hello bees… another regular poster who decided to go anon for some advice.
i absolutely love my FI and can not imagine my life without him. however, since we have gotten engaged, the way we fight has changed and i really hate it. i have always been the kind of person who just “has to get away” from an argument. i usually go into another room and close the door, or just take my keys and drive away. i leave for maybe an hour or so, come back with a clearer state of mind and apologize and we discuss the topic at hand. however, the last few times that we have argued, he has just stopped letting me leave…. and he does so by blocking the door or holding onto my arm or something. which makes me struggle more and it turns into a wrestling match of sorts. he has never hurt me or anything, but it does make me feel really frantic.
i know that i’m a big part of this. i think he only started “stopping me” because he was so frustrated and he likes to talk things through at the time of the argument. but i just NEED to get away for a bit.
bees, what should i do? i need advice on how to not let our arguments get like this. i really really do not want to leave, so i’d prefer that advice didn’t include that. i dated so much before i found him, and i really do believe that he is “the one.” he is such a sweet and really timid guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, and he is as frustrated by this as i am.
@anonbee2214: Have you tried discussing this when you’re not in an argument? Explain to him how you don’t want to do/say anything you’ll regret, and that leaving is the best way for you to get a level head. Ask him what changed… why is he stopping you from leaving these days?
I don’t think this is something worth breaking up over. I think all couples have their disagreements. It’s good that you’re talking about how they need to be handled.
I dunno, that’s pretty creepy… My fiance also needs to leave the scene during a fight, and it’s taken me a while to realize that this is *necessary* and not just him doing the in-person equivalent of hanging up on me. It took some good communication when we weren’t fighting for me to realize that.
Have you told him, when you weren’t fighting, that this is something you need to do? I would hope that he just doesn’t realize how important it is. If he does know and still physically blocks you, that’s definitely worse :/
thanks to both of you for the advice… i have talked to him about it a couple times, but it is usually right after the fight. so since we just had another fight monday night that i’m still dwelling over, i’ll wait to bring it up for a couple of days. i wonder if it’s because we are living together now… i think that’s the only thing that has changed, and i wonder if it has affected him some way that he doesn’t really even know. either way, i’m going to try to explain how i feel when i need to get away for a bit better. he said yesterday that it DOES equal me hanging up on the phone to him (like you mentioned lolot), so i think i need to work on helping him understand that i just need to clear my head.
I agree with PPs… let him know when things are calm and good, that sometimes you need a ‘cool down’ moment. Maybe agree to compromise a little bit, like you won’t leave the house but you do need a little while alone in another room to calm down, gather your thoughts, and prepare to discuss things rationally.
I can see where it would be upsetting to me personally if my DH stormed out of the house angry and drove off, mostly because driving when too emotional can be dangerous. What if it’s dark and rainy, and he’s too upset to drive safely? If he were to be in an accident while we were fighting, would I want that to be the last time I ever see him? <—I’m a bit of a worrywart, and in my mind I see the worst case scenario, so maybe it’s possible your FI has the same worries?
Have a rational, calm, adult discussion with him where you can BOTH express your concerns and needs, and see if there’s a middle ground that can be reached.
What you are both doing is exacerbating the problem. You leave, he gets handsy in trying to make you stay. It’s bound to send you both into a tailspin. You’re both doing yourselves a disservice and heightening an already emotional state.
I understand the need to cool off but it’s wrong for you to leave the house or take a drive. I would talk about this in depth when you are not arguing and come up with a solution that works for you both. Express that you need to cool off, that you’re not making an attempt to “run away” from the argument. Ask if it’s ok instead to leave the room OR simply stop discussing the matter at hand for a maximum of 15 minutes (or 30 mins or an hour, whatever you think you need) so BOTH have the opportunity to cool off, then readdress and DISCUSS the issue, rather than continue to fight.
I am the same way and FI does the same thing (verbally though). I had to explain to him that I tend to get very emotional during arguments and say things I really do not mean, so I have developed the strategy of walking away for a little while to clear my head and get my emotions under control – whether it takes 10 minutes, a few hours, or even a day or two. Now that I have explained this to him he is much better about it. Sometimes I have had to say “Honey, I am NOT ignoring this, but I really have to remove myself for a bit so I don’t say something really stupid that I will regret later.” If he still presses me, I say “OK, but please be aware that you MAY not like what I have to say at all!” OR I remind him that I am an adult and I can and WILL walk away for a bit if I want to!
@DaneLady: hmm i can definitely see your side in terms of being worried about safety. i guess that since my FI has never done this, i really can’t see his side very well. i’m sure that i would be really worried as well.
@JemmaWRX: “What you are both doing is exacerbating the problem. You leave, he gets handsy in trying to make you stay. It’s bound to send you both into a tailspin. You’re both doing yourselves a disservice and heightening an already emotional state.” i think that’s a really good point and something i’m going to remind myself of. i definitely think we need to have a calm conversation about this, probably many times. but more than anything, i think i need to change how i react to an argument. i can change myself better than i could ever change him, so i am going to work on saying something like “i’m going to go into the other room for a bit to clear my head, and then we will talk this through” so he doesn’t think i’m just “running away.”
@trueblue14: ahh it’s nice to hear from someone who reacts the same way as me lol. i think i’m going to steal what you say about not ignoring it, but not wanting to say something that i’ll regret later.
I’m like this. I get to a point where I feel overwhelmed and I just need a break. We’ve recently gone through a very rough patch in our relationship. I always try to take breaks and he hates them. However, through therapy and reading different relationship books, this is actually ok to do, as long as you come back in a set time to finish the conversation. We’ve set up rules for when a “time out” needs to be taken and we are still working on trying to stick to them. But definitely talk to him about it and set some ground rules.
@anonbee2214: My ex had this habit of going away or hanging up in the middle of an argument because he wasn’t ‘ready’ to talk. It was one of the things that ultimately acted as a catalyst for our break up.
I’m a person who needs to clear the air instantly, followed by patch up and a kiss. The charged emotions during the argument and in the patch up afterwards always helped me bond with him more strongly. The thing is, the more he started leaving me hanging in the air the more time I had to rationally think things through. And I got more and more time to emotionally distance myself from the argument, AND FROM HIM. So if he would pick up the issue after a few hours or a few days, I would brush it off (because I have already decided that there’s no use talking to him). Your tactics work fine with someone who likes to prolong arguments. From what I read, your FI is more about ending them quickly so the two of you can revert back to your usual loving selves – and you’ve already pushed him too far. I would ask you to be really, really careful about walking away in the future. You could well end up pushing him completely away from you. Today he is restraining you, tomorrow he’ll let you walk away, take a calming breath and sit down to finish the crossword puzzle.
ETA: My solution? If you feel overwhelmed, take a break from the argument. Try to compose your thoughts. Ask him to give you a hug. I’m sure he will understand. But at all times be PHYSICALLY PRESENT before him. This is really important. If you feel he’s attacking you (verbally) tell him, ask him to talk more rationally, warn him that you are approaching the limit of your endurance, ask him to back off a little. But always leave the lines of communication open. Always.
@anonbee2214: I think I met my match. I used to be the one that gets the last say and walks away/drives away/storms away from a fight. Little did I know I was going to end up with a man who does this EVERY time we fight. I got a taste of my own medicine, and boy does it drive me up the wall.
I will tell you this though. I had to learn the hard way that if he physically stays in the room during a heated argument and he’s already wayyy past his threshold, he’ll start spewing nasty and/or obnoxious comments that are purely out of anger. I know these words are out of anger, but they still really piss me off and aggravate the situation. So in a way, I should be glad he leaves the room after a certain point. I’m SEETHING when he just abruptly walks away, but deep down I know it’s probably for the better.
Here’s advice from the other end (the person who gets walked away from).. Try saying, “I know we have things to sort out and I want to talk about it later.. I really do.. but not until we both cool off” then go to another room and chill out for a couple of hours. It’s really amazing what time can do.. both parties can think about the points they really want to say and clarify any miscommunications when they come together again.
ARGH, if only my man knew to say this instead of just storming off without a word. Crushes my soul. If he even just said “I love you.. we’ll talk about this later”.. or just gave me a hug (like Aquababes mentioned) before he would leave the room, things would be a million times better.
@romantical: You see the thing about saying a line like “We will talk about this when we cool off” gives the impression (at least to me) that the other person is trying to control the argument at his own sweet time. If I am deeply hurt/angry about an issue and need to clear the air but the other person runs away like a scaredy custard, I feel invalidated and 100x angrier. If they stay and try to work through the issue, I can also recognize the need to be more calm and rational and then I make an effort to talk more gently for the sake of the other person. But I think it is a big mistake to run away from a pissed off partner.
@anonbee2214: I used to do the same leaving thing and while FI has never physically tried to stop me, I finally figured out how much it frustrated him.
I think if you told him you were concerned about him trying to stop you it would hurt his feelings (maybe they deserve to be hurt *shrug*) but he might feel like he’s attacking you more than he actually is.
Have you tried NOT leaving and finishing the conversation? What is it that makes you leave? Maybe you need to discuss that as well.
FWIW, After we got engaged and bought a house we went through a rough patch of fighting too, it’s a change you both have to adjust to.
thank you all so much for your responses and advice. i feel so much better knowing that there are things that i can work on to try to make this better instead of putting the pressure on him to change. i have talked to him once before, and it did help for a bit and then we reverted back into our old habits so i think we just need to keep reminding ourselves and “learn how to fight” in a better way.
@Aquababes: your post really struck a chord with me. i definitely don’t want to push him away, and on one hand i am really glad he cares enough to try to stop me from leaving. i just wish it wasn’t so physical, but i guess everyone has their limits. i am really going to try to not have to physically escape and be present. i see what you mean about how even saying that you want to talk about it later can feel like you’re trying to control the situation when the other person just wants it resolved.
@romantical: ahhh i’m so sure that if my FI had to “leave” to clear his head it would drive me crazy too! i feel like such a hypocrite. but i really am afraid of what i’ll say if we talk things through right then. i just need to go, listen to some music and relax, and then come back and talk it through.
@mchitt329: in a lot of situations, i have NOT left, and the argument doesn’t escalate as much. i think it just depends on how high emotions are running at the time. it also seems like it’s usually late at night when we are both tired and worn out, so i think we really just need to work on leaving things til the morning when we get into a sticky subject right before bed.
@anonbee2214: I am positive that the two of you will find your rhythm and work your way through this problem. All the best!