In intimate relationships there basically two tactics for managing strong emotions.
1. Take space from each other until you calm down.
2. Talk things out right now until you feel connected again.
What I’ve found working with unhappy couples are that they almost always disagree on which of these tactics to follow.
When this happens the partner wanting to take space will claim to feel trapped, controlled, and stuck with someone that’s “too emotional.”
And the partner who wants to talk it out will claim to feel abanded, not cared for, and stuck with someone that is “out of touch with his/her emotions.”
This can lead both partners to start questioning the relationship and consider finding someone who is a better match for them.
The problem is that this pattern will likely show up in the next relationship too. Just as it likely showed up in their past relationships.
The solution is not to find someone “better.”
It’s also not to finally agree on strategy 1 or 2. Trying to do that will only keep you in the pattern.
The solution lies in uncovering your deeper fears and experiencing moments of vulnerable tenderness together.
That’s how you heal the pattern that led to the disagreement in the first place.