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How to Deal with Negative Emotions in Your Relationship

Learn How to Acknowledge and Manage Your Emotions for a Healthier Relationship

All emotions, even the negative and not-so-pleasant ones, contain information that can help you grow and become closer to your partner. But, when you or your partner ignore negative feelings or refuse to talk about things and engage in healthy conflict, the relationship can quickly erode.

Fortunately, there's a better (and emotionally healthier) way to deal with negative feelings in a relationship. If you can learn how to acknowledge and manage the full spectrum of emotions that you experience, you'll develop a closeness with your partner that withstands time and tempers.

Recognizing that negative emotions impact your romantic relationships

If you don't acknowledge your emotions, you may not even realize that these feelings have an impact on your relationship. Read through the list below and count how many statements you can identify with:

  • The smallest things upset you, regardless of your partner's intent.
  • Your emotional reactions feel “out of control” in proportion to the situation.
  • You tend to bottle things up until you reach a breaking point.
  • You hate conflict and will avoid it at all costs, even if it causes pain to you and your partner.
  • Sometimes, you feel like your emotions control you, not the other way around.
  • When expressing negative emotions, you don't care about hurting your partner.
  • You regularly experience negative emotions toward your partner, such as anger and anxiety.
  • When you think about managing your emotions and energy, you feel completely lost and don't know where to begin.

If you can relate to any of the above statements, it's time to work on managing negative emotions.

Your roadmap for managing emotions in a relationship

When you feel a negative emotion boiling up, follow these simple steps:

  1. Stop , take notice of the emotion, and identify how it makes you feel. It's best if you can do this in the moment, because awareness allows you to be more proactive about the next steps.
  2. Breathe slowly and deeply. Deep breathing calms the fight-or-flight response that often accompanies strong emotions.
  3. Pause and reflect on the emotion. If you feel hurt, is it because you've made assumptions about the meaning behind your partner's behavior? Ask yourself, “Did my partner intend to make me feel this way, or could it be a misunderstanding?”
  4. Remember that we all get to choose how we'll respond to our emotions. How will you respond to yours?

Negative emotions are normal, but they shouldn't control your behavior

It's impossible to eradicate every negative emotion from a relationship. As you work on dealing with negative emotions in a healthier way, think about how you'll react to these feelings in the future. When negativity crops up in your relationship, you could:

Your relationship might also benefit from improved communication and greater emotional intimacy, so consider learning how to emotionally connect with your partner , too.