You know how it feels to be physically exhausted after running a 10K, or mentally exhausted after pulling an all-nighter to study for that art history exam? As for emotional exhaustion — it can be a little harder to put your finger on, but it’s certainly no less taxing. The first step to making a change is to identify that you do indeed feel this way, and then letting your SO in on it. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to signal to your partner that you’re emotionally drained.
According to Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of the Kurre and Klapow radio show, it’s crucial that bae is aware of what you’re dealing with, because it can take a toll on your relationship.
“Being emotionally drained can fundamentally change the way you process and communicate information,” Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily. “This has a very real impact on your relationship. When we are emotionally drained, we have less stamina for conversation, are less able to tolerate conflict in a discussion, are more sensitive and in some cases numb to intense conversation. Our ability to empathize is diminished as well. Simply put, we have less energy, less ability to process information and less emotional capacity for the relationship."
The good news is, there is a way to bounce back from being emotionally drained. But first, you’ll need to let your SO in on your struggle. Here are a few ways to show your partner that you’re feeling emotionally tapped out.
Let them in on your stressors.
The fact is, there are so many reasons why you may be feeling emotionally drained. Some of them may not even have anything to do with your relationship itself — but regardless of what’s weighing you down, you should still start by filling your partner in on those things.
“If it is because of tense situations at work, or possibly with family, or even due to current world events, that is very different than being emotionally drained due to the interactions that you are having with your partner,” Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily.
So take a moment to identify what’s been sucking you dry lately. Is it the fact that your SO doesn’t seem to be able to take criticism without exploding? Is it an ongoing struggle with a coworker? Or is it how demanding your parents have been lately of your time? Once you’ve figured out what the main stressors are that are sapping you emotionally, it’s important to let your SO in on all of them. That way, they can be sensitive to whatever you’re dealing with.
Ask for what you need.
No matter how "in tune" with your feelings they may be, the reality is that your partner is not a mind reader. So not only may they be totally unaware that you’re feeling emotionally tapped out, but they also may be clueless as to what they can do to make things better for you. This is why Dr. Klapow advises helping them to help you.
“Tell them what you need them to do or not do," he adds. "For example: Just listen to me, give me some time and space to regroup, tone down your interaction style to something that is calmer, don’t ask me right now to jump into the middle of a high-conflict situation), etc.," he adds.
If you’ve determined that it’s your partner’s communication style that’s leaving you emotionally drained, Dr. Klapow recommends outlining the specific adjustments you need them to make — for example, asking them to stay and hash out an issue with you rather than leaving the room and slamming the door, or asking them to bring concerns up with you in person rather than over text.
At the end of the day, it’s often better to simply communicate exactly what you’re feeling rather than expecting your partner to pick up on subtle signs.
“The challenge with being emotionally drained for your partner is that they may not see it in you,” says Dr. Klapow. “It may require you to talk to them to tell them what you are experiencing inside that they do not see on the outside. This is why it is so important to tell them directly. Simply telling your partner that you feel emotionally drained and explaining how it feels (i.e. I don’t have a lot of patience left, I feel kind of emotionally numb, I feel like I can’t put out emotional energy etc.) is the best way to communicate. Dropping hints can create confusion when there doesn’t need to be.”
The bottom line? A supportive partner will want to know when you’re feeling emotionally drained, and sometimes the best way to let them know is by telling them exactly that.
At their best, relationships can be a major source of emotional support — but only if both people are getting their needs met.
“It’s important that your partner know you are emotionally drained, as well as know why you are emotionally drained,” explains Dr. Klapow. "We can be emotionally drained for many reasons, only some of which may have to do directly with our partners — however, being emotionally drained always impacts how we interact with our partners. So it’s critical that they know, they know why, and they know what you need from them.”
Communication and compromise are key to maintaining a healthy bond. Once you let your boo in on the fact that you’ve been feeling emotionally exhausted, you can begin the crucial conversation of how you both can do your part to resolve this problem. Think of it this way: As hard as it is to talk about, it’s going to benefit both of you. After all, the more you take care of your own emotional health, the more you’ll be able to be there for your partner, providing them with support when they need it most.
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