Signs That Your Mental Load Might Be Affecting Your Relationships

woman talking to mental health professional

Throughout much of our adult lives, working and building up our careers has always been something we have strived for. Of course, there’s more to adult life than just working, placing well on the table, and building up a career that will look good on your resume. A good part of life is all about building your bridges and your relationships with people.

But even though most of us want to strive for an excellent work-life balance, there are going to be times that we feel stressed out with work. Typically, stress is just a normal biological reaction if we are placed in a situation where we need to exert more effort than usual. But contrary to what most people think, stress isn’t necessarily something negative since it’s also a way for our bodies to adapt to a particular environment. For instance, biking or jogging can produce good stress, which can help release feel-good hormones.

However, stress from work is usually negative, especially if you get swamped with many workloads. But this type of stress isn’t necessarily limited to the office. In fact, many women (especially wives) in the household are stressed since they have a packed to-do list. Much of this burden is usually called mental load. Despite being “situational,” this phenomenon is quite prevalent among women in relationships. Most experts would suggest that this is a silent but deadly problem.

But what is a “mental” load? How does this affect the overall physical and mental health of women? Here’s what you’ll need to know.

Silent but Deadly

But before we discuss anything else, we’ll need to understand why the mental load is such a dangerous phenomenon.

It’s no surprise that stress is known for causing a myriad of different health complications. But the emotional and mental burden of having a mental load isn’t just a phenomenon that has been observed recently: it’s been around for hundreds of years. In most cases, some mothers are the family’s breadwinners, especially when the father can’t provide the family’s necessities. This means that they’ll need to command their family and ensure that each “operation” at home will run as smoothly as possible.

In the past centuries, many women were expected by patriarchal society to stay at home. They had to dedicate their obligations to maintain the household. However, social expectations have changed with the times, and instead of just men being the sole breadwinner, women can now work in an equal role together with their partners. While this is an excellent development for many women, some studies have suggested that some women carry the burden of most mental loads in a relationship.

Some effects of mental load are the following:

  1. Pent up anger — many wives and women are expected to have a calm demeanor despite being stressed. In most cases, this could lead to pent-up anger or even resentment. This can lead to individuals burning much of their bridges and relationships.
  2. A deep sense of emptiness — Simple tasks at home can become, well, chores. If they are done every day, they can become boring, repetitive, and tedious. For many, these tasks can take much of the time away from meaningful work for a career or hobbies. Partners that have a heavy mental load (and workload) are left unfulfilled.
  3. Troubles in relationships — Many couples will usually experience a honeymoon phase. However, there will be instances during this phase when negative habits can become tolerated. At the very start of the relationship, partners might have been more active towards sharing their responsibilities, but as time goes by, many women might have to shoulder much of this burden. This can cause a lot of friction in the relationship, which could spark anger and arguments.

Since mental load can affect couples’ relationships and the psyche, it’s only appropriate to address this problem before it can cause serious damage. Here are some important ways of remedying such an issue.

Taking Some Load Off

First and foremost, one of the most important ways of addressing mental load is creating a balance. Proper time management is needed when handling your to-do list, and separating work tasks and chores at home can help outline which ones you should prioritize.

In some cases, you might want to hand over some complex tasks that you can’t do yourself to professionals that can help you. Of course, this will depend on the industry you’re in and the nature of your work.

Got a lot of tasks at home? You might want to get some household help. If you’re managing a business and want to market your products and services well, you might want to consider hiring a product photography expert. Not only will this free up some of your daily tasks, but this can also help with your mental load.

woman mental health counseling

Being Transparent with Your Partner

Next, one of the best ways of taking off some mental load is being upfront and honest with your partner on how you feel. Let them know that being in a relationship means that both individuals should start supporting each other and helping out with daily responsibilities. Still, it’s important not to drop everything at your partner.

Instead of just delegating responsibilities, you can list some tasks that take up much of your time and those you think are most challenging to do. By listing them down and finding the right balance, you can take some mental load off you.

Although relationships and marriages can be fun at certain times, it’s not always about living a fairy tale life. Both partners in the relationship will need to do everything in their power to ensure that both parties are doing their part. The mental load can negatively affect many relationships. In most cases, it’s mothers that can bear most of this mental load.

Addressing an unbalanced mental load in the relationship means talking to your partner and redistributing much of this load. Not only will this help make the relationship stronger, but this can also help with issues in the relationship.

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