Calming the Storm in Your Relationship

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Coping strategies for defusing anger in gay relationships are offered.

Introduction

Conflict in relationships is inevitable. Put two men together with their own sets of needs, values, personality traits, and life histories/experiences and you have a fertile ground for potential differences to cause clashes. This is normal and a necessary precursor for growth in your relationship with your boyfriend or partner. Anger is a common emotion that emerges during conflict. While conflict and anger are normal aspects of building and maintaining a relationship with someone, there are right and wrong ways to manage them. This article will address some ways to defuse anger in your disagreements with your lover to ensure a more positive environment to go about negotiating your differences.

Anger Management 101

It's important to realize that when two people are angry with each other, very little of productive significance will come from these interactions because emotions are high and listening skills tend to be overshadowed by defensiveness. Though cliché, the statement "Anger is ok, it's what you do with it that counts" is very pertinent here. During conflicts with your partner, you are ultimately responsible for your own feelings and anger. Your partner does not make you angry; you choose how you are going to react, regardless of the contributing factors. The goal is to create an atmosphere where you and your boyfriend can have a constructive communication session free of volatile emotions and where you each can feel heard equally.

No More Drama

One of the most effective ways to defuse an angry situation is to call a Time-Out. In much the same way that children are disciplined with Time-Outs to calm down and regain behavioral control, we adults also benefit from this type of cool-down period as well. The strategy issimple, but only works if you and your partner agree to its execution beforehand and follow through with it to completion.

Whenever you feel your anger flare-up to the point where you are unable to be attentive to your partner or be fully present, announce your need for a Time-Out. Before leaving, schedule a time that you and he can reconvene to address your issues then. Reactivity can damage relationships, and by postponing your response until after you've had a chance to regroup and center yourself, you're increasing your chances for being able to communicate more effectively. You're also not avoiding the problem, just delaying it until both of you can more readily attend to the issue at hand. It's also important not to follow each other once a Time-Out has been called because this defeats the purpose; respect your partner's need for space and feel reassured in the knowledge that you will discuss your issues at a later time. In essence, when you call a Time-Out, you are really saying to your lover, "I care enough about you and our relationship to discuss this issue at a later time when I'm able to really listen to you and hear your needs and concerns. My anger right now interferes with that ability." This communication technique, which is commonly taught in couple's therapy, works best when applied consistently.

More Anger Coping Tips

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Brian Rzepczynski

Counselor/Therapist

Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, Licensed Relationship Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: “I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.” To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating, relationship, and sexual enrichment tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs, and teleclasses, please visit http://www.TheGayLoveCoach.com

Location: Aurora, IL
Credentials: LCSW, MSW, Other
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Dating/Being Single Support, Gay/Lesbian/Identity Issues, Sex Therapy
Other Articles/News by Brian Rzepczynski:

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