All emotions, even negative ones, serve a purpose. However, dealing with anger at your boyfriend can wear away at the health of the relationship and even at your own physical well-being. How you cope with anger depends largely on the type of anger you feel. A sharp burst of anger at a legitimate grievance feels different from sustained irritation. Regardless of your type of anger or its cause, coping strategies will help you dispel it.
Understanding Your Anger
Recognize your anger when it's small. If he's done something overt such as flirting with someone else in front of you or forgetting your birthday, you'll have no trouble recognizing anger. However, if you find yourself picking at little things he does, growing sarcastic with him or ignoring him, you might have some anger brewing that hasn't yet boiled over into a full-fledged fight.
Understand what inspired your anger at your boyfriend. If he's wronged you, that answer might be straightforward; anger is a natural and healthy response to some behavior. If you're feeling generally peevish toward him without his having done anything in particular, then finding that answer will take more time and effort.
Write a list of all your reasons for your anger at him. This list is solely for your own benefit, and you won't be showing it to him. Writing it will help you clarify your own feelings and let you sort hurt, sadness or boredom from genuine anger.
Consider what actions he could take to make amends to you. When you talk to him about your anger, you should present him with a solution as well as confront him with a problem in your relationship.
Expressing Your Anger
Pick an emotionally neutral time to discuss your anger with your boyfriend. Neither of you will have a productive conversation if you approach him when he's running late for work or when either of you is already upset or frustrated about something else. Choose somewhere private and quiet to talk so neither of you faces distractions while you discuss what's making you angry.
Frame the conversation in terms of your feelings, not his actions. For example, saying, "I felt hurt when you forgot our anniversary" is more productive than "you always forget things that are important to me." Focus on communicating your feelings, not on trying to engender feelings of guilt or anger in him.
Remain calm during your discussion. Raising your voice will raise your temper -- and possibly his -- but will not make your words heard any more clearly than speaking calmly. The point of expressing your anger is to make your thoughts known, not just your feelings; shouting lets him know you're angry, but limits your ability to express why you feel that way.
Let him know what you need to dispel your anger. Some people require time to get over a slight, while others need an apology or a promise to begin healing. He needs to know how to make restitution if he's to set things right between you.
Coping With Your Anger
Vent your frustrations through physical exercise if you can't vent them at him. You may not be able to confront him at your angriest, so release some of that emotional pressure with a long jog or a yoga session. When you're calmer, you can have a more productive discussion.
Keep your distance until you feel ready to handle your anger. If you don't trust yourself to address your specific cause for anger and not every little thing he's ever done wrong, then take some time to gather your composure before confronting him.
Express your anger in a creative pursuit. Write, paint or compose music with that emotional energy. You'll dissolve much of your anger in your absorption with your art and have something to show for your feelings when you're finished.
Spend time relaxing with friends if you can't discuss your anger with your boyfriend. Friends remind you that you have more in your life than your boyfriend, and having a good time with friends can put your anger into its proper perspective within your life.
- Counting to ten is a tested method for giving yourself time to think before you blurt out something hurtful. Try it if you're tempted to say something you know you can't take back.
- If you feel angry at him for things that shouldn't be just cause for anger, it might be time to reassess the relationship.
- Never let anger express itself in the form of physical pain no matter how angry you become.
Lauren Whitney covers science, health, fitness, fashion, food and weight loss. She has been writing professionally since 2009 and teaches hatha yoga in a home studio. Whitney holds bachelor's degrees in English and biology from the University of New Orleans.