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How to Deal with a Short-Tempered Partner
A relationship is at the best of times a delicate balancing act between differing personalities and priorities. However things become more complicated if one of the partners is prone to fly into a temper at the slightest of matters. Here are a few tips on how to keep your own cool and deal with a short-tempered partner.
- Give it time.
A person who is quick to temper usually cools down just as fast. So when you find your partner getting heated up over an issue, take back a step and wait for things to calm down. In all probability he/she shout for a while and even bang a door or two but soon enough you may find your partner coming back to you with a sheepish smile or a goofy look. Such outbursts are on the whole harmless and in fact help your partner to let off some steam now and then.
- Do not react to petty issues.
A short-tempered person gets angry over petty issues like not being able to watch a particular TV series or having the store run out of his/her favorite pastry. A more reasonable person would simply shrug the shoulders and say, “too bad” but for those quick to temper these matters are enough to shout at the world, including you. The only way to deal with such a person is not to react at all. If you try to explain to your partner that the patisserie is usually busy over the weekends or that he/she can catch a repeat show of the particular TV series, you will only be making your partner angrier. This is because when in the grip of a temper, a person is not thinking right and no matter how perfect your logic is, it is of little use to him/her.
- Avoid getting into arguments.
Very often a short-tempered person will jump from railing at minor irritants to bigger issues. And if it is your partner who is behaving like this, sooner or later you know that he/she will drag you and even your relationship into the argument. If your partner happens to receive a phone call from his/her boss at an odd hour demanding a presentation ready by next morning, you can be not only be sure of your partner flying into a rage but also somehow making all this your fault. At such times, it is easy to get into an argument and only fair to defend yourself. But remember this is a person who is already on a short fuse. No amount of reasoning can make your partner see your perspective and any argument from your side will only make the fight stretch longer. Here your best bet is to switch off completely after explaining that though you are willing to understand your partner’s concerns, you both need to be in a calmer frame of mind to be able to do that.
- Have patience.
In order to deal with a short-tempered partner you will need to dig deep into your reserves of patience. It is not easy to accept, much less understand, when someone you love loses his/her cool at you over minor issues. But if you react with an equally hasty and negative attitude, then you can kiss any chances of your relationship goodbye. On the other hand, being calm and patient with your partner will not only prevent arguments and fights from getting out of hand but actually serve as an example for your partner to follow.
- Do not enable your partner’s angry behavior.
While it is important to act with restraint in dealing with a short-tempered partner, if you find such outbursts increasing in frequency and degree, you also need to draw the line somewhere. Repeated episodes of your partner shouting at you, breaking things or even threatening violence may leave you feeling confused and unsafe. Even after he/she has apologized and is behaving normally, you may be perpetually on tenterhooks not knowing what will trigger the next outburst. In fact if you keep excusing your partner’s temper tantrums, they will use this trick time and again knowing full well that they can worm their way into your affections simply by saying sorry. The only way to stop this from happening is to let your partner know that you have been hurt by their behavior. You understand that they have a problem and are even willing to try and make things work but not before they learn to keep their tongues and actions under control.
- Encourage your partner to look at self-help steps.
Once you, with your own restraint, are able to make your partner aware of the dangers of a short temper, you can encourage him/her to take various self-improvement measures. Deep-breathing exercises and meditation have been proven to help a person in exercising greater control over emotions like anger. A short temper in fact not only has the potential to ruin a person’s relationships but even damage his/her health in the long run. A tendency to get worked up has been associated in several studies with greater levels of hypertension and cardiac problems. Likewise someone who is prone to anger stands at a greater risk of suffering from mental ill-health and depression. Make your partner aware of all these dangers of an angry temperament and it is likely that they will be ready to take some corrective action on their own.
Seek professional help if you feel that your partner’s quick temper is threatening your physical and emotional safety. This is especially relevant if you have little children from the relationship. Sometimes an angry disposition may be accompanied by other types of abusive behavior like depriving you of financial resources or subjecting you to physical violence. If this is true of your partner you may require help from a therapist or a law-enforcement agency to ensure your own and your kids’ safety.
All short-tempered people are not dysfunctional. Most of the times it is a sign of an intense or energetic nature and in fact may even be what adds color and punch to their personalities. However if you find your partner’s temper threatening your relationship, go about with tact and patience. And you may just be sailing smoothly on the rivers of romance once again.