Jon and Kate Plus Hate? Healthy Ways to Deal With Common Relationship Stress

Stress trigger No. 4: You pick on each other
Kate has famously criticized Jon for breathing too loudly. He continually seems irritated by her neat streak. “When couples begin to argue over small things, it usually means they have not resolved a more important problem,” says Dr. Robbins.

Smart solutions: Since the partner who is doing the picking may not even be aware of his or her behavior, the onus in this situation is on the person who feels disrespected.

  • In a calm moment, sit your partner down and ask him or her if there is something you have done that is troubling them. Be clear about why you feel mistreated and be specific in your examples.

  • If youre the one doing the criticizing, first consider how much actual damage your partners annoying habit can do, says Dr. Goldstein. “If your spouse is text messaging while driving, thats worth talking about. If someone slurps when they drink—well, you have to weigh the cost of the criticism versus the change that youre going to get.”

  • Dont give up. It may take some discussion to figure out what is really going on, but in the end it can prevent unnecessary and unproductive conflict.

Stress trigger No. 5: Infidelity
The tabloids have been buzzing with reports of Jon's and Kates alleged indiscretions, which they have both denied. But it raises a common question for many couples—what constitutes an inappropriate relationship?

Smart solutions: Dont put yourself in situations that youre not comfortable discussing openly with your partner—even if they dont technically involve cheating. Every couple has to develop its own definition of what is appropriate and what is not.

  • Sit down and talk about what relationships were like in your family when you were growing up. Maybe youre comfortable with your partner going out for lunch at work with a member of the opposite sex, but not for happy hour. Be open about what feels “normal” to you.

  • Dont be constrained by other peoples ideas of what is right and wrong. This is a private matter for the couple to agree on.

  • If a line has been crossed, you need to decide together if the marriage is salvageable. If both members feel that there is a possibility of working things out, seeing a professional can help you sort out the feelings you are left with and move past them.

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