Frustration is a tricky devil in relationships so you have to use some creative strategies to deal with it. No matter why you're upset, getting a handle on your negative feelings does more for your relationship than acting on them. So, take some time to de-stress and be ready to talk things out. Chances are, when you use positive strategies to handle frustration, it won't be so annoying when it pops up again.
Frustration: A Good Friend
Frustration is natural in all relationships, even romantic ones, so change how you look at it. Instead of seeing this feeling as a sign that you or your relationship are "bad", see it as an opportunity to grow and change. Frustration is an inevitable feeling, so when it arises with your boyfriend, accept as another one of your normal emotions. For instance, if your boyfriend forgets a date with you, you are likely to feel upset with him, just like you would a friend forgetting and hang out session. This feeling can be unpleasant, but first recognize that when you're frustrated with your boyfriend, it's usually for a logical reason.
When you feel your frustration begin to bubble up, take some time to de-stress. This feeling creates significant mental and physical signs that you need to address. According to the WebMD article "Stress Symptoms," You may become agitated, have trouble focusing or experience headaches or a quick heartbeat. So when feel frustrated with your girlfriend because she spends more time with friends than with you, do something such as going for a walk or even having a quick laugh to reduce your stress, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic article "Stress Relievers."
Expect the Best, Hope the Rest
Your expectations of your boyfriend can lead to frustration, so learn to manage yours. Sometimes, expectations come from past experiences and other times you have grand ideas of who your boyfriend is supposed to be. When these ideas clash with reality, you're likely to feel some emotional rebound. For instance, if you expect your boyfriend to bring you flowers once a week and he never does, you're likely to feel frustrated. To manage your expectations, write down what you expect from your relationship and boyfriend and assess whether they're realistic. If the items require too much change or cannot happen, such as wanting gifts all the time from a boyfriend who doesn't make much money, consider them unrealistic.
Talk That Talk
Communication will be one of the most useful tools in dealing with frustration. Talking to your girlfriend about your frustration helps you to express your feelings and invites her into your world. A helpful strategy for talking about your feelings is using "I" statements, in which you state your feelings and why without blaming your girlfriend. For instance, telling her "I feel frustrated when you make plans without me because I value our time together," lets her know that you want something to change but without being hostile or accusatory.
S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.
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