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How to Deal w/ Anger at Romantic Partner

Learn how to handle being angry at your romantic partner from anger management expert Dr. J. Ryan Fuller in this Howcast video.


Hi am doctor Ryan Filler and I’m going to talk to you about some anger techniques you can use when dealing with a romantic partner, whether it’s boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. The first thing is there are some advantages when the anger actually is coming from someone you know and someone who wants you to decrease your anger. The first is, and I recommend this to lot of clients. That you contact with the partner ahead of time what you’re going to do when you begin to notice that you're becoming stressed or angry. And that he or she is aware of what you are going to do when that takes place to calm yourself down. That allows him or her to be able to make space for you to check out.

And so what I typically have them do is they’ll call a time out and they’ll signal that in a way that works for the two of them. It doesn't matter if it is a hand signal or particular word or they can just say time out. And then there has to be some pre-negotiated idea about when there’re going to revisit the topic or the situation at hand. So that the partner doesn't think that this person is avoiding it forever, but rather they’re allowing the boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse to step out and in fact bring their anger down. So that when he or she returns, there can be sort of respectful effective communication and problem solving.

The second tool that’s very useful and is an advantage that couples can use instead of dealing with anger coming from a stranger... Is I recommend weekly meetings. I typically have them call it a steering meeting where on a regular basis, you can kind of sit down and go over what’s been going well and what’s been particularly difficult that might lead to an anger issue. What that does is that it allows both parties to recognize there is a time and place to discuss things that are bothering them. And we don't allow things to build up and fester where resentments can grow and eventually distance can occur between the couple.

So those are the two techniques that I think work very well with couples and I recommend that if you are having a problem with your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, certainly talk to a professional but the main thing is that you slow things down and figure out what it is that you want and together try to work through it.

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