You know how they say, never go to bed angry with your partner? Well, this advice is meant well, but it's not always true. Sometimes it's better just to get a good night's sleep and approach the issue again with fresh eyes the next day! Let me explain "Why It's Ok to Go to Bed Angry with your Partner!
The advice "Never go to bed angry" seems to be based on this idea that an argument should be limited to that day. If you two are healthy communicators, you should be able to sleep in the same bed at the end of the disagreement, right?
That would be nice, but that's actually NOT what healthy communication and conflict resolution look like, necessarily.
"Don't go to bed angry" implies that if you are still upset, you guys should suck it up because you've spent long enough arguing already, and now it's time to end the day and the argument! Plus, if you two truly love each other, you should always be able to wrap up the day in a nice happy bow, right?
To do otherwise can feel like a failure, especially if it's the FIRST time that you two are going to "go to bed angry with your partner". But in reality, it's a lot more pragmatic, sane, and respectful of each other to go to bed angry, in some cases!
Well, because it's BEDTIME!
The fact is, you guys are probably tired, and maybe that's what even caused the argument in the first place. If not, it's at least making the argument worse as you drag it out into the late hours of the night and get tireder and tireder. You'll say things you wouldn't ordinarily say, all because you guys were too proud to throw in the towel and get some shut-eye!
In fact, an attempt to not go to bed angry, and to resolve the argument first, often still ends up meaning you'll go to bed angry with your partner, just two hours later!!
You may think that the longer an argument goes, the more likely it is to be resolved, but like I said, tiredness and irritability…or just having a long day…exacerbate the argument and may make it impossible to resolve.
That's another thing you have to think about. "Maybe this argument is just impossible for the two of us to resolve tonight." They always tell you in the relationship and self-help books, "Together, you two can do anything!" but is it practical to make "don't go to bed angry" the hill to die on?
According to Kari Caroll, couples therapist, no. And not just because both of you are tired and need a good night's sleep before revisiting the argument. But she also says that anger is best dealt with by the self. It's an important emotion and tells you information you need to know in order to change something. That is supposed to be the point of anger:
"Anger provides useful information to us and is a signal that something needs to change. Specifically, you want to do this in a constructive way (journaling, reflecting, physical activity, sleep) and not destructively (lengthy discussions, yelling, violence)," she says.
It's not that you should only do these healthy activities and then NOT open up to your partner about how you're feeling, but she says that when it comes to the actual anger component of it, you should deal with that healthily on your own. And then when your anger has dissolved, then come back to your partner. After a good journaling, or a good night's sleep!!
Have you and your partner already realized that it's okay to go to bed angry with your partner? Do you have any funny stories (well, funny NOW 😉 ), of you two staying up until 3 a.m. because "going to bed angry" just didn't seem right? Tell me all about it in the comments!