Long ago, someone made a rule that couples should “never go to bed angry.” While that may work for some situations, most deep discussions cannot be neatly packaged into an evening. Many couples need that night of sleep to collect their thoughts, process their emotions, and come into the discussion with fresh eyes. Read on to learn why it’s OK to go to bed angry.
Sleep Deprivation Makes Arguments Worse
When you’re tired, you’re irritable. You can’t think clearly because your body is demanding sleep. This is why arguments quickly escalate before bed. Neither party is fully prepared to ‘complete’ the discussion.
If you continue to argue well past your bedtime, all you’re doing is making matters worse. This will also impact your mental health in the morning because good sleep is crucial to good mental health.
Put a pause on the discussion and focus on resting for the night. Your mind may be running full speed, but you can still benefit from rest. Get as much sleep as you can for the evening, and then re-open the discussion the next day.
Sleeping Gives You Both Time to Process Thoughts and Emotions
When you sleep, your brain’s primary job is to heal your mind and body. It doesn’t have to worry about blinking, chewing or moving in any way. It can focus on filing away information.
This is beneficial for couples because it allows each person to collect their thoughts. You may wake up to discover that you misinterpreted one part of the conversation, or maybe the anger you were feeling was masking deep pain. A good night of sleep will give you a clear perspective, which may lead to a clear resolution.
Be Careful When Venting to Other People
Your conversation may feel open-ended for a while if you’re not able to restart the discussion right away. This will leave you feeling like you have to talk to someone, since you can’t talk to your partner. There is nothing wrong with venting, but be strategic about who you vent to. Reaching out to an ex to talk about your current partner is only going to lead to more problems.
Also keep in mind that people will hold on to what may be a fleeting emotion for you. You share a story in the heat of the moment, and they from an entire opinion based on that. If you forgive, forget, make up, etc., those harsh thoughts are still going to live in the other person’s mind. Select a listener you can look to for the good and the bad.
Re-Open the Discussion with an Open Mind
When it’s time to start the discussion again, be open minded. Listen to your partner’s side, even if you refuted it the night before. Take turns speaking, listening, and actively responding to what the other person has to say. Don’t talk over one another, and don’t bypass what your partner is saying to get to ‘your point.’ This will put you back on a downward spiral.
Focus on Solutions, Not Problems
It’s easy to point out what’s going wrong. It’s not as easy to find a solution for that problem. This is the only way to end an argument. Determine what the root of the issue is, and then find a way to resolve it.
Feel like there is an imbalance of responsibilities? Identify ways each of you can contribute. Struggling to connect with your partner? Plan a date night with no phones or distractions. Most big disagreements break down into small, manageable tasks. You just have to work together to break them down.
Work with Your Therapist to Resolve Ongoing Conflicts
If you’re having trouble resolving conflicts as a couple, you may benefit from an outsider’s perspective. Couples therapy is designed to improve your communication skills, reduce conflicts, and find targeted solutions for your specific challenges. Your therapist can guide you through this discussion so you can find closure and move forward.