My Boyfriend Is Mad At Me — Is That A Good Or Bad Thing?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated May 14, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Relationships between friends and romantic partners tend to have ups and downs and both partners may not feel the same way when challenges arise. When two people with their own beliefs, customs, and backgrounds fall in love and decide to nurture that love together, it can be natural to have difficult days and having disagreements is not a big deal. If you worry that your boyfriend is mad at you, you may find some solace in knowing that this can be a normal part of working out differences with your loved one and may not lead to any serious problems. However, you should also note that there are likely many levels associated with this emotion, and the situation may be more complicated than it appears on the surface. Determining whether all of your own and your partner’s needs are being met in the relationship and making plans to address any unmet needs can be a healthy way to cope with anger. If this is challenging to do on your own, you might enlist the help of a couple’s therapist. You can attend therapy sessions online or in person.

Is your partner angry with you?

Are you and your partner’s needs being met?

A good way to process anger in yourself or coming from a loved one can be to identify the source of this anger. There is often a significant difference between being the reason for someone’s anger and someone being upset for a different reason and taking that emotion out on you. If you are unclear about the real source of your partner’s anger, then there may be a breakdown in your communication as a couple.


To work through this potential breach in communication, the first thing you might try is talking to your partner about their needs. If your boyfriend is giving you the silent treatment or they’re saying things that are passive-aggressive or hurtful, it may be beneficial to give them space instead of responding immediately. Consider waiting a night for your partner to cool down before trying to explain your thinking or talking about what happened to make your partner feel angry or hurt as it may be hard to hear your point of view while feeling angry. 

As an exercise, you might go through the following list items with your partner and have a calm, loving conversation about which of their needs are being met, and which could potentially be lacking. During this conversation it is important to focus on your needs rather than on placing blame or deciding who is in the wrong. This conversation is about trying to listen actively to your partner and their perspective, not trying to push for your partner to apologize or to get in the last word. If you’ve hurt their feelings on purpose or accidentally, admitting to your mistakes, apologizing, and trying to do better in the future, is often a good first step.

If you have been arguing, it’s generally best to take some space from one another before taking part in this exercise so that you can approach it with a clear head. Once you’ve talked to each other openly about your expectations, desires, and needs, you may find the true sources of this anger and frustration, and you can both work toward resolution as one unified team.

Safety needs

Do you or your partner feel threatened or frightened in your relationship? If your or your guy friend’s basic safety needs are unmet, it could place you in a state of fight or flight, which could manifest itself as frequent anxiety. Anxiety can sometimes result in aggravation and outbursts.

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7.

Identify where these feelings could come from. Are there specific behaviors that can be rectified to help you both feel safer after a big fight? For example, perhaps you could both agree that, even when you are angry, you will not yell, curse at one another, or slam doors. Behaviors like these can be damaging to your relationship, even if you are physically smaller or consider yourself unthreatening. If you can both commit to controlling these aggressive urges, then it may help create feelings of harmony, safety, and peace in the relationship, even when you fight. 

Belonging needs

A sense of belonging is usually important to most men, women, and partners, even those who may lack the tools to express this need out loud. When we feel left out of our family, our romantic relationship, or the group to which we most closely identify, our sense of self can be threatened. We may seek that sense of identity from other sources that aren’t always healthy.

It can be helpful to remind yourself and your partner of what you have in common and what priorities you agree on. Try to find opportunities to show them that you are on the same team and that you support them even when they’re angry. Even small actions like a well-timed hug or a surprise snack may demonstrate to your partner that you can be a source of belonging and identity to them.

Self-esteem needs

When we have our basic safety and belonging needs met, when we feel safe and loved, these things tend to lend themselves to healthy self-esteem. When we have a clear sense of self and self-confidence, that can help our relationships flourish as well. Conversely, when our sense of self is threatened, we may lash out at others. This behavior might be because we depend on others to build us up and feel let down when they do not. 

You do not need to accept responsibility for your partner’s entire self-esteem, and there are often certain hurdles with self-image that people can only defeat themselves. But it may be helpful to simply articulate to your partner not to forget that their words and actions significantly affect your self-esteem, and to consider that your words and actions might do the same thing for them. Try asking them what would prefer for you to do to help them nurture and build their self-esteem.

Is your partner angry with you?

Self-actualization/Couple actualization

Self-actualization generally describes the state of being completely comfortable with who we are and the choices we’ve made. Self-actualization usually looks different for everyone, but processing anger in a healthy way is a very common method of working toward actualization in your relationship. In fact, sometimes anger can be a necessary step along the way to reach couple actualization. 

Maslow, who wrote about the hierarchy of needs and their role in self-actualization, believed that if one of the rungs on the hierarchy had been compromised, then the entire course could be derailed. Other psychologists, like Douglas Frame, have argued that resilient individuals can overcome compromised needs from early childhood and teen years and even use them to further their journey toward actualization and transcendence. Individuals and couples may overcome these challenges by recognizing where their needs are lacking and making a conscious decision to rectify those challenges and rewrite their life narratives.

Even relationships that had a rocky start or that have been derailed can have an opportunity for actualization - the Golden Years of a relationship or marriage - if two resilient individuals decide to persevere and rewrite the narrative.

Consider speaking with a relationship therapist

If your relationship with your partner is a healthy one, then it’s likely that love is one of the emotional layers beneath the more obvious anger and it may be natural to patch things up. We tend not to feel angry with someone unless we view them as someone important in our world, and your partner’s frustration may be a sign that the outcome of this relationship is important to them. 

If you worry that you are in a toxic relationship with a partner, or even if you would just like to learn more about maintaining a loving partnership, then consider talking about your feelings with a therapist. You may find a suitable certified therapist with a master’s degree in your local area or online; it’s even possible to complete couples therapy through the Internet. This can make it easy and convenient to get professional guidance from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have an internet connection.

A study carried out on couples engaging in teletherapy showed that 95% of participants found online couples counseling to be “helpful.” Another 2020 study found that most couples who engaged in online couples therapy felt they could form a “working alliance” with their therapist. Many couples even said they were more comfortable revealing honest details about their relationships due to the sessions being online as opposed to in person. These studies reveal that online couples therapy can effectively treat behaviors like anger in a relationship.


The last thing to understand is that anger is one of many normal emotions. However, as a couple, you should ask yourselves if unmet needs could be causing unresolved anger or resentment. Unresolved anger can compromise both our individual health and happiness, and that of our relationship. In fact, the famous couple's psychologist Dr. John Gottman pointed to contempt as the most common cause of divorce. But by making a conscious choice to prioritize love and respect in your relationship, and committing yourselves to changing the narrative, you can overcome feelings of anger and contempt and move onto an actualized, peaceful relationship. Couples therapy can help you reach actualization as a couple while teaching you effective communication and conflict-resolution skills. You may want to speak with a couple’s therapist in person or online.
Build healthy relationship habits with a professional
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started