The Recession-Proof Relationship

Money and financial stress are one of the leading causes of relationship stress - even during good times. So it's no wonder that in these bleak economic conditions, worries become terrors, cracks become chasms and relationships are burdened to the point of breaking.

Here's how to deal.

Communicate

As worries mount up - your job may be on the line, your bills are out of control - it can be tempting to draw into yourself, to shoulder those pressures alone. But your relationship will actually flourish if you're able to share your fears and troubles. Be careful, too, not to take your stresses out on each other. It's easy let your frustrations get the best of you, but next time you find yourself flying off the handle over something insignificant, ask yourself what's really bothering you. Being aware of your emotions will help you tackle them together.

Invest In Your Relationship

Make sure you're depositing as much "emotional currency" as you're withdrawing. As anxieties rise, emotional resources are depleted. You'll need to build up a reserve of love and desire you can draw on. Make regular "deposits" into this love bank: hold hands, kiss, share a hug, a smile or a little extra kindness.

Date Cheaper

Like many couples, you're probably cutting back on expensive dinners and fancy outings, but don't cut out spending time together. Get creative: cook dinner together, hit the local park for a romantic stroll, stay in for a night of Scrabble. Busting out of your old (and expensive) dating habits can breathe new life into your relationship without breaking the bank.

Have Sex

It relieves stress as well as those spa appointments you had to give up and is as healthy as the gym membership you can no longer afford - and best of all, it's free! Stress and anxiety can often inhibit libido, however, which means you might have to work harder at creating that desire. But it will be worth it.

Exercise Patience

Supporting a partner who's lost a job is not unlike helping someone who's grieving, says Claudia Strauss, a communication consultant and professor of English at Albright College in Reading, Pa. "Even in this economy, with the expectation that it could happen, it's still a shock to the system. The person will need time to process their grief and rebuild their confidence." Be patient, especially if you're married or living together and are worried about the loss of income to your household. "It's really tough if you're the spouse. Your partner has lost a job and you see them sitting around watching television, or dedicating themselves to some insignificant household project, and it seems like they're not getting anywhere," she says. "But they are. They're working through whatever it is they need to work through to move on. They feel the same pressure and stress that you're feeling, but they can't work out of fear."

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