A few hours, maybe? I can’t leave things unresolved. None of that going to sleep mad bullshit for me. I will provoke a conflict if I have to just to get it over with. We went through a dark period in our relationship shortly before we married, in which we fought often enough that maybe we never really stopped fighting. In which case I would say, three months. It was awful and we vowed never to go there again. So far, so good.
Before we can make up, I have to calm down. This usually takes a few minutes, even after I realize I’m wrong. So often our fights end by the conversation becoming less angry and more collaborative. We may stop fighting without realizing we’re not fighting any more, as tempers cool and we begin to understand where the other person is coming from. For example, a few months ago we had a significant argument that started out with my husband reaming me for spending money we didn’t have, and me reaming him for not communicating with me about his end of our financial situation. The yelling eventually just became conversation about finances, and by the end of the night we had worked out a budget for the next year.
For shorter conflicts, one of us will usually approach the other with a nonverbal cue of reconciliation, such as a hug. Typically this is me, because to be honest with you, I’m usually the one at fault. Once we’ve made the physical connection, we apologize, then talk about what happened to see if we can make changes to avoid it in the future.