It’s 11pm, a weeknight, my 5am wake-up alarm dutifully set, but I can’t sleep.
And now I can’t sleep. I keep replaying our fight and all of the things I should have said and all of the dumb things the man I married did say. I play the “what if?” game. “What if I say it to him this way or this way? I bet he’d understand then…”
I huff, cover my head with a pillow, and try to focus on my breath.
Telling couples “not to go bed angry” isn’t the best advice because it ignores several important things.
Watch: The Mamamia team confess our relationship deal-breakers. Post continues after video.
Anger isn’t bad.
Anger is a response, not a stimulus. Anger can be a sign to us that there’s something that needs to be addressed in our relationship. We may need to assess our boundaries, values, needs, and expectations after we’ve become angry.
Getting “over” anger isn’t healthy if there’s something we legitimately need to confront. We will just keep getting mad, lugging it over and over again into our future if we don’t deal with it.
Some problems can’t always be fixed in a short time frame.
Sometimes we can’t even really articulate why we’re mad at first. We may need time to figure that out.
Placing “bedtime” as the deadline ignores how time-consuming it may be to figure out the reason behind our anger. It could be because we need to set or maintain a boundary. Or maybe we were actually feeling sad, vulnerable, uncomfortable, or scared, and because we didn’t want to feel those things, we went to anger. As long as we aren’t wallowing, there should never be a “deadline” on feeling a feeling.