Why Taking Space Isn’t the Only Option For Cooling Off During a Fight

Many couples think that the best way to get through a conflict is to take space from each other to cool off. Unfortunately, taking space isn’t always an option. There are times when you need to make a quick decision, you’re stuck in the car together, or you are at an event where you can’t take space and staying connected is preferable.

The couples in my practice don’t often realize that the words they use with each other are magical. Just as words can aggravate and disconnect you from your partner, they can also calm an angry partner and help them feel connected to you again.

Do you know the magic words you can say to your partner that will calm them down and help them feel connected to you? Many people don’t know the words that they can say that will help their partner feel connected to them again, but those magic words are definitely worth figuring out with each other.

The words that can help us connect again don’t have to be complicated or long. Something simple like, “I don’t want to feel this way with you, I want to feel connected,” will often work or, “I want you to know how much I love you and care about you. Simply stating, “I want us to feel connected while we talk about this,” can go a long way in moving you back to love.

Speaking to what you want and how you want to be with your partner can often help you feel like you’re on the same team again. Try this exercise to help you translate your disconnection into what you want: love, connection, and

Exercise:

  1. Take a moment and think about the way you want to feel with your partner. Is it joyful? Or maybe sweet and loving?
  2. Ask yourself: how do you want to act toward your partner?
  3. Imagine getting into an argument with your partner. Then imagine that you turn toward your partner and say, “I don’t want to be this way with you, I want to be _______. What would it take for us to get back on track again?”

Alternatively:

  1. Find a time to sit down with your partner and talk.
  2. Ask your partner what they would like to hear that would help them defuse an argument.
  3. See if you can come up with a code word that means you are waiving a white flag of truce. From there discuss what you might be able to say that would help you connect with each other again.

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