by Elliott Kronenfeld

The other day I was discussing the emotional toll of fighting and hurt in intimate relationships with some folks.  We were talking about what happens after the fight.  You know…when we have apologized, we know that it is time to move on and there is nothing more to process, but you still feel yucky inside.

So, we were talking about that yucky feeling.  It is in this moment that we so desperately want our partner prove to us that we are going to be okay.  But they don’t.  What is holding them back?  Can’t they see how much better everything will be if they just reach out?  But, then again, we aren’t reaching out either.  Why is that?

I was trying to explain the emotional healing that needs to happen in order for reconnection to happen.  I experience this with all kinds of couples – those that are fighting about the dishes to trying to recover from an affair.  It is never an easy feeling to put into words.  This is an emotion that is uniquely different from others.  It isn’t really sadness and it isn’t really anger.  It is a disconnect that we feel so viscerally in our bodies.  As I was talking about this physical disconnect, one of the folks I was talking to said, “it is like my daughter said to me after we quarreled.  She seemed so sad and I told her that we were okay.  She looked at me and said, ‘Mommy, my heart hasn’t caught up to my brain.’”

And there it is.  The perfect description of the physical disconnect we feel in ourselves as we try to recover and reconnect.  We know things are going to be okay, but our heart isn’t there yet.  Our hearts need to catch up with our brains, and that takes time.  So, here is the tip.  Instead of leaving our partners wondering if we are okay and whether the conflict rages on, let’s tell them the simple truth.  Sometimes it takes time for our hearts to catch up.

If you are struggling in how to manage conflict in your relationship, be sure to contact Elliott at

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