It’s that moment. You feel like if you open your mouth the only words that will come out, no matter how hard you try, will be the line you’ve got prepared—maybe it’s passive aggressive, accusatory, begins with a deep sob or a shake of the head. But you’re about to tell him: you’re mad. Even though we get overwhelmed by our emotions sometimes, if we can, we should pause before picking our next fight just to make sure it’s worth it. Or, if it’s even fair. It’s hard to be logical at that moment just before explosion, so if you have some questions ready for yourself, you might have a chance at avoiding a blowup.
Was he trying to hurt me?
There are two underlying messages any time you get mad at your guy: “Your action pissed me off” or “You piss me off.” We often accidentally send out the second message, when we really only meant the first. If you know your guy didn’t mean to hurt you and didn’t even know that he was, don’t get mad. Just explain to him how his behavior makes you feel. If you just launch into spewing venom, he’ll feel like you dislike him as a person.
Is this the first, or the hundredth time?
You may know that your guy has done something a hundred times, but he doesn’t know that. So, he’ll be a little confused when you come at him with the fury of someone who’s been wronged a hundred times. If you never told him before that something bothered you, he shouldn’t have to handle your wrath all because you never communicated prior to this 100th incident that a certain action upsets you. We often forget: men don’t know what’s in our heads. Maybe he genuinely didn’t know those first 99 times upset you.
Have I ever done this to him?
We can all be hypocrites sometimes and get mad at someone without realizing that we have done the exact same thing to them, and they didn’t bat an eyelash about it. We’re very good at using selective memory when it comes to relationships, and completely forgetting that we’ve been guilty of the same act. You look unfair and hypocritical though of you don’t pause and ask yourself: “Have I ever done this to him? And did he get mad?” If he didn’t get mad when you did it, then obviously it’s an action that he doesn’t see anything wrong with! So, you can’t fault him when he does it.
Is it something that can be changed?
Nobody is perfect. Part of deciding to commit to someone is understanding their flaws, and whether or not those are something you can live with. If you decide you can, then you’ve given up the right to pick at them for traits you know they can’t change: you agreed to take them as they are. If you find yourself getting heated over a trait or action you know is deeply ingrained in your guy, it might be time to re-evaluate if this is someone you want to be with. Because you can’t ask someone to change who they are.
Is it the right time?
If you care about your guy, and if you really just want to argue in order to make things better, you’re not going to pick your argument at a time or place that instantly makes things worse. Don’t start your argument in front of his friends, at the dinner table with his family, right as he’s rushing out the door to an important meeting that he’s stressed about—you get the point. Give him the chance to be in a place and state of mind where he can think his responses through, and where he doesn’t feel you were trying to make a display of what an A$$ he is.
Is this your own baggage?
We’ve all got baggage and it can be hard to drop. But, become aware of it because sometimes, when a current boyfriend does something that an ex did, you see the ex in the action. But, the current boyfriend may not have the same intentions when he does it. One action doesn’t mean the same thing coming from two different people, but it can stir up the same emotions in you regardless of who does it—that’s not fair. Become aware of when you’re reacting to your current boyfriend, or to your ex.