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3 Tips for Responding to Frustration with Your Partner:
Are you pulling your hair out because your partner is on your last nerve? If so, you’re probably in good company. As it turns out, sometimes being frustrated with your partner is common. You may find yourself “snappy” with your partner and wanting a change so that you can feel good or better about your relationship.
Perhaps your partner’s spending habits are irritating you, their communication is unclear to you, or maybe you want them to be more attentive. So when issues frustrate you, here are tip on how you can effectively respond:
Recognize that frustrations are common and can be managed with awareness
By recognizing that frustrations are a common part of the human experience, you can more effectively respond. Knowing your thoughts and emotions in the process can work to your advantage. When you identify your frustration, you can choose to react or respond. What’s the difference? Reacting means that you may act on impulse or perhaps say (or shout) what you are thinking with less of a filter. An effective response looks like you first think through how to address frustration in a purposeful way. The difference might be a shouting match versus a levelheaded conversation with your partner. Thus, being aware of your thoughts and emotions in your frustration is key to determining whether you are on track to respond effectively.
Take a pause and do something that brings you joy
It can be easy to get carried away with negativity about your partner when you are already frustrated with them. If you find yourself “playing tapes” or having conversations in your mind about your partner, it can be useful to pause and consider what brings you joy. If you are outdoors, you may want to go for a walk or sit outside. Or perhaps you find joy in having coffee with a friend or through prayer or meditation. Considering what brings you joy and then making time to experience that joy can relieve some frustration and put you in a better space to address frustration when/if you choose to.
Consider whether you have addressed your frustration with your partner in a way that they can receive
It can be challenging to hear unfavorable critiques about ourselves and even more challenging when there is already frustration. So how do you address frustration in a way your partner will receive it? You can’t control whether they will listen, but you have a say regarding your tone of voice, clear intention, and timing. You can increase the chances of them feeling connected to you rather than reacting with defensiveness if you remind them with a caring tone that your relationship is important to you and you want to stay connected to each other in a meaningful way. The timing of this message is important, and it depends on you, your partner, and other circumstances in your life. Address your frustration when the two of you have had a good day (or at least satisfactory) and won’t be interrupted.
Remember that responding to frustration won’t go perfectly, but you can certainly make a difference in the process!