It is easier for some people to become flooded when in a disagreement. Their heart rate rises, and they are unable to think clearly. It is at times like this that the “fight or flight” response sets in. Arguments either escalate as voices become louder and say mean and ugly things … or someone runs away.
Frequently when one person runs away from an argument, the normal reaction for the other person is to try to catch them … and this only makes things worse. The one left behind also feels frustrated, hurt, angrier and issues never get resolved.
So … what can you do if one person feels a need to run away? Here are some things to try … as a beginning way to learn new ways to talk with each other.
* Respect the fact that your partner does need a time out … an opportunity to calm down.
* Give him some space before starting any conversation with him.
* Begin the discussion in a calm and loving way such as “I know that we have a hard time talking about this subject and I want to try again. Is this a good time? If not, when would be a good time?” or “Let me understand your feelings on this subject before I even talk to you about mine.”
* If you can see that your partner is getting upset, suggest another time out … and try again later.