Having healthy relationships are central to the human experience. In intimate romantic relationships particularly, emotions and emotion-driven behaviors can reach a fever pitch and have an impact of physical and psychological health. Anger and stonewalling especially can negatively impact the health of relationships (Haase, Holley, Bloch, Verstaen, & Levenson, 2016). Anger is one of the most common negative relationship behaviors usually arising when someone feels hurt by another. Stonewalling refers to “tuning out” in conversations. These relationship behaviors cannot only psychologically hurt relationships, but have been linked to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal symptoms such as heart pain or racing, breathing difficulty, and back, arm, or leg pain (Haase et al., 2016). Other warning signs which can lead to relationship problems include criticism, contempt, jealousy induction (i.e. trying to instigate jealously in your partner), spying on your partner, and physical violence (Quirk, 2015).
What can we do to improve our relationships and avoid these pitfalls?
1. Remain aware of how you are interacting with your partner and others around you.
2. Make a choice to correct any behaviors which are hurting your relationship.
3. Examine core emotions or behaviors which are leading you to act in a certain way and address these issues with your partner.
4. If you need additional help, seek out additional help such as speaking with a mental health counselor or enrolling in a healthy relationship course. If you’d like to speak with a counselor, please call Mountainview Counseling. We would be happy to help with your relationship needs.
Haase, C. M., Holley, S., Bloch, L., Verstaen, A., & Levenson, R. W. (2016). Interpersonal emotional behaviors and physical health: A 20-year longitudinal study of long-term married couples. Emotion, 16, 965-977. doi:10.1037/a0040239
Quirk, K. (2015). Danger signs in romantic relationships. Clinical Science Insights, 1-5. Retrieved from https://www.family-institute.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/csi_quirk_danger_signs.pdf