The couch, that is!

All right, we’ve all heard the old saying “never go to bed angry.” It’s right up there with “owning your feelings” and being an “active listener.” But is it really possible to abide by that old adage when you’re underslept, overstressed, and fed up with your partner’s bad habits? My answer is yes, but it’s not always easy.

Some arguments, like whose turn it is to cook dinner, can be resolved in a night. Others need an Intermission – and an Act II, III, or IV! But the Intermission doesn’t have to feature one of you getting banished from the bedroom. That’s not really productive or fun for either of you. Besides, when you go to bed mad, you wake up angry too, and who wants to start their day like that?

In the long run, going to bed angry can create distance and allow resentment to build up. And that’s when the serious arguments start! So let’s back up and figure out how to avoid those kind of kamikaze relationship tactics!

Listen. First of all, when you’re angry with someone, listening becomes, shall we say, more of a challenge. But it takes two to tangle, and if you’re both mad, chances are you’re too busy feeling like a victim to really listen. Take a deep breath and listen to your partner’s side of the story. We all hate to admit it, but he likely has a point. And of course, so do you.

Communicate. Don’t say “I’m fine,” (I do this all the time) then lay awake seething while he snores. Uh-uh. That will make you explode down the road. When something bothers you, speak up. I know, I know, that means actually confronting a problem when it happens – it’s second only to apologizing in the “this totally sucks” category. You can do it.

Apologize. It’s the hardest thing to do, but there are times when a heartfelt apology diffuses a situation like nothing else can. Plus, it opens the door for him to say he’s sorry too. If you’ve messed up, own it girl. You’ll feel better about yourself afterward, even if the apology itself is as painful as getting a root canal and a bikini wax at the same time.

Think happy thoughts. It might sound impossible in the heat of the moment, but you fell in love with this person right? Surely he has some redeeming qualities? Seriously, when you’re upset with someone, think about an unforgettable moment you shared, or a wonderful quality he has. It also helps to think of ways in which he’s vulnerable. Not so you can plot your revenge, Cruella! Rather, remembering his emotional needs reminds you of why he needs you. Awww…

Last but not least – say “I love you” regularly, but especially after an argument. Those three small words are super important to tell your partner. Remember how you feel when he says them to you? Now kiss and make up! And….other stuff ; )

One more thing! None of the above applies to abusive relationships. No matter how you choose to navigate the sea of love, learning to distinguish between mistakes you can live with (or at least work with), and behavior patterns that are actually harmful to you, is key.

How do you deal with disagreements in your relationship? Are you usually able to resolve problems with a heart-to-heart, or do you sometimes “go to bed angry?”

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