Never Go to Bed Angry - Myth or Solid Advice?
We all heard this advice - "Never go to bed angry"
Well, last night, Rick and I got into a big disagreement. It was getting late. Things were getting worse.
I was the one who said "We are going to sleep. We can't talk about it right now, we will talk tomorrow". I was the one who was triggered, emotional, tired and knowing myself. I knew if we talked, it's going to be a disaster.
I knew I won't be able to stay present
So here I was, laying in bed, breathing deeply and calming my nervous system down and thinking about this advice.
Some people swear by it, some people are gonna say it's a myth', and some will say it's total bullshit.
It's not that simple.
When they say "NEVER go to bed angry" - first of all that create unreasonable expectations. Never! You are guaranteed to have some late night disappointment that you can't resolve because you are exhausted, let alone the type of disagreements where you are not going to be able to agree on, or even compromise. Talking more about it just doesn't help.
On the other hand, laying in bed thinking about everything that's wrong with your partner and your relationship and then falling asleep like that - it's also not super good for your marriage. Instead of getting over it quickly, we are now committing it into our long term memory.
The advice really need to say - it's ok if you don't resolve your argument completely, but don't go to bed angry.
Meaning - agree to disagree and call a truce. Say something like "we are getting really stuck here, and no one is feeling heard. I don't want to fight. I love you. Let's go to sleep now and let's talk again when we are ready. I promise to you, I want to hear you. I know we'll figure it out". Something like that - there's commitment and reassurance, there's gentleness, there's truth in acknowledging the situation.
and then it's time for self care and self soothing. Time to remember that what you think, feel and need is valid, as much as what your partner thinks, feels and needs. Time to remind yourself of what's good in your relationship, and how you resolved issues in the past. you reassure yourself that you'll do it again.
You remind yourself that you are on the same team, and even if right now you can't see eye to eye, your relationship is stronger than this argument and you will figure it out. Maybe you can even remind your partner about it.
If it's not too late, go for a run, a walk with the dog, take a bath, watch a silly Netflix show, read a book, get your mind/body distracted and tired. Meditate IF you can. Some people actually can. In a situation like that, I probably can't. Listed to a guided meditation or yoga nidra; guided breathing practice.
Then go to sleep.
In the morning, if you are ready - talk. Maybe use Aftermath of a Fight process, one of my favourite tools from Dr. Gottman. (https://www.gottman.com/blog/how-we-used-the-aftermath-of-a-fight-to-repair-our-relationship/)
If there's not time, you have to go to work, or you are just not ready, check in with your partner. Don't pretend everything is ok now. Acknowledge the pain. "Last night really messed me up. I'm still hurting, how are you doing? I'm guessing you are hurting too. I'm not quite ready to talk, but please, let's find time later today/tomorrow/whatever works best for you, and let's sit down and talk. I love you, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm on your side. We are going to tackle this together, and yes, we are hurt and frustrated and angry, but we are ok. We'll be ok".
What do you think? Do you think this can work in your relationship?
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