“When I get upset, please give me some space and walk away.”
I have given this advice to every boyfriend I’ve had since high school. How many listened?
Z E R O.
And I’ve had quite a few. I’m 39, never been married, don’t have kids, and have traveled and lived all over the world. I am an old-fashioned adventurer who started writing love poems at age seven. And there have been so many incredible men in my life that one day I’m going to write a book about them.
But not a damn one listened to the wisdom I gave them in the beginning of our relationship.
I was trying to help. Trying to set us up for success. Because I knew myself. I’m strong-willed. Independent. Intelligent. And have a temper.
But not one listened.
Instead, there would be a disagreement or they’d do something to trigger me. The issue would grow. I would start getting upset, ask for space, and they would double down on trying to find a solution, which often looked like forcing me to see their point of view. But I couldn’t. By then my emotions would have taken over and I was entering dangerous territory. If I was in a semi-controlled mood then I could ask for space one more time, which usually continued to be overlooked, and then…
E X P L O S I O N.
Why did they ignore my advice? Why did they push to keep going? Insecurity? Fear? Ego? Pride?
But what I do know, then and now, is that we do this every day with those in our life. We allow our emotions to get the best of us. We forge ahead when we know it should be quitting time.
And for what? Winning? WHO wins.
Taking a break when things begin to get heated in ANY kind of relationship is wisdom.
It gives both people a chance to come back to neutral. To return to using the part of their brain that isn’t animalistic. To get a handle on emotion.
It gives couples, friends, co-workers, family members a genuine chance at having a real relationship. One where respectful disagreements can happen. One where people can be honest about their feelings. One where truth rises to the surface.
But if the temperature starts to increase, take a break.
This was always advice I applied to my romantic relationships but over the past few years, I’ve been using it across the board — with clients (jusssst wait on that email reply), family members (jusssst wait on that text), and strangers (gahhhhh).
The benefits have been huge. Not just for them, but mainly for myself. Because I do have a temper. I am sensitive. I do react quickly. And setting an intention ahead of time to take a break gives me space to look at why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. And then I can respond accordingly.
Our relationships are too valuable. Our intimacy too sacred.
Take a break.