No doubt you’ve heard the old adage “never go to bed angry.” Whetherapplied to an argument with a lover or a spat with your best friend,this particular (and very popular) bit of folklore advises us to sortout negative feelings before retiring, lest we run the risk ofpermanently damaging our relationships…
But the simple fact is, sometimes disagreements are serious – and resolving anger immediately can be unrealistic. After all, people can make each other really, really mad! And what if you’re fighting just before bedtime?
All joking aside, as much as we’d like love to be easy, it’s often impossible to kiss and make up in an instant. And while you may fear that going to bed angry can lead to a buildup of bad feelings, recent research says it’s quite the opposite. In fact, not only is it okay to take your time working through love’s larger conflicts – it’s healthy. Conversely, there are some things you just have to learn to let go of… otherwise, you’ll be angry all the time! Here’s how to tell the difference.
It’s not uncommon in day-to-day life for our lovers to irritate us. Laundry left on the floor, dishes in the sink, a spouse chatting away through your favorite television show… When these little problems arise we sometimes snap, breaking ground for a whole host of issues to come to the surface. These, however, are the sorts of issues we can – and should – resolve quickly.
Prolonged anger over what amounts to small annoyance is unnecessary, and ill-advised. In fact, it can lead to more serious problems in the long run. When a situation merely requires a quick discussion to be made right (and maybe an apology – individual or mutual), there is no reason you shouldn’t deal with it – as soon as possible!
The catch is, these situations may not always feel so simple. Our egos can get bruised easily, and it’s tempting to turn our backs on each other out of pride or spite (among other things). But if you take a moment (or ten) and calm down, do you get the feeling you’re being silly, or overreacting? Can you see the situation clearly without fuming again? Does the conflict seem kind of trivial or insignificant, now that you’ve walked away – even for a second? There’s a reason we have instincts, and if your gut is telling you to let this one go, to apologize or to ask your lover if they’re ready to put the spat behind you, then that’s exactly what you need to do.
No quick fix
On the other hand, some issues run deep, which is exactly where that gut check comes in. Whether the result of pent up mini-frustrations taking their toll, or more fundamental discord, like infidelity, imbalance, financial stress or emotional disconnection, serious situations require serious analysis. If you’re unable to set aside an issue even after a breather because it doesn’t seem trivial, and you’re not overreacting, then it’s not the time to address the issue. Why? Because regardless of who is responsible for what part of the problem (and undoubtedly you both bear some fault), you’re not going to be able to see it clearly.
Sleep on it
Research has shown that critical analysis cannot happen while we’re mad. Instead, what usually happens during heated arguments is that we fuel each other’s fires. It becomes more and more difficult to see each other’s point of view and little – if any – resolution can be reached. We’re just too upset! It’s not until both partners have calmed down that compromise can be achieved – because only then does reason set in. So if you can’t calm down, then any resolution you come to is simply false. So going to bed angry won’t destroy your relationship – it might just save it!
In the end, the real solution is open communication from day one. Expressing how you feel regularly will help you to keep each other in check. Then, even when you argue, you’ll be able to work through your problems more quickly, which will lead the way way to a better result – helping to ensure fewer angry nights… and more steamy ones!
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