Why are you so triggered when your partner says 'I'm tired'? Psychologist shares five skills to practice if you don't want to play the 'who's more tired' game

It can be an exhausting battle in itself

Tired parents on the sofa with dad yawning
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When your partner mentions they're tired, does it fill you with rage? You're not alone - you're both exhausted and your needs to be acknowledged too. There are solutions to this ongoing problem, as explained by an expert.

Most mums will wonder 'why am I so tired?' before remembering they're probably shouldering the majority of the mental load and juggling multiple aspects of their busy household. Mums are also working through the process of matrescence, which is the body's way of adjusting to motherhood.

With so much to cope with, it's unsurprising that when your partner announces they're tired, it can feel quite triggering - or even rage-inducing. Couples therapist Dr Tracy Dalgleish has spoken about this very subject with her Instagram followers, calling on them to comment if the post resonated, which it did with many.

She shares five solutions to try if this is something that feels familiar to you also.

5 solutions if you're 'triggered' when your partner says they're tired

  1. You need to be seen. Your experience hasn't been considered if your partner doesn't acknowledge your own tiredness and you end up in a familiar fight about exhaustion. Your partner needs to know your feelings matter as much as theirs.
  2. You're both allowed to be tired. Both sides can be allowed their feelings, but it's how we react that makes a difference. Their shouldn't be any one-upmanship - if you have a negative reaction it could be that you aren't sharing your feelings with your partner enough.
  3. You need more teamwork. Pause and notice your reaction to your partner saying they're tired. If you're angry, use this as a time to explain what you need from them instead of an outburst.
  4. Validate them. We know, you're triggered and you don't always want to do this. But still let your partner know you see them, and work together to express your feelings instead of making it a competition.
  5. Come back to it. If you can't step back from your negative feelings, walk away from the conversation and return when you feel calmer.

In the comments, one person wrote "This regularly enrages me. He gets more sleep, I'm the pregnant one. How dare he complain when we get up in the morning," while another added "What if you are reacting to this because you have shared and it has been dismissed?" which is a very good point, and perhaps this would be the best time to revisit the conversation another time.

Another person added "Making space for all experiences is important. We can often focus on our own perspective and wants and forget our partner is having their own unique experience too," which added a positive perspective to the insights shared by Dr Tracy. We'll look forward to trying these strategies the next time we feel upset by 'tired wars' breaking out at home. 

For more on relationships, if your relationship is stuck in a rut, relationship experts share 10 ways to connect with your partner again. If you want to spice up your relationship, these tips will help.

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.