*Edit: After a very astute observation from TheOwl30, I’ve added a bit to this post. Thanks for the feedback!*
I know what you’re thinking. You should never go to bed angry! That’s, like, Relationships 101!
It’s true that “Never go to bed angry” is a pretty popular piece of relationship advice, but I’ve got to say that it’s not always a great idea. I mean, can anyone who has spent time in a relationship really say that they’ve never gone to bed angry? I know that I have.
I’ve noticed that when I’m tired, all of my emotions become enhanced. If I’m happy, I’ll get giggly. If I’m sad, I’ll cry. If I’m upset or frustrated, the world is officially ending and everything is just the worst and it’s never going to get better.
I love my husband. I would never wish ill on him and would happily take any illness from him. That said, when he’s snoring and I can’t sleep, I often think about just physically kicking him out of the bed. The next morning I feel terrible about my thoughts and tell him how much I love him to try to make up for it even though he has no clue that I was thinking those thoughts.
All of that said, sometimes it’s better to just go to bed if you’re in an argument or fight. Staying up to “work it out” rarely works, and if anything it just makes everything worse. As you both go further and further into the argument and get more and more tired, you get more and more irritable which leads to saying things you wouldn’t otherwise say. This then escalates the fight and makes it last even longer.
Instead, just put the discussion on hold and sleep on it. If it’s that big of a deal, you’ll have plenty of time to discuss it the next day.
In my opinion, once tempers start to rise you should always take a break and walk away for a moment. It’s much easier to come to a mutual understanding if both parties can remain calm and empathetic. That’s pretty much impossible if both parties are fuming with anger.
Of course, if you can resolve the issue and go to bed happy, then great! That will always be better than going to bed angry. But if you’re staying up just to fight with each other and you know that the discussion is getting nowhere, just go to bed.
What About The Next Morning?
Once you wake up the next day, the problem hasn’t been resolved, right? So, how do you go about solving it?
First, I would say that it all goes back to empathy. While you’re laying there taking a break from the fight, consider your partner’s point of view and why their idea or opinion means so much to them. Then try to empathize with them and understand them better.
If you wake up still angry, don’t bring it up right away. Wait until the right moment and when you do bring it up, do so in a calm and collected manner. Think about their side and their point of view and go from that angle. Let them know that you understand why the issue is so important to them and then explain why it’s important to you, too.
The bottom line here, and in all areas of a relationship, is that if you’re not on the same page you won’t be able to solve any issues that come up, whether they come up at night or first thing in the morning. Fighting all night won’t help either way. Sometimes one partner wants to resolve an issue when the other just wants to fight or get their frustrations out – even if the frustrations aren’t related to their partner. That is another issue entirely.
In order for your relationship to work well, you’ve got to work as a team. That means that you each have the same goals for where the relationship should be. Of course you’re not going to agree on everything, but if you both want what’s best for each other and your relationship, you’ve got to learn to compromise.