Even if you’re in the most loving, romantic, gushy relationship ever — we’re talking little birds and woodland creatures help you get dressed in the morning — you can’t avoid the occasional argument, whether it’s over little things like loading the dishwasher “correctly” and whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, or bigger things like finding out your S.O. is on Tinder. But rather than blowing up and using words you should never use during a fight or ignoring something that could turn your relationship toxic, here are some tips on how you can control your rage — even when your S.O. is clipping their toenails on the couch, again.
1. Get it out there right away. We’ve all heard it before: Don’t bottle up your feelings. When you first feel anger coming on, calmly express it out loud to your partner and talk through what’s happening.
2. Keep your temper in check. You don’t want to go from zero to screaming and have steam coming out of your ears. Make the effort to take a deep breath, step back and stay calm. Anger is easily transferrable (AKA you’ll piss off your partner), and could escalate a little disagreement into a full-on fight.
3. Stay in the room. Shouting “I just need space!” two seconds into a fight and storming off into the other room won’t magically make your anger disappear. It’s better to sit down and deal with it rather than let it fester. It also shows you’re committed to communication and respect, not throwing a tantrum.
4. Focus on how you feel. Instead of putting the whole thing in terms of “you did this” or “I hate when you,” make your statements about your feelings: “I feel bad because…” or “When you do this, it makes me feel…” This practice will definitely be received better by your boo than blaming phrases and will help you better articulate what’s really bothering you too.
5. Don’t get defensive. If you’re the one at fault in the argument, you don’t have to keep the blame cycle going. If you find yourself starting a sentence with, “Well, you…,” recognize that you’re not really moving the convo anywhere productive by pulling in other issues. Accept responsibility (without making lame excuses to justify it), and demonstrate how you’ll do better.
6. Know your triggers. If you’re constantly getting worked up over the same things your partner says or does, you might need to take a look at whether the issue is really you. It’s totally natural to get annoyed or even angry every once in awhile, but if you’re nitpicking at something fairly innocuous over and over again, the secret might be shifting your attitude and response, rather than trying to force them to change.
7. Try a couples therapist. You don’t have to be married to go to couple’s counseling. If you find your love for one another is spattered with constant bickering, you might want to consider it, especially if you’re thinking about taking any big relationship steps in the near future. Better yet, start going before there’s a big problem where you think you “need it” to stay together to build skills for tackling potential future challenges.
How do you and your partner deal with anger and keep fights from escalating? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!
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