How To Control Your Emotions In A Relationship & Why You Should

Explosive fights with your partner may seem passionate and even romantic when you’re young. However, by the time you’re an adult, you should be seeking harmony in love rather than unrest. Losing your cool and flying off the handle rarely ends well. Here’s how to control your emotions in your relationship and why you should.

What do we mean by “controlling your emotions”?

There’s nothing wrong with expressing emotions. In fact, doing so is a healthy way to process them, preserve your mental and emotional well-being, and maintain good communication with the people closest to you. It’s vital that you share your feelings and that you don’t compartmentalize them or pretend they don’t exist. Doing so will eventually backfire in multiple ways.

Studies have proven time and time again that talking about what’s going on in your head and heart has a positive effect on your overall well-being. Researchers at U.C.L.A. (via the New York Times) found that “affect labeling,” or vocalizing your feelings, can help to lessen the negative response in the amygdala when you experience upsetting or troubling things. Over time, this can lead to better responses to stress and tough times.

Furthermore, a study from Southern Methodist University found that either writing or talking about negative experiences and emotions boosts your immune system and overall health. This is because not discussing them is anxiety-inducing, which can have a negative impact on your mental state and physical body.

Controlling your emotions isn’t about denying their existence, but about ensuring your expression of them is respectful, thoughtful, and not overblown. Learning to do this is easier said than done, of course.

How to control your emotions in a relationship

unhappy couple arguing

provided by iStock

  1. Take a deep breath. When we get angry or upset about something, often our first instinct is to explode. We want to confront those who we think have wronged us immediately and give them a piece of our mind. However, it’s much healthier to stop in your tracks and before acting, take some deep breaths. If you do decide to continue with the confrontation, you want to do so with a clear head.
  2. Think before speaking. As tempting as it is to rant and rave and say everything that comes into your head, don’t. Before you open your mouth, think about what you’re going to say. Does it make sense? Is it actually true, or is it a knee-jerk response to a stressful or upsetting situation? Taking even a minute or two to consider what you’re about to say can avoid some nasty consequences.
  3. Get to the root of the feeling. Why are you feeling so strongly? Part of learning to control your emotions in a relationship is about figuring out why you’re having them to begin with. Maybe you’re dealing with stress in other parts of your life. Perhaps you haven’t been sleeping well or have unprocessed trauma from past relationships. Do the work to figure out what’s driving your extreme responses.
  4. Give the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of your partner and/or the situation. Don’t approach things from the viewpoint that everyone is out to get you and is trying to screw you over. Shifting your perspective in this way will allow you to have more measured responses.
  5. Work on communicating clearly and respectfully. Just because you’re angry or upset doesn’t give you the right to treat your partner badly. In order to control your emotions in a relationship, you have to learn to communicate better. You can express what you’re feeling without screaming, cursing, or insulting your partner.
  6. Don’t blame or accuse. Even if your partner has done something wrong, starting the conversation with accusations or blame won’t get you anywhere. Use “I” statements to reflect your own perspective rather than constantly condemning your partner for perceived wrongdoings.
  7. Avoid aggressive body language. Don’t point or get in your partner’s face when expressing yourself. Doing so can be scary and is completely inappropriate. When expressing your feelings to your partner, do so calmly. Stay seated, don’t invade your partner’s personal space, and keep aggression out of it.
  8. Don’t hesitate to walk away if things get too intense. If you find yourself truly unable to calm down, don’t continue the argument. Be mature enough to walk away so that you can calm yourself down. You can continue the conversation again later when your feelings are less heightened.
  9. Lead with love. This is your partner. They’re someone you care about and love. Act with that in mind. Treat them the way you would expect someone who values you to treat you. This may be difficult in certain circumstances. However, if you truly feel incapable of communicating with compassion, you may need to reevaluate the relationship.
  10. If you’re struggling, consider professional therapy. If your arguments with your partner become too frequent and you find you cannot control your emotions in the relationship, the issue may be yours alone. In this case, it may be worth talking with a mental health professional to work through this pattern and learn coping techniques to change the behavior.

Why it’s important

  1. You don’t want to say things you don’t mean. When you react in the heat of the moment and let your emotions get the better of you, you risk saying things you know are untrue and that you don’t mean. Unfortunately, some things that are said can’t be taken back. You could end up accusing your partner of something or saying something about them that your relationship will never recover from.
  2. You could end up self-sabotaging a perfectly good relationship. Maybe you and your partner are incredibly well-suited and your relationship has great potential, but your inability to control your emotions is going to ruin everything. Your partner is only going to stick around to be abused for so long before they decide to end things.
  3. It’s unfair to expect your partner to deal with emotional outbursts. Even if your partner is the most patient person in the world, it’s unfair to expect them to simply put up with you flying off the handle. We all have bad days where we overreact or lose our cool. However, if this is a regular occurrence for you, that’s a serious problem.
  4. You sell yourself short when you don’t control your emotions in your relationship. You’re not only treating your partner badly by overreacting to every issue, but you’re selling yourself short too. You discredit yourself and will eventually be written off as overly emotional and unstable. You deserve better than that.

In conclusion

Controlling your emotions in your relationship can be tough, especially if you’re a naturally sensitive person. However, that’s no excuse for treating your partner badly or amplifying minor issues into big ones because you don’t have healthy coping techniques. Work on learning how to react in more calm, measured ways is vital.

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia