Tread gently when your partner is upset

Amy Christie

When you see your partner is upset, your first impulse might be to cheer them up or find ways to help them feel better.

Unfortunately, things can get complicated once they start denying anything is wrong and refuse all communication. You can’t force them to open up about it. You will have to wait until they’re ready.

Navigating around the no-words challenge can be tricky but checking all the signs that give away the reasons you will get closer to fixing things.

These are the signs that show your partner is upset:

Talking feels like wrestling

It’s painful to go from bubbly talks to barely being able to say something to your partner for 5 minutes.

If text messages, phone calls, or in-person talks feel like an effort that could be because your partner feels upset about something.

Routine is replacing affection

If your partner did comforting things for you like making coffee or tea or sharing a tasty pizza and their behavior suddenly changes without warning, annoyance may be in the cards.

Everything they say is double-edged

When your partner is upset with you, innuendos may become the new currency. If they say things like “Did you do anything wrong?” every time you ask them why they’re changed you may assume they’re blaming you for something.

Bonding time is gone

When was the last time you hugged your partner, watched a movie together, or just went for a walk in the park? Intimacy defines a relationship and shutting plans down or canceling them with doubtful excuses points out clearly that your loved one is upset.

How to react when your partner is upset?

It’s very hard not to take it personally, even when they’re actually annoyed by something else. And it’s also tempting to behave the same way and turn to passive-aggressive actions just to show that you matter too.

However, that won’t do you any favors. You will only make the situation worse.

Here is how to curate your conversations and encourage your partner to say more:

Tell them how you feel, gently

Don’t badger them by asking what’s wrong every 10 minutes. You should, instead, take the time to prepare for a talk. Let your partner know why it matters to discuss what’s going on and make sure it doesn’t sound like a confrontation.

Active listening, reflection first

While you talk to your partner about the issue at stake ask questions when you don’t know if you both feel the same way. A hug or words of encouragement may be needed, particularly if a sensitive topic is being addressed.

In some cases, just letting them know you support them while they handle the pain will be a safe move.

Don’t argue about minor issues

Petty quarrels over trivial things will stress you out and won’t bring anything positive in your relationship. Try to save the time you would spend on such disputes and focus on building connections, letting go of grudges, and putting happiness on top of your to-do list.

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX
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