@megjennings1788: Recognizing that you need to change is step 1.
Now you have to have a real discussion with him about how to manage your anger and what acceptable outlets are.
I’ll go through how I manage my emotional outbursts.
1. What can you say and what can you not take back?
We don’t name call. I can say he’s acting “like a jerk.” or that something he did was hurtful. However, I don’t call him a d*ck, an *sshole, etc. Being in a relationship with someone means that you know how to make them happy and you know how to cut deep. Don’t ever use something he told you in confidence against him and never say or do something maliciously. In other words, if you know something is a sore spot for him, never mention it during a fight. Keep it civil.
Instead, concentrate on the actions that hurt you and why you are upset. Always make sure you tell him how it can be fixed.
2. Recognize you are on the same side.
He loved you, which means he would never do anything to intentionally hurt you. Sometimes he makes mistakes (he’s human) and sometimes he’s selfish. But usually just telling him, “when you did this, it made me feel unappreciated/unsupported/neglected/etc” is enough.
You should only fight with the idea that you are working towards the same goal.
He made you feel neglected when he stayed late and failed to call. You waited around for him to come home, and when he didn’t, you felt let down and embarrassed. It was made worse by the fact that he acted like it was important to him to come back by a certain time. You are upset because his actions made you feel like he was trying to appease you, and you aren’t actually a priority.
You need to communicate why you are mad in a way that he understands he hurt you without getting his defenses up, Use a lot of “I feel,” “I thought,” “My reaction was” and follow it up with his actions, never his thoughts/motivations. “When you didn’t come home, I felt like I wasn’t a priority,” rather than, “You don’t make me a priority.”
Then you need to explain what he can do to make it better and what you will both do differently next time.
“I am hurt and an appology would make me feel a lot better. Additionally, next time, I’d really like to hear from you if you are running late, so please call. I, meanwhile, will make more of an effort to try to get ahold of you when I start to get upset. I apologize that I waited until you got home to talk to you because it made me more emotional than I otherwise would be.”
3. Recognize your triggers.
When you start to get really mad, come up with some way to diffuse the situation. I need to leave the room and cool down for a little bit. Other couples take “time-outs” where they reaffirm their love for each other. Whatever you need to do to avoid blowing up at him, do it. Also translate it to him, “When I leave the room, I’m only doing it to calm down for a little bit. Give me my space, and I’ll come back to talk more later.”
Give him a code word or a phrase to tell you that you need to take a step back and calm down when you are fighting. Pick something that won’t make you mad, but will interrupt you enough that you can take a break.
If it’s something that you are really mad about, you will be mad an hour from now too. If it’s something you are emotional about, you will probably get over it as soon as you calm down.
4. Communicate effectively
If I write out what I want to say, I’m more likely to calm down, re-evaluate why I’m made, and communicate my actions/reactions without starting an argument.
It also gives him some time to think about what I’ve said, and come back to me with his thoughts on the subject.
Otherwise it devolves into me crying and unable to say a word between tears and him having no idea what the hell just happened ;-).
5. Figure out the real reason you are mad.
I’ll give an example:
A while back, my Fiance and I ran a race with some friends. The race wasn’t timed (It was Color Me Rad, which is basically a paint fight 5K). My Fiance usually ran races next to me, and told me this time that he wanted to stick next to me.
I begged them to pick a meeting point because the crowd was huge. No one did, because they kept saying that it wasn’t timed, so we were sticking together.
Well, guess what. 3 minutes into the race everyone decided to run it for real, including my Fiance. I was running with people who used to run track and have finished marathons. I was dusted. I lost everyone, and spent 2 hours searching for my friends and fiance. When I finally found them, I burst into tears.
When we got home, I WAS LIVID.
I cried, I yelled, and my Fiance used our code, “Let’s talk after you calm down.”
So I did. Why was I so angry about a race? I know I’m not a good runner. I’ve been left in races before. So why was I so angry about this one?
First reason: being ignored about the check point after the race. But, everyone was aware of that when I started crying, and said that they messed up. So why was I mad at FI??
His best friend has recently become single and was spending every waking moment with my Fiance. I was getting frustrated because his friend was using my Fiance as a surrogate Girlfriend. They were doing a lot of the same things he and his GF used to do, and I was starting to resent their relationship. When he picked running with the friend over me during that untimed race, that was the feather that broke the camel’s back.
I came back to him, explaining that it wasn’t the race that I was really mad about. It was the fact that I felt like I was constantly competing for his affection with his best friend. I felt neglected, and I took it out on that one situation.
I hope these general guidelines help you manage your arguing style with your Fiance. These worked wonders for me.