Relationships

If You're Mad At Your Partner, Text Them This Instead Of Blowing Up

Because a long rage text probably won’t get you anywhere.

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Tell me if this sounds familiar: You're pissed at your partner so you start to compose a text that'll really let them know how you're feeling. You type and delete, over and over, because you're unable to fully express the fury in your heart while still making your point. Eventually, you give up on your point altogether and say something really ugly, or they push a boundary they know they shouldn’t touch. All of this just escalates the situation and you end up fighting over texthard. If anything, you feel worse now. The rage text, it turns out, isn't the best text to send if you’re mad at your partner. Shocker, I know.

It can be hard to know what to say to your boyfriend when you're mad at him, but you don't want it to turn into a huge, unproductive fight. So how do you communicate in a way that actually leads to a resolution? To better understand how to let a guy know you're mad at him through text, here's what experts recommend.

Give Yourself Time To Cool Off Before Texting Them.
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Susan Winter, relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache

suggests something that might just feel totally impossible when you’re heated, but that’s really quite simple: Just wait.

I get it — when you're angry, it's hard not to react immediately and let the chips — or, in this case, texts — fall where they may. But in this case, the only action Winter suggests is inaction. “The greater your anger, the more you need to wait,” Winter tells Elite Daily. “Though the impulse is to attack, accuse or defend, here's where every word you write is of paramount importance. Waiting to construct the perfect statement will make all the difference in your point being heard, and understood.” It’s hard, but it’s totally worth it.

Taking the time to cool off a bit can also give you a better understanding of what you truly need from your partner in this moment, as Rebecca Newman, MSW, LCSW, previously told Bustle, "We sometimes perseverate on our anger because we feel compelled to be 'right,' when what we really need is to be heard."

Don’t Engage In A Fight Over Text.

No matter what you do, resist the urge to hash it out angrily over text because, as Winter warns, “Starting a fight over text is guaranteed to fail. You're going to blow up and say things you don't mean to say in reactivity," she says. "Emotions escalate quickly, causing both partners to overreact and write things they'll regret.”

Plus, it’s a lot harder to take things back when there is literally a written record of them. So, take the time to really think about what you want to say before you send it.

Be Clear On What You Want To Say When You Do Speak.

While you’re waiting to calm down a bit, Winter says to take the time to think about what you really want to communicate to your partner. When you put your feelings aside, what's the most important takeaway? Once you know the answer to that, you're ready to “make your statements short and concise," suggests Winter. "A text message is not the place to elaborate, or lay out the body of your argument. That's better done in person.”

Text Them Something Brief That’ll Get You Talking IRL.
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Now that you’ve calmed down and really considered why you're so upset, it’s time to actually send the message. Winter says there are four things to keep in mind.

First: Keep the tone of the message non-reactive. “Non-reactivity shows that you're willing to negotiate," she explains. "You're clearly upset, but you're also levelheaded. It shows that you are open to a real conversation rather than accusations and attacks.” That way, they're far less likely to immediately go on the defense.

Second: Even though you have a lot of feelings and thoughts right now, this is not the time or the outlet to spill them all out. Instead, Winter says to keep it short, because if it’s brief, it’s automatically "less threatening.”

Third: Try and keep your statement rational and diplomatic. That way, they don’t become combative right off the bat. If all you want to do is vent, then go ahead and vent, but it won’t help you resolve anything faster. If anything, it will make it even harder. Because, after all, “who wants to ‘talk it out’ when they know they're going into battle?” asks Winter. No one. And for this same reason, Winter says not to make accusations over text.

Last, but not least: When you write your text, avoid language that will provoke an unproductive response, as licensed marriage and family therapist Carrie Krawiec previously told Bustle. "Stick to 'I' statements. Starting a sentence with ‘You’ signifies blame or criticism and can cause defensiveness, denial, counter arguments and rebuttals." Instead, focus on how you’re feeling, adds Winter. “Emotions expressed in the 'I' format reveal what you're feeling without directly blaming your partner,” she says. (Even if you're actually blaming your partner, save that for the face-to-face.)

So what fits all the requirements and sets you up for a successful and productive face-to-face conversation? Winter says it should go a little something like this:

I'm hurt and upset by what's happened. I'd like to hear your side of it so that we can address the situation together.

I'm really angry about what you said. I really want to hear your side of this so we can work on resolving the issue and moving forward.

I'm still processing everything that happened and I’m still really upset. So, I’d love to sit down and talk to you about it, so we can address it together.

These sample texts can let your partner know how you're feeling, hopefully without putting them on the defense. And although you can’t control how they react to your amicable, respectful text, you do have full control over your reactions. You should never have to lie or hide your feelings from your partner, but there are ways to communicate your anger without escalating the argument. This way, you can reach a resolution that will make you both feel satisfied.

Experts cited:

Carrie Krawiec, licensed marriage and family therapist

Rebecca Newman, MSW, LCSW

Susan Winter, relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache