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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Premarital and Couples: How Long is Your Restoration Cycle?

Uploaded: Mar 5, 2021
When you get upset with your partner and a repair is made, how long does it take for your emotions, thoughts, and body to restore to equilibrium?

I can almost guarantee that whatever your answer, your partner's answer is different.

I don't know if I agree or not, but I recently heard that the man's cycle is pretty fast (imagine a line going steeply up and steeply down), while a woman's curve slowly builds and a slowly recedes (imagine a long, slightly upward line and a long, slightly downward line). I wonder if this is a gender-based attribute? I see men and women that have long and short restoration cycles.

So, a few points here:

1. Be sure you do make a repair (e.g., "That didn't go very well, can we try again?" or "Wow, I handled that poorly. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings.")

2. Notice your own restoration cycle. Notice it over time, in different situations.

3. Talk with your partner about YOUR restoration cycle (and ask about his or hers -- please do not not attempt to tell him or her what his or her cycle is, that might start the cycle again).

4. Make the effort to restore yourself. Your body, mind, feelings, and spirit may all have different timing. Physiologically, if you get to a point that your heart rate is 95 or above, your body needs at least 20 minutes to recover. Your thoughts are something you can work on (i.e., think, "This is my beloved, and we had a misunderstanding. I want to know what's going on and also let him or her know what's on my mind, too." Don't think: "What an asshole! He or she always does this . . . blah, blah, blah."). Think of realistic and constructive things to say to yourself -- and each other. Your feelings need to be acknowledged (at least by you), and notice if there is something that you need. You do not have to go over and over the feelings. What rejuvenates your spirit? Do that. Take deep breaths, look at a beautiful image or get out in nature.

5. Respond when you can, and give empathy -- even if you don't agree. If you can only react (skipping by what your partner says to get in what you want to say), wait to talk. Let your partner know you'll talk in 20-30 minutes when you are calmer.

Remember, if your goal is to be connected and kind, how do you want to behave?
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