It seems I have a long line of relationships with guys who love to, want to, NEED to talk out a disagreement. Growing up the oldest of a not-so-functional family, I was a conflict avoider. An internalizer. A professional dodger. But, I’m here to tell you, it’s ok to go to bed angry.
As an adult, I have been known to go room to room of my house locking doors and plugging my ears, “lalalalalalalalalala” just to avoid hearing any further conversation that involves some wrongdoing in my relationship. My partners have been so adamant about “not going to bed angry”, I have actually laid in bed for hours repeating: “please just let me go to bed, please just let me go to bed, please just let me go to bed”.
My whole philosophy on this sounded pretty rational. Because, honestly, sometimes I could be irrational. Sometimes I would get upset and blow up over nothing. Sometimes what really seemed like a big deal in the moment, didn’t seem so big hours later.
And guess what, it turns out going to bed to see how you feel in the morning is quite often the best solution. You hear that talkers? It’s ok to go to bed angry! You need to calm down to have a productive argument.
“When in conflict, the body often goes into fight-or-flight mode. ‘Fight’ usually results in an elevated heart rate, an increase in stress hormones and an inability to think rationally. You cannot have a meaningful conversation, much less attempt problem solving, when your body is in this state. If you recognize it, you need to find a way to self-soothe. Some people go for a walk, some take a shower, some meditate and some sleep. If your anger has gotten the best of you, sleep may in fact be your best strategy for repair, especially if it’s late.” ― Zach Brittle, therapist and founder of the online couples therapy series forBetter
It’s ok to put a pin in it and rest in knowing you are both on the same team and you are fighting for the best interest of the relationship and each other. Your problem will still be there in the morning, no matter how big or small.
BUT, you knew there’d be a big but, right? You have to actually continue the conversation. And that ladies and gentlemen, is where I fell woefully short. I rationalized with myself that the issues surrounding the argument were in fact, no big deal. But the subconscious part of my brain didn’t see it that way.
So I did what so many of us do. I let years of resentment build until one day I woke up not liking the person next to me anymore. That’s a big no-no. So you must not take the same track. Awareness is key and only you know that little tug at your heartstring. Is it really no big deal? Or are you just embarrassed to make something so small seem like a big deal.
No matter what it is, it is crucial to have the discussion. Get on the same page. When it’s all said and done, you may not get the apology you are looking for. And that’s ok. You can still move on. Arguments aren’t always about who’s right and who’s wrong. We all have different perspectives. One of the most important things you can do is be empathetic and try to put yourself in the other’s shoes. Even if they are not able to do the same. So go on folks, it’s ok to go to bed angry.