Do something active together that involves physical workouts. Physical activity increases the production of the hormone testosterone, which decreases the stress hormone.
Other ways of increasing testosterone include focusing on his achievements, encouraging him to go see his friends and having sex.
Exercising together also creates and opportunity for the two of you to spend more quality time together. From jogging to riding bikes around the block, and regardless of the activity both of you choose, getting active will allow him to calm down and release stress.
7. Take care of yourself
It might not have even crossed your mind, but taking care of yourself is pretty important too.
I know that you probably think this would be the worst time to also focus on yourself and put all your resources into looking after your boyfriend. However, research shows that when one partner is stressed out in a relationship, it’s bound to rub off on the other.
You can’t help him if you’re also stressed out. You should have an activity that you can do alone to give yourselves space to work out your own stress as well.
Once your own stress has reduced, you can then focus on helping your boyfriend. You aren’t good to anyone else if you aren’t any good to yourself.
8. Know when to walk away
Part of taking care of yourself when you’re dealing with a stressed out boyfriend is knowing when to walk away.
If it gets to the point where your boyfriend is stressed and taking it out on you, sometimes the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the situation. Especially if he’s starting to become aggressive or abusive.
Take some time away from them and let them cool down. And if it’s a continuous issue, you need to question if he’s someone you want to be in a relationship with. Offer to get them help if their stress turns into anger.
As much as you might want to help him, sometimes you’ll have to realize that there’s nothing you can do except move on.
Destress Your Boyfriend
Men tend to compartmentalize and repress their feelings when they feel they’re overwhelmed with stress. They get aggressive and critical which makes it very hard to deal with them, especially when you do not know what’s wrong.
When your boyfriend is stressed out and distant, it can feel impossible to get through to him. But what they need is your support.
Try not to over emotionalize things during this time because they’ll feel like you’re burdening them down with the emotions. Show them support and encouragement and help them any way you can. Even if they ask for space, don’t take it personally. In the end all will be well and you can get back to having a healthy and happy relationship again.