The argument is getting heated and you realize you are getting nowhere! What do you do?

Allow the conversation to spiral out of control, get worked up, and risk saying things that will be hard to repair? OR do you recognize that this is happening, and you allow yourself to take a timeout?

When it’s said this way, it’s easy to choose the taking a timeout option. But obviously this is easier said than done.

Thinking back to the managing emotions post, it’s vital to know your triggers so you can make the call of when you need to take a timeout and cool off!

I encourage all couples to have the conversation of what a timeout will look like in their relationship. Together come up with a hand signal or a random word you will use when needing to call your own timeout.

Here are some things to consider when needing to take a timeout.

Call your own timeout. If you want to protect your relationship, do not tell your partner that they need a timeout, trust me, this is only adding fuel to the fire! By calling your own timeout, you are sending the message that you are aware you are getting amped up and need to take a time to refocus and slow down.

Respect whoever calls the timeout. If a timeout is requested, the best thing you can do is to respect the time needed to cool off, whether this is for yourself or your partner.

Agree on a time to come back to the conversation. This is where most couples mess up. They each cool off and realize that things are fine again and don’t want to mess it up so instead of coming up with a solution or allowing themselves to hear their partner out, they move on to the next activity or conversation. The best way to avoid this, is to agree on a time to come back to the conversation and finish the conversation!

Modern Wellness Counseling San Antonio Texas When you need a timeout during an argument hour glass

​While you are in a timeout here are things you should not be doing:

  • Don’t plan how you are going to prove your partner wrong or plan your next attack
  • Don’t dwell on how angry they made you
  • Don’t engage in negative self-talk

​What you should be doing:

  • Engage in something that will help you cool down. Check back to the healthy suggestions in the previous post. 
  • Do try to focus on what makes you happy about your relationship
  • Focus in on the fact that you can help your relationship win vs. winning the argument on your own
  • Know that you have the choice to change the outcome of where the conversation is going

​Stay tuned as I will discuss what you should do when you come back from your timeout!

If you would like to learn how you can apply this process in your relationship and would like a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to guide you in this process, reach out to Priscilla to schedule your first session. Sessions can be in the office or online! You may also check out some online relationship classes and an upcoming couples workshop!

By: Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT

I specialize in working with couples and individuals to restore their relationships by utilizing research-based therapy techniques. Feel free to look at the online services offered through Modern Wellness Counseling and check out the client portal to conveniently schedule your next appointment.

Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT (she/her/hers)

Priscilla specializes in working with couples and individuals who want to strengthen their relationship with themselves and with others. Priscilla utilizes research based techniques to help clients implement healthy coping skills and communication skills. Learn more on how you can enhance your relationship today.

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