The only thing that can be more powerful and chilling than words is a lack thereof. While the silent treatment may seem satisfying in the moment, you’re actually hurting your partner and the relationship the two of you have cultivated together. Relationships, whether romantic or not, depend on open and honest communication. When you choose not to engage with your partner, you limit the options on how to move forward. The good news is with patience, persistence, and compassion you can re-open the lines of communication and emerge closer than before.
Try This First
Before attempting to break through their icy walls, spend sometime alone. Use this time apart to reflect on the situation, your feelings, and potential ways to move past the issue. Also, be sure you make the effort to understand your partner’s viewpoint.
During a confrontation, it is best to remain objective. This can be difficult because it may seem like you’re dismissing or setting aside your own experience. However, you’re simply attempting to understand their perspective so that together you can find a solution.
After a sufficient amount of time has passed, be sure to follow up with your partner. Invite them to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Remind them of how important they are to you, which is why you want to hear what they have to say. If they are still unwilling to talk, let them know that you are there to listen when they are ready to open up.
Then give them space. Whether it’s an hour, a couple of days, or a week, do your best to be patient. When your partner does finally approach you, be open to discussing the problem and try to empathize and have compassion for their struggles. Depending on your unique situation, it may require more than one conversation, but hopefully you will be able to work through the problem in a way that leaves you both feeling that you have been heard.
Finally, after the problem has been dealt with, it’s imperative that you revisit your partner’s use of the silent treatment. Work with them to find a new way of more effectively sharing their feelings.
In The End
Oftentimes, people resort to using the silent treatment because it loudly communicates what they feel they cannot say verbally. If this is a common occurrence, it reveals a painful divide in your relationship. The good news is that breaking the silence does more than just resolve the immediate conflict. It also brings an invaluable opportunity to practice working collaboratively toward enjoying a closer, warmer relationship.
October 7, 2020