Burnout refers to experiencing exhaustion, dwindling motivation, and a loss of interest in something you were once interested in. It is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. Most people focus on burnout relating to the workplace. People can and do experience burnout in their relationships as well. Let’s talk about relationship burnout, its signs and symptoms, and the ways to deal with it.
General signs of burnout
Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
- Chronic fatigue
- Forgetfulness or impaired concentration and attention
- Physical symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, fainting, dizziness, and headaches
- Increased illness
- Loss of appetite
- Anger and irritability
- Loss of enjoyment in specific areas of life or just life in general
- Detachment and feelings of disconnection from others and the environment
- Feelings of apathy and hopelessness
- Increased irritability often because of feeling ineffective, unimportant, or useless
- Lack of productivity and poor performance
Signs of relationship burnout
You feel detached from your partner. This is a key indicator of relationship burnout. You no longer feel the same way about your partner. It feels like you are no longer feel as close or attached to them as you were in the beginning.
You find your partner’s habits annoying. Even those things that were previously cute and quirky to you annoy and are the furthest thing from cute.
You feel emotionally exhausted. It feels like you lack the emotional energy required to be with your partner and as a result do not feel like being with them. You find the entire relationship exhausting and emotionally draining.
You are in a bad mood all the time. All relationships have highs and lows. However, there may be deeper problems if you have prolonged feelings of a bad mood and growing negativity.
You are no longer excited about spending time with your partner. You prefer being alone rather than with your partner. This is a key indicator of relationship burnout.
You often fight with your partner. Fighting is normal and expected but if the majority of your interactions are fights, there’s a problem.
You have stopped talking. Communication is foundational in the health of relationships and not talking is a significant indicator of problems and potential relationship burnout.
You are experiencing a dry spell. Relationships go through different phases and dry spells happen. However, if you are constantly annoyed by your partner and constantly doubting your continued presence in the relationship and as a result have diminished libido, there’s an issue to be addressed. You may be having sex but it’s just meh and you have no interest in spicing things up. In fact, you may actually want less of it. Relationships: Talking About Sexual Dissatisfaction With Your Partner
You feel like your needs are not being met. A major contributor to relationship burnout is feeling like you can’t rely on your spouse or partner to support you and meet your needs.
You constantly think about divorce or ending the relationship. If talk of your future together makes you cringe, you may have relationship fatigue.
You are constantly walking on eggshells. A good relationship is one in which you are relaxed and comfortable, free to share with your partner authentically. Being nervous and walking on eggshells is a red flag.
If you recognize a majority of these signs in your partner, they may be dealing with relationship burnout. Key among them being:
- They are in a bad mood all the time
- They no longer want to spend time with you
- Your interactions are often fights
- You are no longer having sex
Dealing with relationship burnout
How to deal with relationship burnout as an individual
Think about why you may be dealing with relationship burnout. This may require significant introspection. Also, think about what some possible solutions may be.
Take time out
Taking a break can help you refocus the direction in which you are going. Taking some time out can help you think clearly about things including the relationship in particular.
Take better care of yourself. Set aside time to do things that enhance your energy, restore your mental and emotional well-being and reduce stress. Set aside time to do things that nurture you and make you happy.
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Communicate openly and honestly about your needs
Make a list of what you would like to change in the relationship. Explain to your partner what you need from them and listen to what they may need from you and the relationship as well.
How to help your partner deal with relationship burnout
Take over the house chores
Taking over the house chores relieves your partner of some stress. This is especially important if the woman is the one experiencing burnout because women do the majority of the chores in the home. Fun fact, married or partnered heterosexual women with children do more housework than single women with a comparative number of children.
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Having strong and clear communication with your partner allows you to arrest problems early on. Communication takes away uncertainty, reduces frustration, and can prevent arguments. It allows people to share their needs, expectations, and feelings whether positive or negative. Once a partner is dealing with burnout, communicating becomes exponentially harder.
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Be available and proactive
Being present may be one of the things that make it possible to turn things around. Be intentional about improving things.
Things to do as a couple
Agree to work on the relationship
Together, you should mutually agree on rebuilding the relationship and healing together.
Develop rituals together
A lack of connection contributes to relationship burnout. Carve out time for each other. Try to reconnect through new rituals like having breakfast together, or preparing meals together, or meditating together. Share household chores including pet and childcare. This builds a connection, a feeling of partnership through life, and stability as well.
Keep in touch (literally)
Physical intimacy promotes the production of oxytocin which leads to a stronger connection between couples. Physical touch can make you feel cared for, can create a lasting bond, and is also a natural stress reducer.
Relationship burnout does not have to signal the end of a relationship. It may just be the indicator that a relationship needs to be worked on some more. Just a little more.
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