Letting the sun go down on an argument

Many people live by the old saying: Never let the sun go down on an argument. They want to resolve every issue as it arises. They are often good at apologising and willing to accept some responsibility for what has gone on. So far so good. But, what if your partner is less able to apologise? What if he or she can’t yet accept any responsibility for their part in the argument? Maybe they’re still too angry or hurt or embarrassed to resolve it. What then?

If you try to force your partner into a resolution before they are ready, you risk arguing all night. You also risk personal attacks, threats, and sabotage. It’s during these arguments that people say things like:

I don’t know why I stay.

I won’t be here by Christmas.

I hate you.

You’re just like your mother/father!

No wonder your last partner left you.

Such statements do a lot of damage and are hard to take back. If an argument is going around and around in circles with ever increasing levels of anger and personal attacks, and more and more examples from the past are being thrown into the mix, it’s time for a break. And if the time for that break happens to be midnight, then leaving the issue until the next day may well save a lot of heartache.

As long as you agree to address the problem again as soon as possible, sometimes letting the sun go down on an unresolved issue may well save your relationship.


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