How to Deal With Frustration in Relationships
You can expect to experience frustration at some point in any relationship. When you feel frustrated, it's tempting -- but also damaging -- to take your negative emotions out on your partner. Learn how to deal effectively with frustration and enjoy a happier, calmer life and relationship.
Learn to Stay Calm
Stop frustration before it starts. Arrange your thoughts and get a strong hold on a clear perspective before you begin interacting with your partner. Never approach your partner at the height of your frustration. Practice breathing and stress-reduction techniques. When you feel yourself becoming frustrated, close your eyes, breathe deeply and calm yourself.
Make a habit of asking yourself "Will this be important next week?" when you become frustrated. If the answer is "No," you should feel your frustration deflate and be able to calm down.
Laugh. Nothing defuses a situation like humor. Tell your partner to make a silly face when he notices you're getting frustrated. The sight will make you laugh and calm down.
- Stop frustration before it starts.
- The sight will make you laugh and calm down.
Identify the Source
Ask yourself why you are frustrated. Avoid blaming it on the nearest person or the situation that's freshest in your mind. Be honest with yourself.
Pinpoint the exact source of your frustration. Don't personalize it. Don't tell your partner, "You are so frustrating." Instead, tell her, "It frustrates me when you don't call before leaving work."
Don't let your frustration cause you to make a laundry list of unrelated grievances. If you are frustrated with your partner for forgetting something you discussed earlier, focus on that. Avoid getting off the subject and you can more effectively address the source of your frustration.
- Ask yourself why you are frustrated.
- Don't let your frustration cause you to make a laundry list of unrelated grievances.
Work on Yourself
Ask yourself how your behavior could help ease your frustration. If your partner consistently forgets to load the dishwasher, for example, resolve to simply do it yourself or put up a little sign beside her toothbrush to remind her.
Get active. Sweat out your frustration, especially if you know it's trivial. Small daily frustrations are normal and don't have to be a big deal. When you feel yourself becoming too frustrated to communicate effectively, go for a run or hit the gym and pump some iron.
- Ask yourself how your behavior could help ease your frustration.
- Sweat out your frustration, especially if you know it's trivial.
Ask your friends and family to help you identify traits you need to work on. For example, if you are naturally impatient, you're probably more prone to frustration. Work on being more patient, less quick to judge and more understanding.
Remember that your relationship is important to you. You are half of it and thus half responsible for whether it is healthy and successful. Put your relationship ahead of your desire to make a snarky comment or pick a fight.
Brainstorm a list of possible solutions with your partner. Don't think about whether they're feasible now. Just write as the ideas come.
Focus on fixing the situation and keeping your relationship healthy. Visualize the outcome you want and set your sights on getting there. Accept that there will be pitfalls along the way.
- Brainstorm a list of possible solutions with your partner.
- Visualize the outcome you want and set your sights on getting there.
Stay positive and upbeat. Don't let your frustration come between you and your partner or change your relationship. Don't allow yourself to consider the possibility that the problem can't be fixed.
Kate Bradley began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in German from Berry College in Rome, Ga; TEFL/TESOL certification from ITC International in Prague; and a Master of Arts in integrated global communication from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.