Myth #7: Love and Anger are Incompatible Many people believe that if you really love someone, that means you never get angry at them. Or perhaps you grew up in a house where you didn't feel loved when someone was angry with you, so as an adult in relationships, you feel that anger means someone is withdrawing love from you. While this might happen in some relationships, typically, this is not true. When someone feels angry with you, it doesn't mean they don't love you-- it just means they are upset with a behavior you have shown, and is a feeling that indicates something needs to change.
If you believe that you cannot show anger to someone that you love, it will result in bottling up feelings and not sharing them with your partner. Over time, these feelings become toxic and will impact how you relate to that person. The feelings might come out in indirect ways that are hurtful to the relationship. This can often result in the death of the relationship.
The truth is, we can and do feel love and anger at the same time. Just because you are angry with something your partner did, doesn't mean you don't love them. Anger is a healthy feeling and unavoidable in intimate relationships. We can't try to keep them separate and have a healthy relationship. It's important to learn how to express anger in healthy ways to our partner so they know what we are struggling with and what needs to change.
As Gerald Corey shares, "If you deny your anger, you are negating your love". It's hard to feel loving towards someone if we have a bunch of negative feelings bottled up inside. It only keeps us distant from our partner and makes it difficult for them to love us in return.
If you struggle with showing or sharing appropriate anger in your relationship, we encourage you to get help in learning how to do this. Marriage counseling or individual counseling can be a great way to address this. It truly can help turn your relationship into one that is healthier and more intimate!
Adapted from "I Never Knew I Had A Choice" by Gerald Corey
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.