I'm a 27-year-old male who works at an IT company. In the past year, while adapting to the work-from-home setup, juggling between work and home life has been hard on me and my partner. At times I get extremely stressed out when my wife doesn’t understand my workload, which in turn has created distance between us. I feel so upset and frustrated. What should I do? -Dinesh
Answer by Shreeya Giri, Mental Health Advocate, Founder of Happy Minds
First, sit with yourself with a calm mind and try to understand what you’re going through. What is it exactly that has been causing you stress? How is it affecting your relationship? How do you want your relationship to be? What do you want your partner to understand? If what you’re struggling through is vivid to you and you are aware of what is making you feel burnt out, you can communicate better with your partner.
That leads us to communication, one of the most important parts of any relationship. You are two different people, and what connects you is communicating with each other. It may feel like your partner doesn’t understand what you’re going through and that must be causing more stress. But for her to understand, you must first share your feelings and problems with her.
Take some time to sit together, with the intent of doing some ‘assertive communication’. Try sharing what you’ve been feeling, and listen to her feelings in turn. For instance, there might be a misunderstanding. Try to remember what may have caused that and think about what you need to feel better, and what you can provide to make her feel better. Listen to her about what she needs as well. That is true communication.
On the other hand, it is comparatively harder for men to communicate as our society has normalized their suppression of feelings. You need an environment that feels comfortable and safe to share. And that falls on us, ladies. You need to build a space for your husband where he feels like he can share. A relationship is about adjusting and understanding. So adjust to each other’s emotional needs and that will help you understand.
Sometimes when your partner is showing his emotions through words and is venting, understand that he may only want to be heard. Not every action needs a reaction. When he is complaining about something, don’t rush to put your emotions and needs before his words: try listening to them rather than competing to tell them you too are struggling.
If there is a mental health issue you struggle with, email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get your query answered by a trained psychiatrist/psycho-social counselor in the upcoming issue.