Two Silent Killers of Romance

Of the many things we know, thanks to the media, that can silently rob a person of life, two well known culprits also are stealing away romance very quietly. What two things could that be? Fatigue and Stress.

Before you say duh… have you really given much thought to how your level of fatigue and stress is ruining the very romance you’re trying to build? Have you even done anything to protect yourself from these silent thieves? If you’re anything like me, not really. Not until the effects have caused you to lose a lot of sleep at the very least.

One thing I’ve learned from watching people while doing photos, most don’t realize the root cause of their relationship stresses. They respond quickly and swiftly to the surface stuff. Often times their response only make matters worse.

Example. I’ve seen a couple looking quiet upset at each other as they arrived to a banquet. Words were not being shared but the body language was screaming irritation. Unexpectedly, the wife’s purse fell. As she bent down to reach for it, her head brushed the pant leg of the husband. They both went at each other in very angry terms.

The man felt the woman was carelessly and passive aggressively messing up his suit by rubbing her excessive make up on his pants. He was demanding an apology and to know why she was being so evil to him in light of the fact he wanted to impress a few potential clients at the event. The woman on her part was angry that he had not offered to pick up her purse for her and worse was making no rational sense to her. Of course, he grew in anger because to him women never made rational sense and men were the only rational beings that could be. She flew into a fit of rage about his stupidity.

By the time they had collected themselves, both were resolved to not speak to each other and not go home together in the same car they had arrived in.

What was not evident to them in the heat of the moment, but could be brought into focus with my zoom lens was the level of fatigue and stress these two were carrying as they arrived. Well before they had entered the building, one could tell by their body language there was lots of tension being carried. As they entered, one could see the efforts the lady had put in to cover the bags of tell-tell lack of sleep. His were very prominently on display.

I do not know why they were appearing so stressed out, and the way they argue might be a good hint to why they’re stressing each other out and not sleeping well as a consequence. It’s a vicious catch 22 as fatigue and stress has a negative feedback loop on sleep which makes one more prone to be stressed and fatigued.

Let’s Focus on Fatigue

Being very tired is not a good feeling. Sadly, many people have settled for living a life of fatigue. We stay up late to watch stuff, get up early to work long hours. The alarm yanks us out of precious sleep. Catching a nap on the train or bus seems all too common place for some. While not everyone is chronically fatigued, too many are.

The danger with being very tired is that it impairs judgment. One can’t think as quickly or sharply when very tired. Just think of how great you’ll play a game of basketball if you’re very tired compared to being very alert and fresh.

On the blog an entire post is dedicated to the ill effects on romance that fatigue has. Your ability to understand your partner is adversely effected by your fatigue. The more tired you are, the more they’re likely to get on your nerves.

The most natural response a creature has to anything that annoys it when tired is to fight. Just look at how babies react when they’re very tired and people want to play with them. They’re cranky, they try to avoid you, they act up in ways you’re not expecting. They just want to be left alone. Other animals will bite, spit, kick, and attack you if you keep bothering them when they’re tired. Let’s not even touch how moody teens get when tired.

Now, here you are in love, trying to be romantic, and now you’re super tired and your partner starts saying things you deem as ridiculous or stupid or annoying. Your reaction will most likely not be interpreted as being romantic.

Worse, when tired, we want to be soothed and pampered. We become demanding. Of course, some of us know that being very demanding does not work well. However, many do not realize that reverse psychology is not as effective either.

Wait… no… what are you talking about? Of course reverse psychology works, it’s the best way to get a partner to do what you want. Get them to think it was their idea all along.

Being manipulative, indirect, underhanded, and even dishonest is not reverse psychology. Calling it such is just a way to justify being a pain in the rear to your partner. No one likes to be manipulated to do something they don’t want to do.

Often times, negotiations with your partner blows up and fails because one or both parties are very tired when the negotiations start. This is even more critical when parenting young children. Most couples leave negotiations for the end of the day when both are most likely tired and eager to fall asleep.

One man once told his wife that she was extremely irresponsible and a bad adult because she was not willing to come to bed early. He wanted to tell her a few things, but instead of telling her, he tried to guilt her into bed. His main agenda, it turns out, was he wanted sex. But because of his “reverse psychology” ploy, they ended up in a huge fight and no one got much rest and definitely no hanky panky.

While more tips on how to handle these negotiations lives on the other blog I write,, one point I will make here, try not to have your deepest and most significant discussions when you’re tired. You owe it to yourself and your partner to be as clear headed as you can be. That may mean setting up an appointment earlier in the day. Not easy. Not often practical. But, if late night chats always lead to late night fights, fatigue is silently killing your romance.


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