WHAT IT IS
Couples often experiencing relationship distress, which is often characterized by high conflict and/or disengagement from the relationship. Relationship distress can originate from a series of minor stressors or communication difficulties, or it can develop as the result of significant stressful events within the relationship (e.g., infidelity or loss of trust) or from outside the relationship (e.g., loss of employment or chronic health issues). Regardless of how it begins, unresolved relationship distress is likely to persist and worsen. Partners experiencing relationship distress often report their relationship has fewer positive experiences, less effective communication, lower emotional and physical intimacy, and lower relationship satisfaction.
Relationship distress is also associated with difficulties at the individual level, including anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and problems in social interactions with people outside the relationship (e.g., children, co-workers).