Anger in a relationship often stems from wondering how your partner can behave in ways you don’t like. You just can’t understand it — you never would have done such a thing.
So what is the solution to dealing with anger towards your partner? Can you learn how to control your emotions so they don’t escalate?
Here are ways to kick your anger towards your partner to the curb:
1. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements.
Instead of blaming your partner for their actions, frame the conversation around how you feel. For example, you could say, “I feel resentful that the business account is still open, and I will feel relief when you close it.” This can make your partner feel like you’re ready for a calm conversation.
2. Count to 10 before you speak.
It’s easy to live in the moment and say regrettable things when you’re mad at someone. Counting to at least 10 before you speak about your feelings may help you choose your words more carefully and not say something you will regret.
3. Implement the “I-Thou.”
“Catch” your significant other’s feelings, and try to feel them yourself. This can make the experience of those feelings actually diminish. This method is powerful because it is one of the only ways you can impact another’s person’s experience with feelings of anger.
4. Practice active listening.
Repeat back what you heard in order to confirm you understand what your partner is saying and affirm their feelings. This technique shows your partner that you pay attention and care about what they have to say about your relationship.
5. Connect with your partner physically.
Don’t neglect your sex life when you’re angry. You may need to “fake it ’til you make it” if you haven’t resolved the disagreement, but sex is a form of connection in its own right. Staying intimate can keep your relationship afloat.
Even if you aren’t in the same emotional place as your significant other, connecting physically can help. Scheduling time for connection might help you see your conflict in a different light.
6. Meet on a bridge.
In order to channel resentment into empathy, you need to gap your “understanding bridge” in your relationship. Rely on the idea that “We both have to be on this bridge together.”
You really can’t see what our partner is feeling until you get out onto the bridge. The more steps you take, the more you can see the middle “hump” of the bridge — where you understand each other. In order to actualize this place of mutual understanding, you can literally go to a nearby bridge.
Pack a blanket and a light picnic snack, go to the bridge, and talk out your conflict. The relaxing setting and fresh air can lend itself to openness and help you take your problems a little less seriously. Meeting on a bridge can help you successfully reconnect with your partner.
7. Show empathy daily.
Empathy is not necessarily natural, but you can gain more empathy for others. Check in with your partner about how they feel, look them in the eye, and regularly give them the benefit of the doubt. Once empathy becomes intrinsic behavior, resentment often slowly fades away.
Empathy is the key for controlling feelings of anger in your relationships. When you show empathy, not only will you likely come to an understanding with your partner, but you may also both feel calmer.
If you and your significant other have a lot of anger in your relationship, try to focus on each other’s feelings, relax, and meet in the middle. Communicating openly and showing each other how much you care is the foundation of lasting love.