We go to bed angry

… or to be more accurate, “still hurt and not quite over it, but needing some time to deal – alone.”

It took me two very tumultuous years to figure this out about us, that we can’t fix it before bed. Hell, some things won’t ever be fixed.  I’m certain we’ll be 80 and still rehashing some of the same old battles.  So if we can’t fix it ever, we certainly can’t fix it now.

But maybe tomorrow, after we’ve brooded and licked our wounds and finished rehashing the argument in our heads (with the best and most perfect responses substituted for the less ha-so-there reality), we might each learn something.  Not because the other said it in the perfect way, necessarily, but because in the rumination we can’t avoid some shred of ugly truth we have to face.

There’s hope in waiting for another day.

I wish I was better at making my point and letting it lie.  Instead I repeat and rephrase, as if the right combination of the perfect words might elicit the most wonderful response: “Oh, I get it now.”  Oh, the happiness!  “I understand why you’re upset and I think I know what I can try to do differently.”

Notice all of the wiggle-room words?  I’m not asking for perfection or even an apology.  I’m looking for growth, for understanding, for a chance that we won’t have to go through this again.

But no.  Doesn’t work that way.  The most effective I’ve ever been at making a point has involved obvious hurt and withdrawal.  Into myself.  When I do, I find it hard to come back from the insulation.  Most effective with him is not most me, so I choose me.

Me yells.  Me’s husband escalates the verbal battle.  Me responds, careful not to escalate but stopping just short of the line. It’s our thing.

Progress, though, is back-and-forth-back-and-forth-escalated-back-and-forth-aaaaah-slightly-less-escalated-back-and-forth-fake-it-through-dinner.  Then a quick good night and sleep.

We go to bed angry.  Better than that we go to bed apart.


5 thoughts on “We go to bed angry

  1. Josh and I go to bed angry all the time. Not that we fight all the time, but if we do fight around bedtime we usually just go to sleep. Typically we’re both tired and fighting into the night won’t solve anything. Over the last 5 years we’ve nearly figured each other out. But like you, I’m sure we’ll be fighting about that same dumb crap 50 years from now.

  2. There are some arguments we have that I can’t go to sleep on, but honestly sometimes a good night’s sleep helps me figure out whether it’s worth going through all over again the next morning. Sometimes I fight because I’m stressed or tired or anxious, and while my husband DID something… it can sometimes be nowhere near as bad as the level of anger that he gets 😦 That’s when a good night’s sleep helps me and I can wake up the next morning in brand new light and say I’m sorry.

    On the other hand… when it’s a “big” fight, those fights about things that matter most to one or both of us and we can’t figure out a way to see eye-to-eye… those are the fights that can keep us up until dawn.

    Here’s to 50 more years of fighting 🙂

  3. i think its okay to try to go to sleep and figure it out in the morning. i think its wise to not torture the life out of each other all night and talk about it after you cool off a bit. sometimes recalling the night you spent arguing till the wee hours makes you realize that it was not necessary or worth it, in order to work things out.

  4. The best piece of advice we o to received on our wedding day was:

    “You can go to sleep angry as long as when you wake up you remember that the person sleeping next to you is still the most important person in your life.”

  5. I just clicked on your site today (from OMG mom) and I was so happy to read a post like this! I hate that old addage , “Never go to bed angry” my husband and I do, and have, and that damn thing has always made me feel like our relationship was inaddequate in some way until I realized how stupid that was a few months ago.

    Communication is dffferent for everyone and people need time/space to work their issues out. It’s refreshing to hear that other couples do things similarly.

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