During the past few months, Roland has been working extra long hours at the office; his company is down a crucial staff member, and he’s had to pick up the slack. The stress began to take its toll: not only did we rarely see eachother other than late at night, but we mostly just talked about his work (which can definitely grow old, as can any conversation that happens too often) and his patience for everything else (including me) seemed to grow thin.
I won’t pretend anything about that period was easy; he pulled away while I wondered what was up. I tried to be supportive, but it seemed at times my presence was stressful as he needed more time alone. I finally pulled back myself, letting him do his thing while I did mine, and that’s when we started communicating more easily.
The experience was definitely a lesson in how two people handle stress and conflict. He’s more like a cat who hides away when sick, whereas I seek stress relief with a friend or partner. I admit, those two habits (or needs) are probably not the best fit.
How do you handle your SO when he or she working all the time or is stressed out by life? Are you eternally patient and supportive, or do you get to a point where you realize your needs aren’t being met? What has helped (or hurt) in past relationships during those periods?