How Do I Get My Spouse To Give Me Space To Clear My Head In A Fight? -Real Life Solutions Counseling, Inc.

How Do I Get My Spouse To Give Me Space To Clear My Head In A Fight?

You are in a fight with your partner. It may be a little fight or it may be World War 3. You want some time to clear your head and think about things. You need time to take a breath so you don’t say anything you will regret.

This is all perfectly normal.

What is also normal is that there is usually one person in the relationship who wants to continue the fight to hash everything out right then and there and the other person wants a break to clear their head.

So now what???

Well, I am sure you have heard of a “Time Out”, right? Guess what?  Time Out is not just for our children. It can be effective for us adults as well. But this is the adult version of a Time Out.

An adult “time out” involves telling your partner that you need a break and then the IMPORTANT part is to tell them:

  1. How long you need a break for and…
  2. What you will be doing for that time and…
  3. Coming back to your partner with the goal of RESOLVING THE ISSUE.

What this Time Out does NOT look like is someone threatening to end the relationship or threatening to leave and never come back or kicking out your partner.

Remember, the GOAL is to RESOLVE the issue, not further add fuel to the fire or create insecurity in your partner as to whether or not the relationship is safe and secure.

Making any kind of threat is counterproductive to the goal of a resolution.

What does an adult Time Out look like? It could go something like this…

“Babe, I feel like we are not getting anywhere. I know the baby needs milk. I am going to run to the grocery store and I will be back in about 30 minutes and then we can try and resolve this.”


“I feel like I am not making sense. I need to take a breather. I am going to walk the dog and I will be back in 15 minutes and then we can try and resolve this.”


“I don’t want to say anything I will regret. I am going to work on something in the garage for 10 minutes and then we can try and resolve this.”


“We don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I am going to return a couple of emails for about 15 minutes and then we can meet back in the kitchen and try and resolve this.”


“We are going in circles. How about we take a break until tomorrow after lunch and maybe we can resolve things then?”

I am sure you get the picture.

Yes, the one who wants to hash it out in the spot will not always like this idea but let’s face it, if you are not getting anywhere and the tension is just increasing, then taking a break could be a good idea.

Don’t you think?

Do you find yourself either not wanting to give your spouse an opportunity to clear their head or are you the one not getting the chance to clear your head?

Try these techniques and if you need more support then feel free to reach out to me.


Call me, let’s chat.

Laurie Shoats L.M.F.T. (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)


Real Life Solutions Counseling, Inc

Serving Coral Springs, Parkland, Coconut Creek, Boca Raton, Margate and surrounding areas