Sleeping angry might save you in the long run
Common relationship advice tells couples to never go to bed angry. This concept has great value. It addresses the idea of how couples may feel after going to bed angry, such as feeling emotionally disconnected and unattached, or fear of having unresolved issues getting in the way.
This advice is absolutely a great tool for staying connected and securely attached to your partner. Think about it … going to bed angry can create a terrible feeling; it can keep people up all night, cause troubled sleep, or other painful experiences. For many couples, not going to bed angry as a general rule is perfect for their relationship.
Obviously, as a therapist I truly believe in resolving any and all conflicts before leaving or going to sleep, but I admit — this doesn’t work for everyone.
Couples faced with relationship conflict often attempt to resolve the issue to the best that they can. This can mean resolving the issue through continuous fighting and arguing, which might result in a more damaged relationship. Damaging a relationship is far more dangerous than going to bed angry.
The bigger issue for those who keep trying to resolve an issue is that the argument could keep escalating and getting worse, turning a relatively small issue into a big disaster. In these cases, going to bed without the issue resolved might actually protect the relationship. Many people don’t see it this way, nor does going to bed angry feel like a good decision to the person on the receiving end of a partner who wants to stop talking about an issue. This person might feel as if their partner doesn’t care, or as if they have given up on the relationship.
If you have seen your relationship escalate in times of disagreement, then maybe taking a break, falling asleep, and addressing the issue when you are less emotionally reactive might actually benefit your relationship. Remember, sometimes going to bed angry really isn’t that bad. Taking a time out can have a positive impact on your relationship in the long run.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653