While no one likes to fight with their partner, it’s important to have a structure in place in order to work towards a healthy resolution.
So when it comes to big blow-ups or heated exchanges, does the 3-day rule after arguments really work?
Even in the heat of the moment, it can seem strange to take a step back from your relationship. However, there are a lot of benefits to the 3-day rule, with time apart often providing the clarity you need to resolve the root cause of your relationship problems.
After a big fight, it’s normal to seek some space from your partner — especially if it is a more heated exchange.
However, like everything else in a relationship, it’s all about balance. While it can be healthy for couples to take some space, there should still be boundaries in place to ensure the best outcome for both partners.
For example, if you want to take extended time from your partner and have no desire to reconnect after an argument — this could indicate greater issues in your relationship.
“Taking space to think clearly and prioritize your own inner work can be a healthy choice in a relationship. However, it's important to be honest with yourself about your intentions, says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.
“If you're simply trying to run away from your partner and avoid any further interaction, taking a few days of space won't magically fix the relationship. It's crucial to have open and upfront communication with yourself and your partner to truly address any issues and work towards a healthier relationship.”
If you follow the three-day rule, you believe in taking some time apart after a heated argument in order to cool down and heal.
This prevents couples from saying something in the heat of the moment that they might regret later on. This focus on self-reflection can make it easier for couples to clearly communicate their perspectives, with the space preventing it from erupting into another argument without resolution.
In order for this concept to work, both partners must agree on the no-contact rule — giving them time to formulate their own point of view, without simply agreeing to disagree to calm things down.
Unlike the silent treatment, this time apart should be spent focusing on self-care activities and reflection rather than a choice based on negativity and toxicity.
Ideally, when the couple comes back together after the 3-day break, they have processed their own feelings and are more willing to see their partner’s perspective. Then with the help of active listening and patience, the space will have enabled both partners to come to a healthy resolution and get things back on track.
While some couples prefer not to go to sleep without resolving an argument, other couples feel the benefits of spending time apart.
The 3-day rule after an argument is a guideline designed to help couples work through an argument in the healthiest way possible. By giving your partner time and space to breathe, it’s easier to resolve any underlying issues before they have the chance to blow up into something more.
While some people enjoy this alone time, as it allows them to set clear expectations of what they want from conflict resolution — other couples feel that this silence resembles a relationship break.
Depending on your attachment style, you may seek immediate attention and resolution rather than space. For example, if you have an anxious attachment style, the time apart could be filled with overthinking and could impact your mental health and well-being.
“Additionally if either of you navigates symptoms of anxiety, attachment trauma, ADHD, especially with RSD taking a break can come with an added worry, fears of loss, or deeper rejection,” says Seeger DeGeare.
“Making the reflective time apart one that causes more relationship distress or a new layer to the disconnection and conflict.”
Therefore, in order to make this rule work, both partners need to be on board to ensure a healthy resolution.
While the 3-day rule can be effective, there are certain situations where it’s not recommended.
In abusive relationships, no 3-day rule will remedy such a toxic situation.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, it’s important to seek professional relationship advice in order to remove yourself from the situation in the safest way possible.
If you find that you’re constantly utilizing the 3-day rule in order to avoid an argument, it’s a sign that there could be a bigger issue in your relationship.
While the 3-day rule is helpful to avoid heated exchanges, it’s not a sustainable way forward if you’re constantly arguing with your partner.
Three-day rules only work if both parties agree to no contact for an agreed period of time.
If one partner implements this rule without the consent of the other, it can feel like an enforced silent treatment. This kind of attitude will likely negatively impact any conflict resolution from the outset.