Do you feel like you and your partner are fighting all the time? Maybe, just maybe, its not about the fighting itself, but instead about how you fight. My partner, Tim, has a temper – this, I am well aware of. He tends to get emotional, especially when he is worn down, and he snaps. Now I know that Tim is not great at regulating his emotions; I, however, have learned how to handle my own emotions and my reactions to him, so that even our most heated moments are not so fiery anymore.
This may sound ridiculous, but when you are angry with someone, it helps to imagine them as a child. If a child does something to upset you, do you scream back at them, blame them, and chastise them for it? Surely not. You use your words; calmly explain to them that what they have said or done has upset you, and you either talk about it or take some time to cool down yourself. There is never anything wrong with saying “I need a minute” but it’s a coping tool that we, as adults, use far too sparingly. When we get in arguments now, no matter how angry I get I try my best to put my big-girl pants on and say “What you said/did was really hurtful. We will be fine, but I am hurt right now and need a minute to myself”. Then, and this is the most important part, TAKE THE MINUTE. Go sit outside, go for a quick walk, or even just separate yourself to breathe for a minute. Distract yourself – try thinking about other things or do a little task to take your mind off of the situation, then revisit it and see how you feel. Then, from a better headspace, you will be able to talk about it calmly and rationally, avoiding what could have been a catastrophic blowout.
Exploding at someone is never the right response. If your partner doesn’t know that, then you can take it upon yourself to be the bigger person, and take a minute. From personal experience, most of the time he will take the minute himself, and come back with an apology. Getting in fights gets you nowhere; it’s all about clear, honest communication.