Q: For the past several months I have been dating a really lovely lady. I care about her a lot and I would like to move our relationship to another level, either moving in to live together or maybe even to get married.
However, my lady friend is reluctant to do so. I know that she cares about me because she has told me that numerous times, but she does not like my temper and she is worried that she will put herself in a position of being abused, or yelled at, if we got together.
If I can learn to deal with my temper she is all for intensifying our relationship. I see this as nothing but good.
I get impatient fairly easily and that has cost me a lot. I did not get a promotion at work once because I get impatient so easily, and I have lost some good friends through my blowups. It is time for me to get on top of this thing.
However, I do not know how to go about it. I Googled anger management on my computer, but I found so many different ideas on how to deal with my quick temper that all that I did was confuse myself. Can you give me some direction on how I might start fixing up this thing?
A: The best advice that I can give is to find yourself a good personal counsellor who would be willing to spend some time with you.
There is something out there in psychological land called “cognitive behaviour therapy.” I am not going to try to describe for you just what it is because that would be too difficult.
However, I can tell you that if you find a counsellor who is skilled at this type of therapy to help you, your chances of getting through this thing so that you and your lady friend can build on your relationship are much better.
Until you find a good counsellor, you might try following a program I picked up from my readings from ancient Persia. This is what I call a 24 hour program.
The program suggests in effect that if something starts bothering you, something that you might have seen or something that someone said to you, try not to react to it for 24 hours. Get out of there, wherever it is that you are upset about, and as much as possible put it out of your mind.
I know that this is not always easy to do, and I suspect that you are the kind of person who will obsess with things. However, even that can be to some extent controlled.
When 24 hours have come and gone, go back to wherever it was that you were upset and try talking it out again. Of course, by then the problem may well have disappeared, and you will wonder why you got upset in the first place.
However, it might not have worked itself out, and you will have to talk about it again. If you get upset again, revert back to the 24 hour break, and keep doing it until you can be more rational about whatever it is that was bothering you. Somewhere along the way it will come to an end.
Changing your temperament is not going to be easy — I hope that I have never implied that it is. However, it is possible, and given that you have a chance for a relationship that is looking really great for you, it is certainly worth the effort.