The Top 15 Things That Cause Stress In Relationships, According To A New Survey

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When it comes to relationships, even happy and healthy relationships, stress is just part of the equation. Not just because it can sometimes be stressful to put in the necessary amount of effort to keep your relationship strong and on track, but the outside world can also take its toll on your relationship. It's hard not to carry home with you, at night, the stresses you've encountered throughout the day.

For their most recent survey, The Happiness Index, eHarmony commissioned Harris Interactive to do some research on happiness in relationships. The 2,084 respondents, 18 years of age and older, were asked not just about what in their relationships made them happy (or not happy), but what things caused the most stress in their life. The answers, of course, ran the gamut.

While some stresses in life are unavoidable, especially stress related to money, which is always a big source of concern in relationships, there are ways in which people can deal with these stresses, starting with communication.

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Communicating with your [partner] can simply mean to just listen," author and relationship expert Alexis Nicole White tells Bustle. "Be attentive, by demonstrating that you have heard what they’ve said by doing something to signal to them that you have heard them. If something is bothering them, do something to correct that irritation in their lives.”

But even if you and your partner have communication down to a science, it doesn't change the fact that stress exists for many couples. Here are the top 15 things that cause stress in relationships, according to eHarmony's findings.

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Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

In such a politically-charged environment, it can’t be much of a surprise that arguments about politics can cause relationship stress. Even if you’re on the same team, it’s still hard not to let the stress from it affect you and your relationship. Because of this, for five percent of the couples surveyed, politics caused the most stress in their relationship.


Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Well, if one partner — or both — strays, then of course we’re looking at some relationship stress to follow. For six percent of couples, it was infidelity that caused such turmoil and stress.

13Premature Ejaculation

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

I’m a bit surprised to find this one on the list, but for seven percent of those surveyed, premature ejaculation was enough of an issue to cause relationship stress. Although, I imagine, with the right sex therapist and practicing certain techniques, this one, while it might not be completely solved, can at least be worked on for the sake of the relationship.

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Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

While studies have found that porn isn’t all bad and that some relationships can benefit from it when couples watch it together, according to this particular study, eight percent of those surveyed pointed to porn as something that causes the most stress in their relationship. This leads me to believe that, perhaps, these aren’t couples who are watching it together.

11After A Baby Is Born


There’s definitely no denying that having a baby can totally take a toll on a relationship, especially with all those sleepless nights and an immediate shift in priorities. So, taking that into consideration, for eight percent of those surveyed — tying with porn — a new baby is a big relationship stress inducer.

10Inability To Achieve An Orgasm

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

While 11 percent cite a failure to orgasm as something that causes stress in their relationship, it should be noted that you don't have to have a climax to have a fulfilling sex life.

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9Disagreement About Kids

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Twelve percent of those surveyed pointed to the kiddos as their main source of stress.

8Erectile Dysfunction

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Although we do live in a Viagra world, 15 percent reported that their relationship stress was due to erectile dysfunction.

7Boring Sex

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

For 15 percent of people, boring sex was the source of relationship stress. Luckily, there is a cure for boring sex, but it will involve getting a little, well, creative, to say the least.

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6Health Problems

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Since we can’t all be in perfect health 24/7 forever and ever, health problems can take a toll at some point causing stress. At 16 percent, short-term health problems cause the most stress in a relationship and, at 18 percent, long-term health problems cause the most stress.

5Morning Birds Vs. Night Owls

Ashley Batz/Bustle

For 20 percent of those surveyed, the real cause of stress in their relationship is when one partner is a morning person and one is a night person. Which, honestly, is really fascinating that such a thing could cause such a stress. Although, as a night owl, I guess dealing with us in the morning is probably stressful AF for those who are in bed by 10 p.m. every night.


Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Closing in on the top four things that cause the most stress in a relationship, we have money as the most stressful thing for 27 percent of couples. No surprises here, for sure. Money, although a lot of fun when you have it, can be the bane of one’s existence when they don’t have it.

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3Sex Drive Issues

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

For 28 percent of those surveyed, low libido and sex drive are cited as the top things that cause stress in a relationship. While low libido can be caused by a myriad of things, from medication, to health, to stress, to body insecurities, and about a dozen other things, there are ways in which this can be worked on with therapy and just getting to the source of the problem.

2Being “Too Tired For Sex”

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

For 33 percent, one partner saying they were too tired for sex, was the biggest source of relationship stress. If this is happening in your relationship and you think something else is up other than them being tired, your best bet is to have an open and honest conversation about it.

1Work Stress

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

The thing that causes the most stress in relationships? Work stress is the stress of all stresses. Yes, stress causes more stress — mind-blowing, I know. But, tragically, for 35 percent of those surveyed this is what causes the most stress in their relationship.

No relationship is without its stress. But it's about recognizing the source of the stress, communicating about it, then taking the next steps to ease that stress as much as possible.

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