Feeling Depressed, Angry or Anxious? Don’t Try and Solve Your Relationship Problems


Have you ever tried to talk to your partner about something or solve problems when you were feeling depressed, anxious and angry?


It’s practically impossible to solve anything when you are in a bad emotional state.


If you’ve ever watched any of the singing reality stars or professional athletes perform under pressure, you know that rational, talented and skilled people can look and act completely irrational, make poor decisions and look downright foolish when faced with intense emotions.


When you are feeling depressed, anxious or angry you literally don’t have access to the parts of your brain that enable you to make good choices and think about what’s best for you.


You’re allowing your worst fears and worries to dictate your choices.


When emotions are running high it’s difficult to listen to each other and calmly solve problems. In fact, when emotions are high, things that normally wouldn’t be problems appear to be problems


There are three main ways we usually act when faced with intense emotions in our relationship. We tend to:


1. Scream at, accuse, throw insults, berate, criticize, and sarcastically mock your partner. Yeah. This really solves the problem, doesn’t it? Yet, most of us do these kinds of behaviors when we are angry or hurt.


2. Distance ourselves or cut off our partner. The other extreme emotional reaction you’ll often have is to completely avoid the issue or cutoff your partner. This is the scene at the restaurant when the couple is sitting at the table like two polite enemies that resent and hate each other underneath the surface.


3. Involve a third party. When we feel extreme anger, resentment, jealousy, etc., we’ll often get a third party (like a friend, family member, or co-worker) to talk to about your partner to help you confirm just how terrible they really are.


None of these reactions are good for your relationship. If you’re consistently emotionally reactive to your partner, it will be trouble for your relationship. We are all emotionally over reactive at times, but it’s how you are the majority of the time that counts.


So, don’t beat up on yourself if you occasionally want to rip your partners head off or leave the country and never come back


In all relationships, conflict is unavoidable and it will happen. You and your partner are two different people.


The best thing you can do for your love life or relationship is to take these four simple steps to ensure that you aren’t consistently emotionally over reacting to your partner.


Calm yourself = Focus on yourself and staying calm. Learn to calm yourself when everything inside of you and outside of you is telling you to confront or avoid your partner.


Take responsibility = You’ve co-created a relationship. Yeah, maybe your partner is mostly wrong maybe not. It doesn’t really matter. You actually want to be more self-centered not other centered. You want to take a look at your own intentions, behaviors and results. You want to take responsibility for your own choices and behaviors.


Identify what you want = Once you have calmed yourself down and gotten real with yourself about your own choices and behaviors, it’s time to identify what you want in the situation. What are your deepest desires, wants, and fears related to the situation.


Reconnect by turning toward your partner = This is where the rubber meets the road and what separates the relationship masters from the relationship disasters. After you’ve calmed yourself down, you’ve taken responsibility for your own choices and behaviors and you’ve identified your desires and fears, it’s time to reconnect with your partner. This is the step most of us avoid like the plague. It’s damn hard to be vulnerable and reveal yourself to your partner. But we’re grownups now and it’s time to really grow up.


So, what you do is go to your partner and calmly say this is who I am on this issue, these are my dreams, desires, fears and this is what I want in this situation without any expectation of them changing. All you’re doing is expressing yourself on the issue from a calm place so that your partner can make their next move and an informed decision.


Say Yes to Love,

Dr. Michael Arn & Dr. Ashley Arn