(Closed) Not sure what to do about this

posted 5 years ago in Relationships
Post # 16
Member
928 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

See, I’m like your husband. When Darling Husband and I fight, I get extremely overwhelmed, tense, anxious, angry, and basically go into fight or flight mode–which isn’t conducive to working out problems, because when you get that way you literally become unable to properly use the executive functions of your brain that are needed to resolve the argument. It’s called getting “flooded” or is sometimes referred to as going into reptile brain mode. I have to bail because I can’t take it anymore and because if I stay I know I say things I’ll regret.

All psychologists agree that you CANNOT resolve difficulties when you are feeling like this. You need to calm down and relax so that you can approach the problem able to think clearly and listen to your partner without getting defensive. For me, this takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how hurt or angry I feel. 

I guess my question for you is: how do your fights go AFTER he’s returned? Because if you generally work it out, you might need to just learn how to deal with this. If not, and he continues to ignore problems, then you guys might want to consider counseling. 

Needing to take time to cool off and avoid blowing up at your spouse is NOT abusive. It’s just about making sure you’re at a place mentally and emotionally where you can deal with the situation and truly communicate with your partner.

Having a big fight where terrible things are said but you eventually settle down isn’t healthy if you’re just planting the seeds for future fights by saying a bunch of mean stuff in the heat of the moment. You might feel better immediately afterwards, but as time goes on you may find yourselves thinking about things the other person said and dwelling on them until that turns into ANOTHER fight. 

I know it’s hard, but your partner may not to be doing this to hurt you–in fact, he’s probably doing this to AVOID hurting you and to avoid the hurt feelings he has from the way you’re treating HIM. 

Ask your partner why he does this. That might shed some light on the situation. If he’s getting flooded, try reading some stuff by John Gottman. He does a great job explaining this. Good luck!

Post # 17
Member
1308 posts
Bumble bee

Dealing with conflict in a productive way is a big thing you work on in couples counseling.  I suggest investing in 4-6 sessions with him.  Best $500 I have ever spent.  

Post # 18
Member
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I find this a real concern bc generally successful couples in the long term fight constructively, so this would be a real red flag for me. It is also immature. Sorry but this just doesn’t seem good so you may want to consider whether or not you want to continue this relationship. 

Post # 19
Member
229 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

Soph45:  I am the same way. When my Fiance and I got together I told him I don’t argue and fight. If I am upset at something I will sit on it and think about what upset me, define my feeling as hurt, sad, angry, etc, why it upset me, and if it was done on purpose. Once I have that figured out, I’m ready to talk about it. My Fiance said his natural way was to talk it out right then but I told him I couldn’t do that because I don’t trust myself to not speak out of emotion rather than truth. He respects that and because of this we have never fought or argued in the over 2 years we’ve been together.

Try and talk with him and develop a plan beforehand that gives him the space he needs to cool down without leaving you upset. I’ve never left in a huff or locked a door or anything like that. It might be that we just sit quietly and watch tv or something and discuss it later that evening. Leaving the house could potentially lead to him making a decision he might later regret. Just my opinion 🙂

Post # 20
Member
715 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Soph45:  when you are both calm discuss a compromise for when you argue. If he’s not willing too then he isn’t worth your time. I greatly dislike how fI is when we argue but he has comprised and is working on changing, I also work on changing by letting him have the space he needs and not getting upset over silly things like I used too.

Post # 21
Member
1754 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I was with PPs about how he may just need to calm down and get away for a moment, but the fact that you tried to express your concerns when you were both calm and he SHOOED you and then went into another room and LOCKED the door makes me think he’s immature and kind of an asshole. He is not only deciding when you get to express your feelings in a disagreement (as he walks away and basically says he isn’t listening to you until HE decides), but he’s also dismissing your concerns about him mistreating you. 

I know you don’t want to but I’d cut my losses here. 

Post # 22
Member
44 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2016

This is a typical male response. Both of you should read Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus. Good luck!

Post # 23
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2016 - Trilogy Golf Course at Glen Ivy

Honestly, I’m just like ur SO. I know it drives my fiance crazy, but in time he understood. Your SO just needs time/ space to think, and process everything, and driving really helps. There’s something about driving with the cold wind blowing in my face that help calm my nerves. After my drive I’ll come back with a much more open mind, and won’t regret saying anything in the mist of the disagreement. The best thing you can do is let him go and clear his mind, with an understanding that you’ll discuss the issues once he return. You both need to be on the same page. 

Post # 24
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Soph45:  What does “anytime we disagree” mean? What was your last disagreement about? Is that a polite way of saying “anytime we argue”? 

I don’t respond well to anyone yelling or raising their voice at me. I think it has to do with my (now divorced) parents getting into screaming matches as a child. As a result, I will remove myself from the situation if that ever happens. Luckily my current fiance has learned that if he wants to ‘disagree’ with me, it needs to be in a calm, respectful manner or I will shut down and leave the room. 

The point of my post is, can you change the way you approach him when you are upset? 

Post # 25
Member
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Oh! This is me! I’m a fight-bailer and it drives my Boyfriend or Best Friend crazy. He flares up during arguments and that makes me clam up until I’m 100% sure what I want to say and that I can say it calmly, so my impulse is to walk away from the fight until then. But when I leave, he is very frustrated and hurt.

We talked about this problem in general terms several times, but it didn’t improve. What ended up working was discussing the issue calmly one day setting a concrete, actionable plan for how we’ll handle it when I need space during a fight. 

Our rules: 1) I need to say that I need space to clear my head; 2) When I say that, he’s not allowed to argue, disagree, or try to guilt trip me; 3) I’m not allowed to get in the car and drive anywhere; 4) I can go downstairs and smoke a cigarette alone; 5) When I’m smoking, he is not allowed to communicate with me; 6) After about ten minutes, he can join me and I will tell him honestly whether I’m ready to talk with him yet and, if not, explain calmly when I think I will be able to talk. 

Usually that ten minutes of guaranteed space gives me enough time to start to figure out why we were fighting and what I think. I’m not always ready to talk after that time, but I understand the scope of the problem better and find it easier to figure out how long it will take me to sort the rest of my thoughts out. 

Post # 26
Member
3114 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

I am the kind of person that needs to be alone and think during conflict so I do understand, but it’s important to be respectful. I think you should talk to him about it and ask that if he needs time to think and sort out his feelings that’s okay but that he needs to act respectfilly and be able to work it out with you once he has calmed down.

Post # 27
Member
730 posts
Busy bee

I wouldn’t be worried about it. Problems occur when people get heated and say dumb things. Being able to step back and remove yourself from the situation until you’re calm is a valuable skill. Just make sure you do come back to it – and set a time, say the next day for coffee.

Post # 28
Member
824 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I kind of disagree with what others are saying about that is just how some people deal with conflict, and that it is better to take time to cool off – yes, it is, but it sounds like the way he deals with this is actually kind of cruel.  It’d be one thing if he communicated to you that he needs time, etc., but you even said that he doesn’t do it in a constructive manner.  Shutting down is a major red flag, and doesn’t really bode well over the long term. 

Post # 29
Member
2160 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

My husband and I are both like this. We get really heated up and angry, and then one or other of us walks off and we stay in separate rooms for about an hour until we’ve calmed down, and then we come back and talk it out constructively. This always then leads to a big improvement in whatever was bothering us. However I do think that your husband should let you know that he needs time to cool off and let you know approximately how much time he needs. That’s one thing that my husband and I always do – I will tell him ”I need time to cool off”. If the time I need is more than 1 hour, I will come back to him and tell him how much more time I need. It’s really important that he learns to tell you in a decent kind way that he needs time-out, even if he’s pised. otherwise I don’t think it’s fair to you.

Post # 30
Member
396 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

Have you been together a long time? Because if it’s only been a year or two, sometimes it can take a couple a while to work out a constructive and healthy way to argue. I used to be like this until my SO sat me down one day calmly over dinner and told me how much it hurt when I did this. My problem was that in the house where I grew up, any disagreement was a full-on attack where you had to shut the other person down completely or you lost. Being together almost four years, I now recognize that isn’t the case, and if I want to have a healthy relationship, we can’t see it as one of us winning an argument and one losing. We see it as working toward a better understanding of each other and a smoother running of our household.

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