Most already know that unresolved anger in a relationship can be detrimental to your relationship, most also know that the only way to keep it from ruining your relationship is to deal with it and get rid of it. But that’s easier said than done. While it’s true that anger in your relationship will kill your relationship with your partner if it’s not dealt with quickly and effectively. There’s a bit more to it than that.
The first thing to remember about dealing with anger in a relationship is that it is okay to be angry. The problem isn’t in being angry, it’s when you or your partner refuse to let go of anger. A lot of people ignore their anger at their spouse or refuse to even acknowledge that they are angry, for fear of angering their spouse or hurting their spouse.
When one or both of you refuse to let go of anger, then it begins to eat away at the very foundation of your relationship just like acid on a delicate surface. This is why it’s important to stop anger before it begins to take control of your relationship. While it’s perfectly acceptable to be angry and to even express that anger, make sure that neither of you are wrongly targeting each other due to outside sources of anger.
A relationship with unresolved anger may be smooth on the surface, with the occasional ripple- only showing signs of trouble when one partner or the other finds passive-aggressive means of expressing their anger. This becomes a vicious cycle, with both partners playing “tit-for-tat” when it comes to “getting back” at their partner.
This is where the old saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right” comes in. You simply can’t continuously “get back” at your partner, whether in a conscious and obvious way or through less obvious means. All that ends up happening is a slow, but sure, destruction of your relationship.
In other relationships, anger stays close to the surface and the relationship can become volatile- with the most simple of disgreements turning into major conflicts. These types of relationships are usually easy to identify, because petty things turn into huge squabbles and both partners think nothing of disrespecting one another.
Both partners will realize that they’re unhappy, they’ll even sometimes acknowledge that the fighting is getting them nowher, but they feel powerless to stop it. While it is true that it’s more difficult to deal with anger in a relationship that is “outwardly smooth,” it’s not impossible.
Dealing with anger in a relationship is important if you want your relationship to stand the test of time and be strong. The biggest issue when dealing with anger in a relationship is the fact that both partners have to be willing to admit there is a problem with anger in the first place. Then they must also be willing to work on the problem that caused the anger and then the anger itself.
It’s important to be aware of feelings, thoughts and actions. If you aren’t “in touch” with your feelings or aware that you are angry in the first place, then you won’t be able to figure out what caused it. Both partners must be willing to communicate effectively, rationally and calmly. Neither partner can expect any sort of positive result if any discussion of feelings causes further conflict or hurt.
To deal with anger in a relationship effectively, make sure that you and your partner know that you can safely communicate feelings, needs or fears to one another. If you find yourself feeling resentful or angry over something your partner is doing- or has done- then take the steps necessary to communicate your anger or resentment without placing blame on your partner or attacking them.
To avoid causing further anger during a conflict with your partner, try communicating with “I” statements. This is usually the most effective in this type of situation. For example; “I was really hurt and angry today, I felt like you were ignoring me when I asked what you wanted to do next weekend.” Try not to say things like “Always” or “Never.”
Negative statements directed to the other person will only build up resentment and anger, and cause your partner to feel defensive, which is counterproductive to working through anger issues.
You and your partner should also be willing to recognize when you are angry with a situation and not your partner, and be willing to communicate verbally to your partner that you aren’t angry with them. It’s also a good idea to work with recognizing your other emotions as well. Sometimes anger or resentment builds up when a person is feeling disappointed or hurt and they mistake it for anger instead.
If you or your partner can’t seem to let go of anger, then it’s a good idea to see a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in couples’ therapy. Often, having that third party- an “outsider” can give a couple greater insight into their relationship and into themselves individually.
Don’t hold onto anger, be willing to work through it. And finally, don’t be angry over “small” things. If you’re willing to let go of your anger for the sake of your relationship- and the happiness of both you and your partner- then you’ll find your partner might very well be willing to do the same.