Why A 'Freak-Out' Room Could Be Just What Your Relationship Needs

Managing conflict is one of the most important parts of a relationship. In fact, it can make or break a romantic union. As licensed marriage and family therapist Darlene Lancer shared on Psychology Today, "People are different, and their desires and needs will inevitably clash."

But learning how to do conflict is hard, especially when either you or your partner is angry, frustrated, tired, hungry, or simply having a bad day. 

It is not the conflict itself that couples should avoid, however, in order to ensure lasting relationship satisfaction. Every relationship is bound to have arguments. What matters is how couples argue. One of the signs that your relationship might be in trouble is when communication breaks down during an argument and neither is able to get through to the other because of heightened emotions. Conventional wisdom will tell you to leave it there and pick it up at a later date, but what if there's another way to handle things? A "freak-out" room might be just what your relationship needs. 

A 'freak-out' room can give you the space to vent or collect your thoughts

Have you ever been in the middle of an intense argument with your partner and realized at some point that neither of you were making any sense? The conversation was going around in circles and no one was getting any calmer (or happier).

This is the perfect time to go into a "freak-out" room of your choice in the house. According to the Times of India, a "freak-out" room is a designated space in your home where either you or your significant other can withdraw into to calm down. It might help to decorate the room with some features that are sure to help you relax — this could be a picture of your favorite beach or some scented candles. 

If you prefer walking as an exercise to cool off, perhaps you can even move your treadmill in there. The important thing is that you're creating a space that you can retreat into to do whatever it is you need to release your emotions in a healthy manner. Crying and shouting is permitted in the room too. According to licensed professional counselor Lynn Wonders, "Research has shown when people's heart rates and blood pressure rise along with intense emotion, they become 'flooded' and it is impossible to have any kind of positive, reparative interaction until a state of calm has been reached. Taking a time out at this point is crucial."

What the 'freak-out' room shouldn't be

Continuing the conversation after your time in the "freak-out" room is important. You don't want your partner to feel like you're ignoring their concerns or stonewalling them. As Wonders noted on her website, "Time out is temporary with a promise both parties will return to rational discussion later." Try and spend a few minutes calmly thinking about the crux of the conflict before you come out and agree to have a better conversation. If you need more time, then ask for it politely. It might even help to set up some ground rules about how long you're allowed to spend in there before returning to the conversation. Decide on a mutually agreed-upon time frame. 

It is also important for both partners to respect the other's decision to want to retreat into the room and to avoid infringing on their privacy. The whole point is for them to steal away on their own to calm down. Going in there to try and continue an already heated argument could be one of the things you would do to sabotage your relationship. While your partner is inside the room, find your own quiet space for some alone time. Sometimes, just being in separate rooms for a few hours can help you see things differently. 

A "freak-out" room might sound odd when you first think about it, but it can meet your need for healthy conflict in an effective way if applied correctly.