We all have done it. We get so wrapped up in a fierce and heated argument that the only way out is to ignore them. Block them out. Give them the deadly silent treatment!
Though it feels good at the time and gives you the perspective that you are now in total control, this behavior is not only dangerous and totally unproductive, it is also considered to be a silent killer of your marriage.
The fire and anger builds inside of you
While you are off to the side totally ignoring your partner, the fire and anger builds inside of you as you repeat in your mind just how awful and unfair your partner is. The steam is building but cannot be released because you are in silent mode. And while you are doing that, your partner is still trying to talk to you but getting absolutely no response back. They are steaming! Negative thoughts about each other along with catastrophizing the situation is now even more damaging than what the original fight was all about.
There just has to be a better way to take the needed break from the fiery battle without killing your marriage. Well, there is a better way. It’s something we use with kids and if it’s done right with them, it works. So, the same can be said with adults. Adult Time-Outs. When you are feeling that the conversation is going nowhere, and things are getting heated, your heart is pounding, your teeth are showing, it’s time for a time-out. Tell your partner that you need to time yourself out, giving a specified time, say twenty minutes. During those twenty minutes, do something that relaxes you. Listening to music, walking the dog, running on the treadmill or anything else that you know calms you down. Very important that you do return within that specified time. Upon returning, ask your partner if it’s okay to continue the conversation. If it is, then continue by taking responsibility of your part of the argument. If you begin by holding yourself accountable, the rest of the conversation will go so much easier.
Adult time-outs is the antidote to the destructive behavior of walking away and ignoring your partner during an argument.