Co-Regulation and Couples

couples co-regulation

Have you ever noticed your partner getting upset? Do you know what are some ways he or she calms down? Well if you answered yes to these then good news, your in a pretty normal relationship. But I wonder, do you and or your partner share this information with one another? Or better yet, do you to lean on one another at times to manage your emotions? If you’re not sure that is fine. You should know that co-regulation is a fantastic way to grow and strengthen your emotional bond. 

Recently while working with a couple, the wife stated she notices when her husband is getting upset, he often will get quiet, and become verbally short with everyone at home until he emotionally explodes. The wife went on to mention she feels he really isn’t with her in the house at this point when he gets overwhelmed and while she will encourage him to go and sit down or relax this does not typically happen. The more I spoke with the couple I had a hunch the husband was experiencing flooding. Flooding is when our bodies literally becomes overwhelmed by stress and our ability to manage stressors is reduced. Typically 30 minutes at minimum is needed in order for us to be back at a base-line and not be overwhelmed. However, as I discussed with the couple, knowing the initial signs of being flooded is an important step in reducing these experiences. Luckily in this case, the wife was very insightful and knew some of the signs when her husband was flooded. I encouraged the two to have a conversation about the signs and for the husband to practice being mindful of these and any other signs he noticed to better manage these experiences.

The same couple have been working on tapping which is a form of self-care. You don’t need to know what tapping is but understand they are working together to manage emotions. Couple’s can co-regulate and or manage emotions together by sitting down and talking about the good and bad, going for walks, hugging, holding hands, participating in yoga together as just a few examples. It is true that we cannot ALWAYS depend on our partners for assisting us in managing our emotions. Our partners are likely not by our side 24/7. However, it is important to talk with your partner and get to a place where the two of you are having conversations about self-care and how you can work together to better support one another and build that emotional intimacy!