Storming Out of Fights: Here’s Why You Need to Stop

Communicaiton Toolkit for Couples ebook 2Sometimes an argument with your partner can get heated, or maybe you feel like you’re having the same fight for the 5th time this week. It can be tempting to storm out of the room and slam the door behind you because you just don’t want to deal with it. Sometimes cooling off can be helpful, but exiting a fight as a statement is not a good way to do it. When you suddenly leave, you are sending all sorts of messages to your partner that you may not even realize, and that is pretty hurtful. Here is why you might be damaging your relationship if you’re someone who storms out when the going gets tough.

Stonewalling Escalates the Argument

Stonewalling is when one partner is making an effort to work through an issue but the other person shuts down. By leaving during an argument, you are putting up a figurative wall between you and your partner. Your partner will keep trying harder and harder to get through to you. Maybe they will follow you out of the room. Maybe they will call you 20 times in a row if you leave the home. This will escalate emotions on your partner’s side, and their behavior can in turn make you more fired up. You are actually feeding into the conflict and keeping the relationship in disconnect. Even if you are just trying to help.

Your Partner Is Abandoned

Leaving your partner before you have come to any resolution or even finished the conversation can make your partner feel very abandoned. If abandonment is one of your partner’s emotional triggers, this might cause big damage to creating a secure attachment. A sudden departure from the argument teaches your partner that you can’t necessarily be relied on to work through issues together or stick around when times get tough. I’ve heard of many say their wife or husband “always leaves when we fight.” I can see the hurt in the left partner as they state this. Often, the partner leaving doesn’t realize just how much it hurts.

You Won’t Resolve the Issue

If your partner walks out when you argue, it will prevent you from coming to some sort of solution. This is just postponing the argument until later. Postponing gives you both more time to come up with jabs and leaves you stewing in your hurt. If your partner, husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend walks out when you argue you leave off on a bad note. This means you will probably both still be annoyed, frustrate

d, maybe even resentful when you come back together. While it’s not always bad to fight, in fact, it is a normal part of relationships, storming out of fights is not the answer. Fighting can give you the chance to feel and be heard. But, you can’t hear the other person if you’ve left the room.

Leaving during a fight

If an argument is escalating and you both need to cool down, talk about it before you just storm out. Set a time limit, and promise to come back — and then follow through. For example, you can say “This is getting too heated. I need to go into the other room for 10 minutes before we both say something we regret.” This lets your partner know that a) you are committed to reaching a resolution and b) you’re not just abandoning him. Take your break time to cool down — not think of more comebacks — and go into the room with a calmer demeanor. This will teach your partner that when you promise to come back you will, and that you are prepared to continue the conversation being more level-headed than when you left.

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Jennine Estes

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.