Conflict. We all have it.
We get angry with our mothers, our friends, our bosses and our kids. It is our partners, those we have chosen to love and cherish for a lifetime, with whom we seem to get the most angry. And this conflict, this anger, with our partners can be very destructive and get in the way of living the life of our dreams.
There are ways to get through conflict, however, and it is way easier than one would think.
Here are my 5 Ways to Get Past Being Angry with your Partner – Even If You Just Want To Stay Mad.
#1 – Carefully choose the time to talk.
This is key. If you talk to your partner when you are angry you will say things that you might not mean to say. Try to wait at least 2 hours after a disturbance before speaking up. This will give you the chance to calm down and speak more clearly.
Also, don’t pick a known stressful time to talk, like during bedtime or just after work. Try to pick a time when you are both calm and can approach the conversation with good energy instead of bad. I know calm time can be hard to find but when properly motivated you can find it.
#2 – Do not attack.
This is very important and something that many of us do without thinking. And it gets us nowhere.
Let’s say that your partner is always getting home from work late. Instead of saying “You are always late. Why do you have to be such a jerk?” try saying “It makes me sad when you are always home late from work. I work hard to get us all together for a family dinner and I really miss it when you aren’t there.”
Look carefully at the difference here. If you use the first example your partner will immediately get on the defensive and the conversation will be over before it begins.
In the second example you are sharing how you FEEL and no one can argue with how you FEEL. And how you feel is the truth.
What is not the truth is that your partner is a jerk for coming home late.
#3 – Respond in such a way that they know you understand what they are saying.
This is very hard to do and can feel very contrived but it is a key part of listening and being heard.
It’s called a reflective response. In the case of the example above, with the partner who didn’t come home in time for dinner, the perfect response for the partner to say would be: “I am sorry that my lateness makes you feel so sad.” With that statement you know that your partner has understood what you are trying to say.
And hopefully, with that understanding will come the motivation to not be home late.
#4 – Try to remember that we are all only human.
We all make mistakes. More often than not our troublesome actions are not a reflection of our feelings about someone but are the result of a variety of things (time, motivation, energy level, distractions) that all work together and create a situation that isn’t ideal.
Next time you are quick to react to something your partner does, take a moment a try to figure out why it happened. Perhaps you won’t need the two hours to decompress after all.
#5 – Be ready to say sorry and to forgive.
This can be the hardest thing of all for people… to say they are sorry and to forgive perceived wrongs… but it is one of the most important parts of any relationship.
Why don’t we want to say we are sorry? Because it will convey weakness? Because we can’t let go of our anger? Because we are embarrassed by our actions?
Whatever the reason, we need to learn how to do it. Next time you are having a disagreement with your partner, try apologizing. See how quickly the anger deflates, on both sides.
In the same vein, we need to forgive and not hold onto anger. Holding on to anger is one of the most destructive forces in any relationship. If your partner apologizes for his or her actions you need to find it in your heart to remember that they are only human and that they have taken responsibility for their actions and that life must move forward.
So there you go, 5 ways to get past being angry with your partner.
Conflict, and the resulting anger, with anyone can be devastating and especially so with a partner. Left unchecked anger can take on a life of it’s own and destroy everything in its path.
Don’t let that happen to you. Try the steps above tonight and see the difference. And then settle down to a nice peaceful, conflict free evening.
Sounds worth it, no?
Get in touch with me NOW for more ways to help your dreams come true. You will be happy you did!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.