If you have been holding in a big complaint for a long time and finally have found the courage to tell you partner, go for it. Let’r rip. Otherwise, maybe you ought to be a little bit suspicious of your own outrage.
If you have a well-articulated, well-practiced sense of outrage., if expressing it sounds like you are making a speech, if your outrage increases as you go along, if – secretly – you are enjoying yourself as you lay into your partner, then quite possibly you have entered the zone of self-righteousness and probably ought not to be there.
Behind most relationship complaints lies a situation for which each partner has at least partial responsibility. The more righteously indignant you get about your partner’s behavior, the less you are able to see your part. If you can’t see your part or see it only partially and poorly, you then you will be at a loss to help prevent a reoccurrence.
If you think that it is all your partner’s fault and it isn’t, then the responsibility for preventing a reoccurrence falls entirely to your partner. And if your partner knows that it isn’t all him or her, your partner’s motivation to stop whatever is going on – without your cooperation – won’t be very great.
Then round and round you go.
On the other hand, if you climb off your high horse and get clear about your responsibility before you nail your partner for his (or hers), you are going to succeed much better.
What you say to your partner might go something like this, "I know that I am partly responsible for what happened last night – and I am willing to have you say what you think my responsibility is. At the same time, really I am furious at you for what you said to me in front of our friends. I want you to own up to hurting me. Will you do that – as well as complain to me about my part?"