Your boyfriend left the toilet seat up - again - or has not returned your texts or calls in a manner that you deem timely. Normally the communication between the two of you is healthy, but when you're mad you want to yell, scream and give ultimatums to get your point across. Effective communication is critical between couples, particularly during times of conflict. Pick your battles wisely and always stay focused on resolution.
Calm down. In order to effectively communicate with your boyfriend, you must be able to control your anger. Take a few deep breaths when you sense that you are becoming angry, and excuse yourself from his presence if you need longer than a couple of minutes to calm down. Yelling, screaming and calling him names are ineffective ways to get your point across and can cause more harm than good. Be sure that your heart rate has decreased and your breathing is back to normal before you approach him.
Evaluate the way you've perceived the conflict. Ryan Martin, anger researcher and chair of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's psychology department, states in Psychology Today that a person's level of anger is influenced by the way she perceives a situation. If your boyfriend continuously leaves the toilet seat up, think about what really angers you about his actions. Perhaps you believe that he's inconsiderate of you when, in fact, he's just having a hard time remembering to put the seat down after years of not having to do so.
Approach your boyfriend with care and respect. Although your anger may be justified, it doesn't mean that you should be uncaring or disrespectful to your boyfriend when you confront him. Treat him with the care and respect that you would give him if you weren't upset. Don't resort to calling him names and placing blame, and allow him to give his side of the story without jumping to conclusions. Give him the respect of active listening - attentively listen to what he has to say without anticipating a response and interrupting him.
Focus on solutions. Don't harp on the situation at hand - in other words, "don't beat a dead horse." Once you've stated your case and he's had a chance to respond, move on to a solution. You and your boyfriend should both brainstorm suggestions on how to solve the problem. Don't tell your boyfriend what he should do; if he doesn't have a chance to contribute to resolving this conflict then he may become resentful toward you.
- When you're upset, take as much time as you need to calm down before speaking to your boyfriend. If your boyfriend insists on talking before you've calmed down, explain that you need some time to calm down before you can talk to him because you don't want to say something in anger that you'll later regret.
- Don't assume that you know your boyfriend's intentions when he's done something to upset you. Don't appraise a situation with only the worst possible reasons for his behavior in mind - consider some less offensive reasons why he may exhibit a particular behavior.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images