Can’t seem to pinpoint why your girlfriend is so angry? New research in theJournal of Family Psychology shows you’re not alone.
Want sex? Should have washed those glasses you’re holding.
Researchers asked 83 couples to discuss two things that made them mad—one chosen by the wife, the other by the husband—and monitored them through a one-way mirror. Subjects were then asked to explain why they were mad and rate the emotions of their partners before and after each discussion.
The results: Couples can easily recognize expressions of anger, but have trouble figuring out what’s actually causing the problem.
So what’s she really mad about? Karen Sherman, Ph.D., relationship counselor and author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, Make It Last, reveals the secret causes of all your arguments. Use her inside knowledge to prevent another blowup and be a better partner. (And for more useful advice, make sure you check out our piece that breaks down What Every Woman Wants.)
She flips out because you left your gym clothes all over the bathroom.
The real issue: You never help out with chores.
“Couples have to realize that once they’re living together, these mundane tasks need to be a shared responsibility,” says Sherman. Your move? Break down which chores she’d rather tackle and handle the ones that she doesn’t. Why? Not only will it ease the tension, but research also shows that if you partake in chores with her, she’s much more open to having sex, says Sherman. (She’s not kidding, guys. Check out how chores can be your Secret Weapon for More Sex.)
She’s annoyed that your mother called during dinner.
The real issue: Your parents are driving her nuts.
If your folks are still trying to micromanage your life, it becomes your responsibility to put an end to it. “It’s only natural to respect your parents because they’re family,” says Sherman. “But you also have to respect how your partner feels about their actions, because she’s now a priority in your life.” That means it’s time to tell mom that her 10 phone calls a day are a bittoo much.
She’s upset because you just blew $300 on a new golf club.
The real issue: You’re not financially responsible.
Money issues always boil down to differences in style, Sherman says. If one person loves to save while the other loves to splurge, there’s going to be conflict. “The two of you need to get on the same page with your personal finances,” says Sherman. That mean it’s time to discuss individualized debt and savings, and plan how the two of you want to handle bills and big purchases, suggests Sherman. (To make it easier, learn How to Talk to Her About Money.)
She gets pissed when you’re on your iPhone while she’s talking about her day.
The real issue: You’re spending way too much time online and not enough on her.
Women need affection and interaction, says Sherman. Whether it’s holding hands, talking every morning over coffee, or just spending an hour together (unplugged) making dinner—it needs to happen. “Because if she feels she’s competing with technology for your attention, this will eventually lead to a lack of intimacy in the relationship,” says Sherman. (Read: No more sex.)
By: Madeline Haller/Mens Health