In this, the next chapter of our new book, Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Pitfalls, Dr. Pepper and I talk about the perils of putting off relationship decisions, no matter how seemingly inconsequential. Enjoy another free sample!
Big or small decisions need to be discussed, not postponed, to keep the relationship alive. “Let me think about it” can be a simple, thoughtful comment that seems to say, “I would like to have some time to think it over.” It seems an innocent enough request.
In our experience, it is often not used for positive reasons; in fact, it is used as a delaying tactic, meaning, “I don’t want to think about it now or anytime soon.” Or, “I disagree, but I’d rather keep pushing the issue away as long as possible so we don’t have to confront one another.” This delaying tactic is not innocent and not without consequences for the person who wants a real answer. It leaves the person waiting for a resolution “on hold.” We all know how much we like being put on hold on the phone — not so much! It’s never a good experience, and neither is waiting for a decision without knowing when it will be made.
We think the use of “Let me think about it” as a way of saying “No” is rather cowardly. You might think you are avoiding conflict, but instead you are setting yourself up for a bigger confrontation because your partner is either going to keep pestering you or is going to make his or her own decision without your input, leaving you out of the process. One of you is bound to be mad.
This tactic is also a power play for control. Shutting your partner out of the conversation is the same as shutting him or her out of your life. If you don’t want your partner to have a voice in your life as a couple, then you are likely to get what you want: a life in which you are in control and alone.
If “Let me think about it” is meant as a simple request for some time to think, then it has to have a due date so you both know when a decision or a discussion will happen. If there is a due date, then neither of you is waiting, wondering, or resenting the other. In fact, then you are functioning as a couple.
As always, for the other pages of the chapter and the rest of the book, order here!