Fights with your spouse or partner can be the worst.
They’re tiring, emotionally draining and after it goes on for a while, you can’t even remember how it started. At some point (hopefully) someone gives in, or you get tired out and agree that you need some time to reset. That’s a good thing.
Forcing yourself towards working it out is irritating and even more tiring. But HOW you reset is critical and determines how well you will recover.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Averting communication creates tension
Decide and agree on the methods to communicate during the reset time. The silent treatment helps no one. Withholding communication can create more tension and fuel anger.
Instead, you should decide on alternate methods if things are too vulnerable to verbal communication.
2. Set a reasonable time limit
It’s usually not healthy to “reset” for days without discussion and agreement.
Some conflicts are serious and might require more time but in general, the reset time is a matter of minutes if not hours.
3. Do not disappear
Leaving the dynamic of the relationship with no notice is equivalent to walking out on your partner and the relationship.
If you need some air, go for it – but communicate about it before you go. This includes an estimation of when you will return.
It’s likely the last thing you want to do after an argument, but it can decrease anxiety, worry, and frustration as well as the potential negative consequences of impulsive behaviors later.
There are timeouts in sports for a reason.
Kids are given timeouts to get an understanding of a situation and how their behavior is not appropriate for the desired outcome.
Take a time out in your relationship if you need to.
Work with your partner to develop a system for how you will reset and hold up your end of the bargain. If you need help figuring out what your system is, or if you need some new communication tools, see a couples therapist for help.
With practice, over time, the blow-ups should be less or less intense.