André Anthony Moore, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (New York State License: 001435)

Ketamine and Psychedelic Assisted Therapist certified by The Integrative Psychiatry Institute Practitioner of Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Use Nonverbal Sensorimotor Techniques to deepen Emotionally Focused Therapy

How to Control Your Emotions in a Long-Term Relationship

While we all love when our favorite romance novels and movies end with the couple living happily ever after, anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship knows that real life doesn’t work that way. Keeping romance alive and achieving happiness is an ongoing challenge.

When we discuss intimacy in any romantic relationship, what usually comes to mind are physical acts such as cuddling, holding hands, kissing, and even sex. On the other hand, emotional intimacy is usually a second thought.

Yes, physical intimacy is an integral part of a romantic relationship, but paying attention to emotions is equally, if not more, important. 

In any long-term relationship, it’s natural to experience a wide range of emotions. From the initial excitement and butterflies to the inevitable challenges and conflicts that arise over time, you may often feel your emotions are running the show. 

Before uncontrolled emotions take charge of your relationship, it’s indispensable to learn how to navigate them in a healthy way so that they help you foster the relationship. 

In this article, we will discuss how you can build emotional intelligence and some tried-and-tested ways to control your emotions without negatively affecting your relationship.

What Is Emotional Intelligence and How Will It Impact Your Relationship?

Generally, people that have highly developed emotional intelligence also have strong and thriving romantic relationships. Emotional intelligence is something that describes a person’s ability to be aware of, control, and express emotions in a healthy way. 

In all relationships, emotional intelligence translates into the ability to handle your own emotions and be aware of your partner’s emotions.

While emotional intelligence might seem like a simple concept to master, it’s one of the most challenging aspects of any long-term relationship. 

When both partners have high emotional intelligence, they are more likely to have better communication, greater understanding and empathy, and the ability to resolve or avoid conflicts and challenges more effectively. This can lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship and improve each partner’s well-being.

For example, when one partner is feeling upset, the other partner with high emotional intelligence will be able to recognize and validate those feelings rather than becoming defensive or dismissive. Affirming a partner’s emotions can de-escalate conflicts and lead to a more positive outcome, which helps nurture the relationship. 

In short, emotional intelligence is not just about feeling good, it’s about being able to navigate the difficulties of a relationship and come out stronger on the other side with increased relationship satisfaction.

Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and strong marriage or relationship by fostering trust, respect, and intimacy while improving communication and problem-solving skills.

Why Is It Difficult to Control Your Emotions?

If you’ve ever felt that your emotions are “out of control” or “too intense”, you are not alone! Many couples, especially those in a long-term relationship, find it hard to take charge of their emotions. 

However, the reasons your emotions feel so out of control often have little to do with the emotions themselves. There are some other factors that could be responsible for the way you are feeling.

Here are a few examples:

Taking Healthy Sleep for Granted 

A lack of sleep or unhealthy sleeping habits can make it difficult to control your emotions. When we are tired, our bodies and brains are not functioning at their best. The ability to regulate our emotions becomes compromised, making it harder to manage and control them effectively.

When you sleep better, you’re better able to tame your emotions and think more clearly.

Judging Your Emotions

Just because certain emotions do not feel good does not necessarily mean they are not healthy! Unfortunately, many of us are raised to believe that we must suppress negative emotions because they are unseemly. As we grow up, we continue believing that painful emotions like loneliness and distress are problems.

It’s okay not to like certain emotions, and some emotions might make you uncomfortable. However, judging your emotions and thinking badly about yourself for even having them can actually make it even harder to control them. 

If you feel too emotionally volatile, it’s essential to stop criticizing yourself for the way you think and feel.

Letting Anxiety Take Over 

Anxiety can toy with your emotions and amplify certain feelings. In fact, studies have helped establish a strong connection between anxiety and emotions.

It can be said that anxiety itself represents an emotional state that makes a person more prone to certain emotional reflexes – sadness, anger, loneliness, etc. People feeling prolonged anxiety live with a general absence of happiness. 

Ultimately, when there is a lack of happiness in someone’s life, negative emotions tend to be more dominant and can definitely affect a long-term relationship. 

» More: How to Deal with Anxiety in Relationships

Being Dependent on Your Partner for Comfort 

Nothing could be more natural than going to your partner for comfort when you are in distress or upset. In fact, this is how most people in long-term relationships deal with life’s stress and other difficulties. 

However, being too dependent on your partner for providing support and comfort may become a bad habit and hinder your own emotional development.

There may be times when your partner isn’t around or is having trouble with their own emotions. You will no longer be able to depend on them to calm you down. You might feel your emotions are out of control because the external support you are used to is no longer there.

Uncontrolled emotions can even make you feel that your partner isn’t giving you the attention you deserve and might develop into a more serious conflict.

Being Too Trusting of Your Thoughts 

Isn’t it funny how we tend to be so trusting of our own thoughts? Perhaps because we live in a culture that glorifies our capacity for problem-solving and thinking, most people make the mistake of assuming that their thoughts are always helpful and correct. 

This is especially true when it comes to thoughts about our partners:

  • After your partner makes a comment about a meal you made, your response might be, “Great, now he thinks I’m a bad cook.”
  • If your partner seems a bit distant, you immediately think, “I must have done something wrong.” 

Just because you have a thought you trust, doesn’t mean it’s true. Your emotions may quickly start to feel out of control because they may insist that everything that goes through your mind is meaningful. 

As a result, you might end up blindly trusting every little thought, which ultimately affects your relationship.

Are you finding it difficult to process and control your emotions? Is it affecting your long-term relationship? Speak to a marriage counseling expert at Marriage Couples Counseling in New York before things take an unexpected turn. 

Call us at (212) 673-4618 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable couples therapist to learn how to understand your emotions better and keep them under your control.

Tried-and-Tested Ways to Control Your Emotions 

Don’t want your emotions to decide how you act and react to situations? Try these proven ways from expert couples therapists to control your emotions and strengthen your relationship.

Think Before You Act 

People can be reactionary, especially when feeling emotionally charged. Extreme feelings can make a person act impulsively, and ultimately, affect their relationship.

It would be better to pause, analyze the situation, and, if possible, anticipate the potential outcomes before saying or doing something under the influence of intense emotions.  

It may be hard to control stress, jealousy, rage, and frustration, but you should endeavor to think before you act on these emotions in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

Learn the Art of Processing Your Emotions 

Processing emotions is a key aspect of emotional intelligence. Before you learn how to take charge of your emotions, it’s essential to learn how to recognize what you are feeling.

There might be times when you get confused about whether you are frustrated, angry, hurt, or sad. When you can’t pinpoint what you are feeling, you won’t be able to react to the feeling in a healthy way.

Whenever you get confused about what you feel, take a pause and figure out what triggered your emotions. This can be done through journaling and talking to a therapist. Make notes of when you’ve felt similar emotions, what made you feel better, and how or if you were able to move forward.

Ask Yourself the Reasons Behind Your Feelings 

Emotions can easily overpower rational reasoning, and that happens to most people in this world. It becomes even harder to control your feelings towards your partner when you aren’t sure about the reason behind the overwhelming emotions. 

Your past experiences also play a crucial role in the way you react to strong emotions and the way you behave in a relationship. You might associate certain feelings with the flaws in an old relationship and are unable to separate them from the reality of your current relationship. 

Always be honest with yourself and try to understand why you are feeling a certain way. If it requires talking to your partner, don’t hesitate, as two people can better manage emotions together. Couples therapy is an excellent place to explore old and new feelings, plus other relationship issues.

Think Positively and Stop Dwelling on Negative Thoughts 

People tend to make repeat mistakes, which is completely okay. However, it should not come at the cost of your relationship. No one wants to feel trapped in a cage with negative emotions and no end in sight.

Once you have determined what triggers your emotions, you should take charge to stop allowing them to be destructive feelings or more easily move forward if negative feelings do develop. Not dwelling on negative emotions will help you decrease conflict in your relationship.

Practice Healthy Communication 

Do you often find yourself stuck in unhealthy communication patterns? Is unhealthy communication taking a toll on your relationship? Improper and lack of communication with your partner is the seed of many problems. 

How can you communicate your feelings to your partner when you are blinded by rage, anger, or other negative emotions? Even if you try to communicate, negative emotions could overpower the message, making things worse. 

Proper communication can solve some of the biggest of problems, so try to learn how to communicate with your partner in a way that conveys your feelings and love to them. Learning communication techniques is a large part of marriage counseling or relationship counseling.

Learn to Forgive 

Forgiving someone who hurt you is not easy, but when it’s your partner, you should learn to let things go if they have apologized. Holding onto emotions for a long time will negatively affect your relationship. Learn to forgive, and you’ll see how it nurtures the love and happiness you deserve.

Walk Away 

Every discussion can wait, especially when your words are driven by emotions you aren’t able to control. Whenever you feel like emotions are overpowering what you want to convey, try to pause the conversation so both you and your partner have time to gather your thoughts. 

Saying hurtful and belittling words to your partner might cause damage that can’t be reversed. If you feel an intense negative heat when arguing with your partner, simply walk away and talk to them when you both feel calm.

Be Aware of Your Body Language and Understand What It Communicates 

While this might not feel like a very useful tip, it’s important from your partner’s point of view! Imagine you are in talks with your partner with your arms crossed or fists clenched; will it convey you’re willing to hear them out?

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, and try to think about what emotions you would experience in such situations. Pay attention to your body language, and ensure it doesn’t communicate anything negative to your partner.

Separate Emotions and Your Behavior 

If you are feeling angry or jealous because of something, it isn’t necessary that these emotions should reflect in your behavior. If you are frustrated because you didn’t get a promotion, your partner shouldn’t bear the brunt of your frustration.

Try to keep your emotions and behavior separate. When you aren’t feeling good, or you think negative emotions have overpowered you, communicate with your partner and let them know why you are in a bad mood.

Understand Past Experiences and Your Partner’s Behaviors 

We all have some past experiences and they can affect the way we act today. Try to understand the mistakes you made in the past and what the outcomes were. You can better handle conflicts in the present by identifying actions that do not work.

Moreover, understanding your partner’s behavior will help you keep things under control. For example, if shouting makes your partner uncomfortable and anxious, you can find a different way to portray your feelings. 

When you understand past experiences and consider how your partner feels, you get a better command over your emotions, which helps you drive your relationship toward success. 

Seek Help From a Couples Therapist If Things Get Out of Control 

People are complicated, and so are our emotions. In any relationship, there are unique challenges that can be compounded by past experiences and personality differences.

If you feel that it’s difficult to control your emotions, or that emotions are severely impacting your relationship, you can contact a marriage counselor for couples therapy. Relationship counseling is an excellent tool to help you figure out how to keep your emotions in check.

Take Control of Your Emotions With André Moore’s Expert Guidance

Controlling emotions is easier said than done, especially when you are in a long-term relationship and the stakes are high. Sometimes, you need external assistance from an expert who can help you process your feelings and emotions.

With the guidance and advice of André Moore (a certified relationship therapist in New York City), you can understand what triggers your emotions and how you can be in the driver’s seat.

Marriage Couples Counseling in New York City is a group of marriage and family therapists and life coaches who have over 80 years of collective experience. They offer many effective techniques that can help couples understand what triggers their emotions and how they can take control.

Give New York Marriage Couples Counseling a call at (212) 673-4618 to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members. You can gain insight into your relationship problems and learn to navigate the ups and downs of intense emotions with understanding and compassion.

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    Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching
    160 Bleecker Street, 9C East, New York, NY 10012
    (212) 673 4618