I have a really short fuse where my girlfriend is concerned. What can I do so I don’t get so angry at her?

When someone brings up a touchy subject, most of us respond defensively with reactions, excuses, or reasons. Over time, this creates a short fuse that gets in the way of actually hearing what the other person is saying. Watch out when you find yourself getting angry at the very beginning of a conversation. If you do this often, it might be a clue that you’re not listening to your girlfriend or understanding her perspective.

Understanding her perspective doesn’t mean you have to agree; it just means you’re trying to put yourself in her shoes. Make an effort to really listen to your partner by focusing on her words rather than just reacting emotionally. Then respond to her statements with understanding.

The goal is to satisfy your partner’s needs, not debate them. In relationships, when one of you really listens and understands the other, then the other partner can do that in return. It creates a positive cycle. To learn more about managing anger, check out HPRC’s “Five Steps to Managing Anger.”