A successful relationship needs both partners to tune to each other’s desires and needs. However at times, you may feel frustrated at being alone and unable to make yourself understood, thus leading to repeated fights and arguments. If this goes on for a length of time, you partner may start thinking of leaving. So see if being short-tempered is ruining your relationship and find out what you can do about it.
Often when you lose your cool, it seems that people and situations are intentionally working to thwart you or your desires in some way. You may have been waiting in the supermarket queue for half an hour to pick up the groceries, but when you arrive home you find that your partner has already ordered in dinner. In such a situation you would most likely fly into a rage and blame your partner for devaluing your efforts or worse intentionally wasting money by ordering food from outside. However in fact, he/she may not have been aware that you have stopped to pick up the groceries or he/she may have figured that by the time you would return, it would be too late to start cooking. So the secret to holding on to your temper is to empathize with people around you. Stop believing that they are purposefully out to get you. Even when the provocation is repeated, consider that they may be doing so due to some weakness of their own and that they might need your help in dealing with it.
Ignore intentional provocation
Sometimes however, people may decide to provoke you intentionally knowing full well your tendency to fly into a rage. While this may be rare in a partner – a loved one would not do something so mean – in certain situations if you lose your cool, it might become uncomfortable for your partner. Say you are driving your partner’s parents to the airport and the guy ahead changes lanes without warning. You would probably react with a volley of abuse and maybe with a middle-finger gesture too, forgetting who your passengers are. This would be extremely embarrassing for your partner, something he/she is unlikely to forget in a hurry. Here the only thing is to learn to ignore the provocation. Understand that though not everybody in the world is out to get you, it has enough people who take a perverse delight in distressing others. The only way to deal with such people is to ignore them, repeatedly if necessary and after a while they might get bored of the lack of reaction from you and move on to easier meat. Remember that if a person can make you angry whenever they want to, they are in a position to control you and you do not want to be in controlled by anyone.
Avoid angry words or gestures
Easier said than done for someone who has a short temper. But like most good habits, this too can be learned with practice. Whenever you find yourself getting worked up over a minor disagreement, tell yourself repeatedly that you will not raise your voice or use a harsh language. Once you are able to avoid angry words and gestures, chances are that the situation will not escalate into a full-blown fight and perhaps only rise to the level of an argument.
Take a gentle approach
This is the easiest way to cut short a fight but also perhaps the most difficult. When you are in the grip of a temper, the last thing on your mind is to use soft and gentle words. At those times you feel that the frustration within you can be only expressed with angry words and gestures. But remember that the other person will behave with restraint only for so long and sooner or later is going to respond with some anger of their own. On the other hand once you try the gentle approach once, you will learn that nothing cools down tempers so fast as kind words and appeasing gestures. Using them does not mean that you are giving in to an argument or diluting your stand but only that you are mature enough to approach a disagreement as it should be – in a courteous and civilized manner.
Consider how important your relationship is to you
Every relationship has its share of arguments but if you find yourself giving way to angry outbursts and harsh words every now and then, it is difficult for any partner – no matter how patient and well-meaning – to pull along. So if you want your relationship to survive, understand that you have to do something about the major source of the strain – your anger. It is not because your partner has sloppy habits or needs to go on out-of-town tours that your relationship is cracking but because of the way you are handling the situations. So examine your relationship and ask yourself how important this is to you and if you really want this to work out. If the answer is yes, then decide to do something about your temper right away. Better still involve your partner in your efforts as this will not only help them to better understand the problem but also provide you valuable support in combating your anger.
Look at anger-management techniques
Once you have decided to do something about your temper, explore various kinds of anger-management techniques. Meditation and deep-breathing exercises are some self-help measures that may help you to control your emotions better. For a more formal and regular approach, you can also look at anger-management classes. Some of these classes are even conducted online which enables people to join them from the comfort of their home or office. Whatever the nature of help, do not hesitate to look for it. A little investment of time and effort now may well be able to save your relationship from getting ruined by your short temper. And as far as trade-offs go, that is hardly a bad one.