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What can I do better

Community Member

My partner and I have been together for nearly 2.5 years and are engaged to be married this August (same-sex relationship). She has trouble telling me when she is upset about things or talking about events that frighten or scare her. Instead she will pick on something else small and explode, in hindsight I know I should just reassure her everthing's okay, and know that she isnt actually mad at me its a previous issue, but the moment she snaps and gets mad I snap back, I have no idea how to just stop and say its okay. Im sorry. And I know saying that will stop her getting worse. Sometime I can brush it off and realise its me, but most of the time i retaliate and basically tell her she shouldnt be mad. I love her, but these small problems happen constantly and are exhausting, I just want to know what I can do to help her. Push my own stubbornness aside.

thank you

2 Replies 2

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi KAL25,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here. I'm sorry that you're having these difficulties but I'm especially glad that you are here and wanting to work on them. Communication can really make and break relationships so you being here and wanting to work on them is such a strength.

So from reading your post, your partner snaps and you know that she has no reason to and that it's related to a previous issue - but the frustration from hearing her snap makes you snap back. Have I got that right?

Personally I think the key to helping is recognising in yourself when you want to snap. You may not be able to control her frustrations or the way that she copes, but you can control your reaction - and sometimes that's enough to stop the cycle. Can you imagine being about to snap back and feel the frustration inside of you? That building of tension? Sometimes it's so quick our reaction is automatic - but taking the time to notice that is important.

Once you're able to notice that and find the gap between feeling frustrated and your reaction - then you can do something else. You can respond in a calmer way, or go and take some time out, or release your frustrations in a healthier way.

If you were to keep talking, try to use things like 'I statements'. When your partners mad, she feels mad -it's too late to talk about whether she should/shouldn't be mad. I think it's about justifying her feelings while also reasoning with her. "Why is this important to you?" "What's making you so mad?" "What is it that you need from me?" These sorts of questions can help re-direct the conversation into something more productive.

There's also a bit of a cheat sheet here that might be helpful - it talks more about some helpful phrases to use. http://leadershiponramp.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Marriage-Repair-List-Checklist-Gottman.pdf

Hope this helps!

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear KAL25~

Welcome and congratulations on your engagement. It seem to me you are basically asking how to handle yourself. You know the problem but retaliate. If I look at my own behavior in similar situations when first with someone a lot of it was based upon my own worry that either I had done something wrong - and got defensive, or that my intended had lost feelings for me - or that I was in a bad physical state, tired, hungry and so on.

Our solution required both of us to work together. We made an agreement never to say anything too harsh, or anything that was impossible to take back We both did it and it worked pretty well. The knowledge of the cooperation even when tempers were roused had its own magic.

The other thing I've often done (no matter how I might feel) is to grin and say how lovely my partner looked. It does tend to disarm. Takes practice:)