Most people, when they are upset, are not able to clearly communicate what they need. When you put the problem-solving anxiety together with an inability to communicate needs, you have a recipe for disappointment, misattunement, and frustration.
Knowing that it is difficult to work on these things in the moment, it makes sense to sit down and talk about it at a time when both partners are not in distress.
Try not to problem-solve
In other words, problem-solving can make the person on the receiving end feel like they are being told to stop feeling what they are feeling. When someone is sad or upset, it helps to feel like it is okay to feel what they are feeling. This takes a layer of pressure off.
Ask, don't assume
Listening can be the best medicine
How to best support your partner when they are upset
Finally, we all need positive reinforcement. When your partner does a good job, let him know that you appreciate it.
If you haven’t already read the book, it’s a great place to start - Relationship Reboot: Break free from the bad habits in your relationship.
David B. Younger, Ph.D. is the creator of Love After Kids, for couples that have grown apart since having children. He is a clinical psychologist and couples therapist with a web-based private practice and lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, 13-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old toy poodle.