Love Doctor's Blog

 A Few Common Emotional Triggers in Relationships

How Do We Deal With Emotional Triggers, and How Do We Create Happy Relationships? 

We all have uncomfortable, itchy memories which live in our brains. There’s the time we called a teacher “mum” or asked a woman if she was pregnant when she wasn’t or farted in front of a crush. Then there are emotional triggers – things which remind us of bad things we’ve seen, which fester until we are suspicious of inconspicuous things. We don’t want to visit the restaurant we’ve been dumped in, twice, or we catch our breath when we see a car belonging to a person who makes us feel unsafe, especially if we’ve had traumatic experiences. 

Whether or not this is severe enough to be labelled as “past trauma” or post-traumatic stress disorder is best left to professionals to understand on a case-by-case basis. The important thing is to find a way to accept and move past these situations, so that they don’t interrupt our everyday lives, personal happiness and relationships, and you may require professional help to do this. 

Imagine being in the hospital, with a doctor. They poke and prod at the bits which hurt so they can understand them, and therefore help to heal these issues. That’s what therapists do, and what you should be aware of yourself. Is there an area of tension? Possibly. We need to figure out what it is and what caused it so we can solve the problem. Past emotional trauma, possibly from an abusive relationship, is obviously horrible. While you work through issues with a therapist, it’s best to either be single or in a happy and healthy relationship. Some things listed below can be triggering, or a sign that your current relationship isn’t working. So what can you do to fix things? 

Feeling Ignored

Relationships, romantic or otherwise, are about the happy exchange of love, sex and companionship. If your partner is ignoring you, these things get neglected and it can often make you feel unhappy. It’s hard to make changes, but discussing these things is a good idea. Perhaps your partner is having a stressful time at work and wants quiet, or their mental health is suffering, or your love languages are different. This behaviour can trigger a negative emotional state, even if it’s not about you. Act with compassion, and communicate your needs with your significant other.

Feeling Ignored

Partner Feeling Unavailable

Much like above, really. Couples give and receive emotional support, and spending time with someone who’s “checked out” can feel like throwing love into an unresponsive black hole. If there’s a sudden change, and you don’t know what caused it, look outside your relationship. If things don’t improve, and you start to feel exhausted, then it’s ok to leave or try couples’ therapy. Ultimately, our relationships are supposed to make us happy, and if that isn’t the case, you might be better off taking some time alone, to focus on yourself. 

Partner Feeling Unavailable

Boundaries Not Respected

Boundaries are tricky, to be honest. Most of the time, if you and your partner are kind and compassionate to each other, things will be alright. Sometimes, though, couples will need to clearly state what they are happy/unhappy with and what they will/will not do. This doesn’t mean that kindness and compassion aren’t present, and talking about boundaries is ultimately a good thing. Once these have been clearly laid out, they need to be observed. If your partner deliberately ignores your boundaries, you should seriously consider whether you want to be with someone who doesn’t respect you. 


When relationships work well, they’re great. You get to cherish a person you love and be loved by a person you cherish. Things aren’t always good, though, and you need to be able to weather the issues together, as a team. Looking out for areas of tension, mental health problems, potential triggers, past trauma, unexpected emotional responses and external factors is a good way of getting ahead of things and stopping issues before they start. 

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