Best Ways to Respond to Silent Treatment in Relationships

Are you getting the cold shoulder instead of a willing partner?
Are you getting the cold shoulder instead of a willing partner? | Source

The Silent Treatment Is Emotional Abuse

I've been surprised to learn how many women have suffered the silent treatment for days, weeks, even months at a time in their marriages. I remember feeling extreme anguish when my guy wouldn't talk to me for a couple of hours—and he wasn't trying to dole out the cold shoulder but simply cooling off.

The silent treatment is painful to endure, and someone who stonewalls another person to gain control of a situation is emotionally abusive. They're saying, in essence, "You are unworthy of being recognized as a human being worth decent treatment." Although there is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior, women who are victimized by it don't have too many options for dealing with it. They've discovered that there's only one path to regaining their husband's cooperation - apologizing for whatever he thinks they did "wrong."

Because so many women are asking how they can change this in their lives, I started digging for solutions I could offer them, and found myself surprised again. There simply isn't much good advice to help them. "Apologize." "Wait it out." "Calmly try to talk to him." "Divorce him."


If you've been dealing with the silent treatment from the person who is supposed to love, honor, and cherish you, chances are you've already tried the first three things and you're wondering if the fourth one, divorce, is the only option you have.

If you're not ready for divorce, don't give up hope just yet. First, let's look at what's going on when a man gives his wife the silent treatment for days on end, and what else can be done.

Refusal to speak to another person is a way of proving the other person doesn't exist in the silent person's world.
Refusal to speak to another person is a way of proving the other person doesn't exist in the silent person's world. | Source

Signs of emotional abuse can appear when a couple is still dating. If a new boyfriend or girlfriend gives you the silent treatment or ignores you because they're unhappy, consider it a red flag that should be taken seriously!

Understanding the Silent Treatment

Choosing not to participate in something that's unhealthy is usually a smart choice. A stonewaller is making this healthy decision at inappropriate times. He also keeps his choice going to an unusual degree.

Here's an analogy that might demonstrate how absurd the silent can be: Harry Hardhead wants to live a healthy life, and decides that caffeine shouldn't be part of his diet. Instead of just declining soft drinks that contain caffeine, he refuses to have them in his house, shop at stores that sell them, or eat at restaurants where other people whose values are different might take part in drinking them. He is refusing to interact with significant parts of his world and "punishing" merchants for not doing things the way his values think they should be done. Most people wouldn't go to such an extreme.

When we look at it in this example, we see that his behavior is a severe overreaction that looks almost comical, but when it happens through giving people the cold shoulder, it's not funny at all. The silent treatment is an abuser's way of saying, "You're worthless to me if I don't get my way exactly the way I think I should."

Abusers are not monsters. And abuse doesn't happen alone. Both the abuser and their victim are engaging in abusive dynamics. I've used husbands as the "abuser" in this article purely because it's most often wives that complain about this topic. Women can be equally abusive, and the word victim is used to describe the one who is getting shut out, but they, too, are hurting the abuser in other ways.

I believe most abusers - both physical and emotional - become abusive for one reason. They feel a deep need to regain control of their environments. Often, their perceptions of what they need aren't rational or fair. Their definition of environment often includes the people in it. They believe that if they are failures if they aren't in control. Sometimes these beliefs are so ingrained and automatic that the abuser's not aware of them.

Some people enjoy punishing others. I remember a 1980s study that revealed that men who were dangerously physically abusive actually had lower blood pressure and a calmer state of mind when they entered a rage state. This can be true of emotional abusers, too. They become calm and seemingly rational as they hurt the person they're supposed to love.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder may use the silent treatment over any event that takes attention away from them. For example, if I'm married to a narcissist and my parent dies, it wouldn't be unusual for him to ignore me right after the funeral and give me the silent treatment because my attention is focused on the loss I'm experiencing instead of on him. (If you suspect your partner may have a narcissistic disorder, please check out my tips for dealing with it.)

"Why would he think talking means things are out of control?" you may wonder.

People who give the silent treatment fear conflict. Talking over issues represents confrontation, the very thing they want to avoid. By prolonging the silent treatment, they've discovered they can escape the confrontation. Better still, they can regain control and probably get an apology while they're at it.

Their end goal is to restore things to the way they were.

The Victim's Role

In some cases, the abuser really is attempting to escape another abusive dynamic. If you are trying to force him to change or do things your way, you're giving him a valid reason to withdraw. If you criticize him as a person or assign blame instead of focusing on finding solutions, you're contributing to his behavior. If you let yourself feel like a victim, get depressed, or pout, you must recognize that you've been engaging in control tactics, too, and pledge to stop.

The silent treatment is part of a "demand-withdraw" pattern that is deadly to relationships!

This means you'll need to learn some healthier ways to confront issues, too, and learning takes time. You won't find a solution that works in just a few days or weeks. This is a dynamic that has evolved over months or years, and it can take many months to replace it with better methods. As you learn, so will your husband, but it won't be on your timeline, so focus on progress, because perfection's still a long, long way off.

The remainder of this article will look at how you can change you to change your relationship, and what steps you can take to discourage stonewalling. I encourage you to use all of these steps, and to give yourself permission to make mistakes. Learn from them and then get back on track.

Walking on eggshells only allows your relationship to crumble further. It doesn't fix the problem!
Walking on eggshells only allows your relationship to crumble further. It doesn't fix the problem! | Source

Changing You Will Change the Relationship

You'll need to boost your self-worth and make yourself immune to your husband's control tactics. Here are some ways to start:

  • Remind yourself that he feels uncertain and out of control, which is his own problem, not yours. You can say, "I recognize that you don't feel competent to handle this right now. Is there something I can do to help you get ready?" If he doesn't answer, accept that as his answer - there's literally "nothing" you can do.
  • Acknowledge that he's responding to a demand that you have made, and remember that demands aren't good for your relationship. Encourage him to tell you when he feels you are being demanding, and when he does, stop immediately. Find a different way to communicate your problem.
  • Do not show that you're uncomfortable with his silence. Complaints, pouting, sulking, and needling him to talk are all signs that his cold shoulder is working its magic. This kind of evidence gives him reason to keep doing it.
  • Avoid trying to figure out what he's thinking. You're not a mind-reader. If you do his thinking for him, he has no reason to share his thoughts with you now or later.
  • Never apologize for something when you don't believe you were wrong. Most articles will tell you to make an apology, but how can you have an authentic, connected relationship by being false? Instead, try to empathize with your partner by saying you understand that he's upset or angry and would like to bridge the gap that has come between you.
  • Many mental health pros would disagree with me on this, but if there is not a history of physical abuse, I'd "force a crisis" by assuming his silence means I can do things my way. If he tells me otherwise, then we can discuss it, but until then, I'll assume his silence is compliance. He won't like it, but it calls his bluff and forces him to participate if he wants to be considered. Because I'm not a complete ogre myself, I'd inform him up front by saying something like, "Since you clearly don't have anything to say about the matter, I'm going to assume you're in agreement with me. Thank you." My tone would be sincere, and I would be calm. If he said he wasn't in agreement, I'd simply ask, "Oh? Well, when would you like to discuss how we can handle this, then?" (If he misses the discussion, back to plan A - my way.)

Be prepared for the last suggestion to escalate his behavior and anger temporarily. People who are in denial about their behaviors (and your guy is one of them!) will not change unless they choose to. Most won't make a choice to change until they are faced with crisis. It can take many small crises or one huge one, but when their methods no longer work, they'll start scrambling to figure out what does. Part of that scrambling means trying harder at things that have worked before - in this case, the silent treatment and anger. If you see more of the same thing, be assured that your efforts *are* working.

You may be surprised to learn that your guy doesn't want the responsibility and pressure of finding solutions and will be happy to let you do things your way. On the other hand, if he does want to see something specific badly enough, he'll say so. He's a man and knows how to. He just resorts to the silent treatment because it usually gives him what he wants. If it no longer works, he'll find another way to handle things.

Other Ways to Address a Problem

It's tough to change something we feel is justified. After all, you deserve some consideration, too, and your expectations aren't unreasonable!

  • The majority of arguments don't start because of what is said. They start over how something was said.

If you find yourself sounding like you're making a demand (or you feel like you're about to!), ask yourself how you can solve the problem you're having without asking for anything from your partner. Do not attempt to talk to your partner until you can answer this question fully!

Figure out:

  • What meaning are you attaching to the event?

He didn't pick up his towels (again!) even though he keeps promising to do better. If you think it means that he's forgetful, you'll have a different response than if you think it means that he doesn't have any respect for you. Once you define what the event means - to you, not to him - you're ready to answer the next question.

  • What is your real goal?

Is your goal to have a clean bathroom or to make him do things your way? If you're really only looking for a clean bathroom, you'll need to figure out what you can do to make sure your bathroom's clean even if he never changes his behavior. On the other hand, if you think that he's been using the towels to show you that he doesn't respect you, and you're wanting him to show you that he does by picking up his towels, you're heading into demand territory.

A goal of making another person do what you want will never work in the long run!

Once you fully understand what meaning you assign to an event, and what goal you want to reach, you can figure out how to get it done without your partner's help. You might discover that you want to hire someone, have fewer towels available, or pick them up yourself instead of arguing. Then again, you might discover that the real problem is something that's a possible deal breaker. If you honestly believe your partner is inconsiderate of you, then it's up to you to only get involved with people who are considerate enough that you feel loved instead of fighting.

Throughout this process, you should ONLY consider your own viewpoints, not his. His opinions, values, and reasons are irrelevant while you figure these two answers out. When you talk about it to him, you can then describe the problem you had, hear his views respectfully, and decide whether you'll accept a solution he suggests or solve the problem for yourself. He can volunteer to step in, but if he doesn't, the solution really is in your own hands and there is no need for an argument.

A Special Note About Abuse

When people feel out of control, they seek ways to regain control, as we already discussed. When you change how you respond to the silent treatment, it can escalate his behaviors temporarily, but there is also the risk that his scramble for new ways to regain control could introduce physical violence as well.

Be prepared for this by having a plan to leave the environment when there appears to be a threat. Find a therapist who specializes in abuse. Know who you can call upon, where you can stay, and save enough money to give you a cushion if you need one.

Because people who give the silent treatment typically are trying to uncomfortable confrontation, most of them won't resort to this, but I mention it because it's always one of the options people have for regaining control.

I wish you the best. You matter. Show the world that you won't simply be written off, and the world will respond by listening. Hugs.

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Comments 252 comments

denisemai profile image

denisemai 4 years ago from Idaho

I've never thought about men giving the silent treatment. Maybe because many aren't brilliant conversationalists in the first place. I could never keep up a silent treatment. That would be like torture! Giving it to men is like a reward. But I can see. In excess it is emotionally abusive.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

I have been amazed to hear about women who have tolerated days and weeks at a time for the last ten or fifteen years! It's surprising how common a problem this is, but what truly shocked me was the "typical" advice to apologize and wait it out.

lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Excellent hub! A very well-put article. This is why some men use the silent treatment. you pointed this out very well in your article.

"He is refusing to interact with significant parts of his world and "punishing" merchants for not doing things the way his values think they should be done." It's not only men, but women who are often guilty of this. A person who is too passive might just prefer to keep all of his emotions bottled up inside rather than engaging in a shouting match who knows maybe he doesn't like confrontation and just wants to keep the peace.

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Women experience the silent treatment? That is what women do on this planet. Where are you from?

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you both for reading and commenting!

It can definitely be an act committed by women, too, though I most often hear of women complaining about it. Don't worry, I'll be doing an article on withholding sex soon!

Thanks for the kind words, too, Lovedoctor926.

MelChi profile image

MelChi 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

This is a such a well written article on an original topic. Great information, thanks! Voted up!!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you very much, MelChi!

WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

No! Not that!

I forgot to say that you really did a professional job of putting this together. It is too bad that our loving relationships find ways to turn into grudge matches.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Yep, that! Sad fact of life for some people...

Thank you for the kind words. I agree. I think it's a tragedy that so few people understand how to love and commit. For a lot of us, there aren't even many good role models these days.

donotfear profile image

donotfear 4 years ago from The Boondocks

Good information. Going through it right now; wow! What a limbo loss! Needed to hear this, for sure. I've been telling myself this same thing for weeks now. Pretty soon, thought, the volcano is going to blow and there will be a break. Until that time, stay cool and collected, not taking anything personally. Thanks for this hub.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Sorry to hear that you're going through this kind of stuff, DNF. I hope you find the least painful way out of it. :(

Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA

I think it is surprising for many people to realize the wide range of behaviors that constitute abuse, but there are many. The silent treatment really hurts and you have explained very well, it is really an attempt to gain control. It is amazing to realize that some abusive behaviors can act to lower pressure, this really has to make you stop and think about the purpose and function of the behavior - it is the reptilian brain at work.

~voted up, useful and interesting~


jellygator profile image

jellygator 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Tracy! I love the idea of "reptilian brain at work." I don't know if this is a literal or figurative statement, but it sure fits!

Tiffany 3 years ago

Susan, I am married to the same man.

He jokes and talks trash, but if you say anything aimed toward his direction (being male, being silly, loving the 49er’s, having brown hair) it is treated as a hostile attack and he rages emotionally, then shuts down and goes into silent mode for 3-7 days. I used to get upset, emotionally and cry or beg to know what I did. Now I wait a while, apologize for not understanding what I said was hurtful, and then I move on. I treat him with dignity and respect and allow him go through his feelings. It usually ends with him saying “I bet you think I’m real stupid for being so upset” (instead of apologizing). I tell him the truth, that it is a hard situation, but that I would want someone to see me through dark times too (this usually upsets him because he sees labeling “dark times” as judging and a second wave of silence/withdrawl follows).

The unconditional love wins him over, but I do NOT fawn over him, or beg him to open up or pay any additional attention to the situation. I am polite, courteous and fulfill my wife/mother duties with love and NO emotional knee-jerk reactions and just wait.

Asking him how his day was over texting or email really angers him, he accuses me of being patronizing when I ask that because I don’t really care. Treating him well after he has been a total $%^&*( really seems to push him over the edge. It angers him even more when he can’t get a rise out of me, but then a few days later he is normal again.

My husband is aware he has major depression and emotional instability issues and is currently trying to decide whether he needs outside help for this or not from a medical doctor or a psychotherapist. He has asked me what I think and of course I am simply supportive. Asking him to go has never worked and just breed resentment (he says things like “so it’s all my fault then”). Me going alone and getting anti-anxiety medication made him resentful because he felt I was getting help because he was so awful and took it as judging instead of coping. He must decide to get the help on his own or it won’t stick.

We are also christians and attend weekly and try to live according to our convictions. This is so confusing to me. Holding grudges is just not my thing. Also, not being able to be myself within reason is crushing my soul.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Oh, Tiffany, you're a strong woman to endure this kind of treatment!

We're all flawed human beings, but we also have a responsibility to our loved ones to be responsible for ourselves. It sounds like your husband is refusing to take ownership of his hurtful behaviors.

It saddens me to hear that you're going through this. I understand that you are living according to your beliefs and values, but I certainly couldn't continue to do it!

SpiritSpeaks profile image

SpiritSpeaks 3 years ago

Thank you so much for this well written article. I am going through this with my partner and it feels like he is a person who is trying to control me. Thank you for the ideas on how to handle this. It is good to know I am not alone in this strange journey.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

It's very difficult to endure, Spirit. I hope you've found useful tips and can put them to good use!

ZRMoore profile image

ZRMoore 3 years ago

Thank you for this article. I went through this treatment for many years in a relationship. This article is going to help a lot of people understand this form of abuse a lot better.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, ZRM. It sounds like you're no longer going through it, and I'm glad to see that.

ZRMoore profile image

ZRMoore 3 years ago

Yes, I got out of that situation three years ago, and have been grateful for it ever since. There definitely needs to be more information out there on the silent treatment. If I had that information I wouldn't have stayed in the relationship as long as I did. It wasn't til it was over, and after much research that I understood what I was going through. So thanks for that article, because I know a lot of people will find it helpful.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

I have been surprised to discover just how many people *do* go through this! Thanks for the encouragement!

Oscarlites profile image

Oscarlites 3 years ago from Alabama

its a tough kind of a situation,and thank God there are smart cookies out there that are willing to try to improve the world they live in , instead of giving up!.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

So true!

Thanks for stopping and reading, Oscarlites!

mystichaven04 profile image

mystichaven04 3 years ago from Syracuse New york United States

Thank you so much for your timly Hub I'm not in a realationship but I am getting the cold shoulder from a male friend. Now that I have read your Hub somethings are much clearer for me. Again Thank you very very much Blessing Mystic

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

You're welcome, Mystic. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Shanti Perez profile image

Shanti Perez 3 years ago from Spokane, Washington, U.S.A.

I found this article informative and spot-on!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Shanti!

Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 3 years ago from Indiana, USA

I personally think that the silent treatment is immature. I've experienced it several times in two marriages and while I agree that this is generally a man's way of trying to do the right thing in an inappropriate time, it has hurt me deeply and has served its purpose in teaching me that it's better for me to keep my mouth shut than to lodge my foot into my mouth.

There's a lot going on when the silent treatment is employed. As a woman, I've never given a man the cold shoulder. I may become silent when I can't otherwise be respectful, but I've never used the silent treatment to punish a person I've been involved with. But it's been done to me by several men. I'm surprised by the response here that women are usually the ones issuing the silent treatment to men!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

It seems to me that I hear more often of women enduring it, but it's definitely an equal opportunity punishment!

Thank you for reading and commenting, Everyday Miracles.

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

I got silent treatment a lot as a missionary, but that's out of the range of a relationship. It was mostly when we'd try to talk to people. I remember one instance when we approached a lady on the sidewalk on a bridge. We made eye contact, and she saw us coming. We said "Hi" as we approached, only for her to turn around and face out to the river like she didn't see us. Our continued attempts to talk to her went unanswered, until she finally turned around and said she wasn't interested. Its like, Ok, I know Missionaries aren't always welcomed, but cut us some slack! We're people too ya know...

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Ugh! I work in sales, and I know that people sometimes don't like to be approached, but I still don't feel like that's a good way to handle it. Why not say, "I'm not interested, thanks" and then move on?

I realize some people keep pushing. I usually will respond to that by saying, "Is there a reason you're disrespecting my boundaries?" and it's pretty effective.

Thank you for reading and commenting, Wakerra.

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

Missionaries can tend to get a bad rap because some are "pushy". This mostly stems from: Goals, Motivation, and/or strong conviction in what we believe. I never could be that pushy person, I'm just too sensitive and soft. So, naturally, when I got a negative or confrontational response I closed up/retreated.

Disrespecting my boundaries...interesting. Often times I would want to point out that I was a person too, and also had feelings, but I was just too shy/nervous to speak up.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Passion's great, and so is listening!

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

ah, yes, Listening. God has been trying to teach me that one...I'm such a bull-headed person too. I often think I know what's right, and my opinion goes before everyone elses (which doesn't help at all) but I'm getting better at it

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

You and most of the people I've known! Listening is a tough skill to cultivate, especially because it so often requires hearing what is not spoken!

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

and enduring accusations that aren't true/hurtful

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Oh, yeah... that's part of hearing what's not said, in my opinion. The subtext to the accusations is most often, "I feel attacked and I'll attack you so you'll stop" or "I'm hurting and want you to hurt, too."

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

you know what's really annoying though? When you try to help and leave insightful feedback, only to have your comment deleted, perhaps due to religious differences...I'm seeing this a few times with other hubs that I comment on. I mean, I'm not attacking anyone! I might post a couple scriptures and my condolences (as needed) Then they delete them because its not "canonical", when it entails exactly to what they're writing about. (sorry, venting mildly)

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Eh... I wouldn't take that personally, Wakerra! I have a friend who posts a lot of political stuff on Facebook. Some of it is pretty offensive, in my opinion, but I don't bother commenting. Well, another friend did comment with arguments against the first guy's posts. First guy complained to me because he wanted the page to reflect his views and not his and everyone else's.

Since these things pretty much stay there forever, I suppose people have a right to let their page reflect whatever they want it to.

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

ya, I can't force anyone else to accept my opinions, and it is their page. Still, it just kind of miffs me a little. I'm trying to be helpful, or sympathetic, or I feel like I have really good insights, and they just delete it. Perhaps its just my "need to be right all the time" that's emerging again...seems that's one of the many things God is trying to tell me to work on. Seems to happen a lot when you're a missionary C:

pat 3 years ago

Just ignore the other person, and eventually they will feel bad and start to talk to you.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Some people don't come on regularly and have their settings to "require approval" before it will show up, too. This might be something that you're coming across.

Tashaonthetown profile image

Tashaonthetown 3 years ago from South Africa

communication is important in a relationship and sometimes you do get angry enough to give the silent treatment. I am guilty of that myself but verbal abuse is not on! Great article

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

It's normal and healthy to take a time out sometimes, but when it's used to exert control, it does become abusive. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tasha!

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

in some cases, they're automatically approved, then removed, or one person deleted my comment and posted reply that because I linked an article from an LDS page, and he was very anti, he'd deleted my comment without looking into it.

Thanks for letting me vent a little, I feel better now. I can't do anything about other people's choices/behavior (much as it frustrates me, you can't change free-agency)

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

You're welcome! I have to say, I also delete most comments with links in them just because I don't know if it could be linking to something with a virus.

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

virus is one thing, but discrimination against a particular religious site is another

cas88 3 years ago

I am going through this with my boyfriend of a year. One fight about anything usually ends up in a silent treatment episode of 2 days and could last up to weeks on end. I always apologize if i do something wrong but he cannot. I don't understand it. He has such an inflated ego and feels like he is always right. We are now going on day 3 of the silent treatment after he talked incredibly nasty to me a few days ago out of nowhere. When things are great (more times they are often than not), they are AMAZING and I am on cloud 9. When a small tiff comes up, I mean really really petty crap, he shuts down and goes into hibernation until I apologize or he misses me so much he will contact me. If he is in the wrong it usually takes a week for him to come around. I love this man to death, I would die for him, but he is killing me inside whenever he does this. I am not sure how much longer i can deal as i am on my ends rope. I know he loves me but for christs sake, how much can one person take being ignored for such petty things? it's insanity and I know he is not happy about it. I know he is crumbling inside every time so I don't understand why he does this to me, but more importantly, himself.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

I'm sorry you're going through this, Cas. I hope you found some helpful information here, because that's not a good way to handle relationship conflict, especially if you want a lifetime partner!

Justaboutfedup 3 years ago

I'm going through the same thing but what I think is some guys who are just playin u will use the silent treatment to avoid dealing with the issue of them playing u, not treating u right. People use the silent treatment to hide to. My guy actual started yelling and being mean all because I told him that he doesn't call me anymore and he use to when we met. We've only been serious for a month and he will text me but never ca unless its late at night and it see he is just checking up on me or seeing if I would come over for movie and sex. I nicely spoke to him about the issue of not taking me out at least for ice cream or calling me during the day and each time he yelled and accused me of being crazy. He says why do I got to call I when I just saw u 8 hours ago. That was for sex and sleep. Again he will only call me at night and ask what I'm doing. Because I pointed this out and mentioned he called me the frst week we met he flipped out and told me he does not want to speak me. He hung up and ignored by text. He is stonewalling me with silent treatment. I been through it before and what I decided that if a guy give me silent treatment over something so petty and be insensitive I'm done. I leave him cause it will lead to physical abuse. Silent treatment is used to control and abuse. I'm leaving my so called boyfriend. It's a wrap between me and him today. I won't let any man stone wall me anymore. It is not cool and it hurts deep.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Justabout, thank you for calling attention to this. I'd written this with long-term, established marriages in mind, but I will develop it to include more about situations like yours... the bootie caller. I'm glad you value yourself enough not to let someone get away with that!

barbat79 profile image

barbat79 3 years ago from Connnecticut

Children can try a parent in similar fashion. The road to correction is not easy, but when not becoming a part of whatever game is attempted, while they may escalate to begin with, the end result is absolutely the best.

The message must be clear and consistent. No turning back or giving in and they will ultimately respect you. ( meantime you can respect yourself)

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Yes, they can!

barbat79 profile image

barbat79 3 years ago from Connnecticut

Great Hub Thank you!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks! :)

3 years ago


sarah 3 years ago

am so encouraged by this dating a guy who gives me a silent treatment after a disagreement.goes for days without talking to me,replying text or picking my calls.sometimes even in distress out of his own issues he fumes at me and can't talk to me.he is a great guy and treats me like a queen when he is himself but this behavior turns me off. he is divorced with 2 kids and his ex wife gives him hell too.she cheated on him and i don't know if the problem started then or that's how he is as a person,but i don't know how to deal with it anymore. we have been together for a year now

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for stopping in, Sarah. I hope you found some useful tips here.

Blossom 3 years ago

I'm not sure if I'm receiving the silent treatment or if I've been broken up with. Either way he won't respond to any texts, emails, or calls. He hasn't blocked me on social media. I just can't get him to contact me. I have apologized after our minor argument over text but I don't know what he's thinking. It has been 14 days since he has acknowledged me, during the fight, and 5 days since I sent him an email telling him I would give him some space. I have not heard anything. I'm beginning to think his silence is his way of wanting me to go away and that our relationship is done. Any insight would be very helpful. I don't want to move on without a definite answer that this is done. But he won't respond!!!

This article was wonderful in the fact that it reaffirms that I probably should not contact him because I will just give him an ego boost and he will continue to ignore me because he knows I'm not going anywhere. Is this true?

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Tough call, Blossom, and sometimes we never do get the closure we'd like. There's no way to know what he's thinking, but you made contact and it did not work. If it was me, I'd assume broken up and start moving forward. IF he came back, I'd give him ONE warning that his behavior was unacceptable - treating me as if I didn't exist, and if he blew it, I'd move on again.

Blossom 3 years ago

I actually sent him one last email yesterday saying "hi" and hoping he's doing well. I did ask if we had broken up or if he was still mad about our argument. He responded!! Finally. He told me he needed time. That with everything going on in his life, his ex wife, kids, work, and his fathers health issues, he felt like he was in a pressure cooker.

What does it mean when someone needs time?? Is this the beginning of the end?

lovedoctor926 3 years ago

This hub is awesome. Good information here. I don't know how I would handle this if I was married, but if I was dating someone and they started giving me the cold shoulder silent treatment, I would give them the same treatment back. monkey see, monkey does. No response. Indifference hurts more than anything. thank you for sharing.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

I'm afraid that is usually a way for someone to say "I'm not into you" without making themselves look bad. This is not ALWAYS true, but about 9 out 10 times it is. The smartest thing you can do is continue with your life as if he isn't in it (because he's not!). Continue enjoying your hobbies, your friends, date people. Whatever happens, happens.

If you wait and hope, he'll be likely to see you as someone who is weak. He won't value you for loyalty.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, LD926!

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

I like the warning you put in big bold letters about signs of emotional abuse while dating. Demand respect early on and give it as well. Silent treatment is not respectful. That behavior is very ingrained and if you marry someone like this, you'll be encountering this treatment for many years to come. Good hub on a good topic.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Flourish! I agree that requiring others to demonstrate respect is a good way to avoid lifelong problems. The idea of "working on getting there" just does not work well!

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arijitm2000 3 years ago from Mid-west, Texas, Jersey, Florida, Mumbai, & Hyderabad (India)

Nicely written, & a lot to think about...The abuser seems to be a "him"...& I'm a very liberal human being & I've been on the victim's end more often than not (don't really prefer the term victim, seems a little harsh on the "abuser", also a bit harsh, but on the receving end let's say)..but I love the analysis & kudos to you "jellygator" for laying out this thought-provoking hub...I'm just sentimental right now to read this...

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Arijitm2000, and thank you for leaving your thoughts. I did write this for a woman's perspective, but women can also be abusive - every bit as much as men!

Gina 3 years ago

I've gone thru this very thing with my ex. He did it early I. The relationship and I shut that behavior down quick. I explained how disrespectful it was and immature to run away from problems or disagreement. Most cases it was that I didn't agree with HIS way. I do have my own mind and opinions. I told him we won't always agree and sometimes we may need to agree to disagree.

Flash forward two years when his personal world was crumbling down on him. He was financially in a crunch, his ex was threatening custody of his kids, his retirement is upcoming, and add the fact that his self esteem has suffered off and on since we first met. He started giving me the silent treatment. I felt bad because of his situation and would break the ice by saying something nice or apologizing for unknowingly upsetting him. He would then reset back to normal but would go back to silent mode whenever he felt crappy about HIMSELF. I finally told him that the silent treatment I'd a form of abuse and I didn't deserve this. He of course denied he was giving me the silent treatment but I got the feeling that it made him feel in control of SOMETHING in his warped life by being silent with me. Then the guilt of treating me silently would cause him guilt....which would then cause him to turn angry and bitter.

Silent treatment truly is a form of abuse. It was the way he and his ex wife dealt with problems even tho he knows It's not healthy. He talked about them going weeks of being silent. That's not a healthy relationship and surely not a healthy and respectful way to treat someone you care about.

Anyway, after so many times of reiterating that silent treatment was like saying to me that I'm not worthy of acknowledgement, he finally came around after I stopped trying to give apologies and stopped making excuses for him. But by then, the damage had been done. Trust had been broken. While he was stubbornly and selfishly trying to ignore and deny the love and respect I deserved, I lost confidence in his breakthrough.

We're broken up and he's still dealing with his insecurities, fears, and shame. I see him trying to be a better person. But why now after the fact?

I enjoyed reading your article. I believe the silent treatment had lots to do with having control of the situation and self. I also believe It's an escape of reality in hopes that the issues just go away or that the person they offended will forgive and forget.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you for such a thorough and insightful post, Gina! Did you notice how early on, he stopped when it was clear you wouldn't tolerate it, and when you caved a bit by apologizing when you'd done nothing wrong the problem got worse, and then improved again when he saw clearly that you were not going to accept it?

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Daddy Paul 3 years ago from Michigan

I have never tolerated the silent treatment. You don't have to. Simply gently confront the silent one. If that does not work become progressively annoying.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

LOL... that strikes me as humorous at first glance. At second glance, I thought, "That's gotta be different for men and women." Then I started typing and find myself wondering, "What if?" But of course, always use caution and stay safe.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you very much! :)

cjarosz 3 years ago

This was an excellent hub. Very insightful. Flowed very well. Although, nothing like my relationship. I'm always the silent one. My husband will go crazy nagging at me if I don't talk to him. Still, I liked this very much.

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jellygator 3 years ago from USA Author

Thank you! Does your husband need these tips? ;)

bmoore56 2 years ago

Thanking God I found this hub because I am afraid I have lost my future husband. He is disappointed I quit my job, but my job became unbearable causing my blood president to spike. I had a stroke at a young age and I am afraid of stress. I just can not believe he has not called me in over five days and has not come over in almost a week. I always cook for him and he stooped carrying food home about a month ago and it is bothering me. He is sixty and I am fifty-seven years old, so we are not children. This is not the first or second time he has done this but it is wearing me out.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Sorry you're going through something so painful, BMoore... And I hope you found some useful information here.

Mag 2 years ago

I'm going through this too! I've been n this relationship for 3 years. He's a wonderful man n I do love him. We just get mad over the little things n he gives me the silent treatment it's a harsh punishment. He's not confrontional and does not like to address the issue. I believe he thinks the longer he gives me silent treatment we don't have to speak about the problem. I don't know what to do at this point. This takes a lot of energy from me!

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

John Gottman talks about avoidant relationships, hostile-engaged (meaning a lot of destructive arguments), hostile disengaged (not many arguments, but dislike each other on many levels), and collaborative (both partners look for a win-win solution). Believe it or not, having different conflict resolution styles can doom relationships, too. I hope you'll try some of the techniques on this page, but if you discover that your conflict resolution styles are incompatible, think carefully before you marry someone like this, Mag!

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violet-femme 2 years ago from Australia

For me, it's sometimes hard to know the difference between the silent treatment, or my boyfriend just needing some space. I suppose it goes hand in hand really, if you feel out of control then generally you will probably need space to sort things out and feel secure again.

Sometimes I'm really good at just doing my own thing and not acting hurt when he becomes cold and distant. His distance doesn't last very long when I can stay strong in myself.

But then when I'm in a bad place and break down and let him know that I'm upset by his actions, that's when it just seems to make everything SO much worse. I'm not blaming myself, it's just interesting to see that if we (on the receiving end of stonewalling) can try our best to stay strong and confident in ourselves, it's like it tells the other person that their world isn't perhaps as out of control as they may feel it is, that they can rely on us to be strong while their world is crumbling. I know it's hard to respond in such a neutral and quietly loving way when the behaviour is so hurtful and unhelpful.

The best thing I've taken from this article is that the silent treatment is a signal that they are feeling like they need a sense of control. If I can keep this in mind next time it happens, I hope that it will bring a sense of sympathy rather than anger.

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barbat79 2 years ago from Connnecticut

Perhaps I misread the article or missed something, but the person who is stonewalling is utilizing the behavior as a tool...manipulating and is directing at a person for the very reason of hurting/controlling that person. In my eyes, I make no bones about this "junk" and if that is how they are seeing a relationship, I say bye.

The mind games are just more of a depraved cycle of abuse and could change in climate to something worse.

Moping is one thing...a person may do that but not with the intent to cause the other to feel pain. Some people just want others to feel pain because they do themselves

and violet-femme, you are right on the money to be angry if he does this to manipulate you. if not then God Bless you both.

Bottom line in life is we must take care of ourselves and sharing life with someone is just that...not taking over not manipulating no games and no insults. The strength lies in the knowledge that you recognize the behavior and don't play into it and move on......It just isn't worth it..

People attempt to control others because as it was pointed out, they feel out of control themselves/ or as I prefer out of balance...if it is consistent then that is not a healthy person to be around. Control freaks focus on others since they are insecure in themselves and it shows eventually...if it was not evident before. Some go out of their way to attempt to create misery because they may harbor misery in themselves. Good people can be few and far between, but I much rather wait than suffer. If you don't let go of a bad relationship, then you never open yourself to the possibility of there being more...someone good, something good to share. It does happen.

Move on and keep the strength VF you we all deserve go for it, not less If I read this all wrong just ignore the post and I wish you all well! Take care.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

It can definitely be hard to understand if someone's withdrawing to sort things out in their minds or if they are trying to be hurtful. In either case, it stems from a person seeking more control, but it's definitely important to uphold our self-respect, too!

You've hit on a crucial element, VF: when the silent treatment doesn't work, people don't keep using it. If you normally don't respond to it, and he gets over it quickly and later talks about the issue after he's ready to interact again, then it's probably getting space. On the other hand, if the topic always triggers silence or if you have to apologize before things will be ok again, it's likelier to be emotional abuse.

Nancy shilton 2 years ago

Ahh I'm enduring being treated bad , it's a lonely journey .. I've just moved in with my partner and he's controlling ways are shocking , abusive and hurtful I had my own flat gave up being on my own to move on with him ... I miss my family and feel so alone ... I will leave him soon if he dosent change I will find the strength to fly away like a free bird ... And make a new home even if that means being on my own . I can't tell you readers what an endurance it is to live with a person that calls his girlfriend a reptile ... I'm starting to find my strength as u read all the articals on this page ... I will stand up for myself and leave ... Anyone else like me please get in touch At Shilton. Nanc I know I'm not alone there's loads of women being treated like crap by there partners out there we must find the strength to leave them . We have the right to be happy we are not on this earth for long !

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Nancy, I hope you do find the strength to take care of yourself. I do have to let people know that there's a risk to sending e-mail to you, though.

turtle 2 years ago

This is my marriage, every three months, like clockwork. I wish I had understood what I was getting myself into when I was dating. I am a generally happy person and when things are going well I love our life. But my patience dried up years ago. When my husband goes cold and distant he calls me unthoughtful or arrogant for not understanding why, or worse. I used to apologize and tell him I'm ready to talk whenever he was. Now I don't guess and I'm really not all that sollicitious anymore. I want techniques to preserve my sanity at this point. I like the idea of telling him silence means he agrees with me. What I do is tell him it's his choice to be unhappy but I don't want to be unhappy with him. This flies against the advice of all the therapists I realize. But I will not spend much time around him while he's sulking. Maybe it does wonders for his blood pressure but not mine. Life is too short to waste it on so much concentrated negativity. He wastes months of both our lives by piling unnecessary angst.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Such a shame, turtle! I doubt that it's helping his blood pressure, either! I love what you said - that it's his choice to be unhappy, but you don't have to choose to be unhappy with him. I hope you'll get back to us and let us know how it works when you inform him that as far as your concerned, his silence means his agreement. I know it has made a big difference in my relationships.

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Lyn.Stewart 2 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

Great advise my partner uses the silent treatment on me on rare occasions for days - to just over a week.

I will definitely try this technic as it is the best one I've heard that sounds like good advice and I'd like to stop this behaviour.

Accepting the behaviour or apologising is akin to positively reinforcing the behaviour in my mind and is not something I would do.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Please let us know how it works for you, Lyn!

John 2 years ago

You say you hear more women than men complaining about getting the silent treatment. And yet everyone knows that women use this tactic much more than men do. I think this proves that not only are women more emotionally abusive than men, but they are also the biggest complainers. They complain about everything and refuse to be happy. I really don't have any use for women anymore.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Well, John, I doubt either of us can "prove" anything based just on our own experiences! Personally, I think both men and women are abusive, and to about the same degree, but in different ways. Some women may be physically abusive, for instance, even though studies report that men are more likely to resort to physical abuse. If I've known women who beat up their guys, that doesn't mean that I'm right if I conclude that women are more likely to be abusive. I hope that you never have a "use" for women, but instead, find women whose friendship is worth treasuring. Best wishes.

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amiebutchko 2 years ago from Warwick, NY

This is a great article on an important topic. It is well written with very good optimization and product offerings. I think it will help a lot of people!

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Amie!

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mrsannestedt 2 years ago from Alabama

I agree the silent treatment can be hurtful. I have been in relationships where that was the best form of communication. I have been both the giver and receiver. Neither was enjoyable and all had the same outcome. The silent treatment is a clue that something is not right. Good communication is key to a successful relationship. My husband and I now know if either one of us is quiet for more than 30 minutes something in on our mind. We calmly listen to each other so we can work together to resolve the issue. We don't have a lot of those moments but when we due and they are resolved we grow stronger a couple.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

So glad to hear you have found a good solution. May I ask how your husband and you had that AHA! moment, or did your changes occur gradually?

mrsannestedt profile image

mrsannestedt 2 years ago from Alabama

Over time we both decided that it is much easier to talk things out than to just let them fester. We are each other's best friend so it is easy to talk about anything or just nothing.

Sasha 2 years ago

I never thought about the silent treatment being abusive until now. My boyfriend told me a story that I had a hart time believing. He was in route to my house and he asked me what was wrong with me. I said nothing and he said if it had anything to do with us he'd want to know. So I calmly asked him a couple of questions about the story he told me and he was turning around to go home. I haven't spoken to him in three days since it happened. I've called and sent a text and no response.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I hope yoy get it sorted out Sasha!

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suraj punjabi 2 years ago from jakarta

Great article. In my case I do anything but give the silent treatment. If I see something I don't like I address the issue with my wife. Many times in fact, it is my wife who gives the sort of silent treatment. When I ask her what's wrong and she says "nothing" in THAT way..when that happens I poke her like a piñata till everything comes out of her. I hate it when she keeps it bottled up. I have showed her early on if you have a problem you talk don't give me that "nothing" routine. You talk. Sometimes it can get ugly but I am very sure it will be more ugly in the future if we keep things bottled up inside of us. So I am doing both of us a favour by poking her like a piñata, its so we can come to a solution and move on in life and maybe someday laugh about this stupid problem we had.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I am so glad you've found a solution that works for you guys, Suraj. Sometimes humor is a terrific way to ease anger, isn't it?

kgmonline profile image

kgmonline 2 years ago from Czech Republic

Thank you jellygator. Your article was really informative. The thing that really caught my attention was where you said that abusers are calm inside when they are in their rage state but still keep on doing all the hurtful things they are doing. The contrast of the external and internal state of being of the abuser is quite scary.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for your kind words, kgm. I agree. It was the scariest thing for me when I saw it firsthand, too.

Far Away from Home 2 years ago

Out of my 2 days research to find something useful how to deal with Silent treatment behavior this one that gives some practical and useful advice. I want to try for the sake of my children. Thank you!

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I'm glad you found some helpful tips, Far Away from Home. When people share it, like it, pin it, or tweet it, it can help it stay higher in search engine results so it can be found easier.

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mathira 2 years ago from chennai

jellygator, silence can kill the peace of any relationship as you never know what he\she is thinking. Open arguments are far better than adamant silence. Excellent tips for a good relationship.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

While some silence can be good, I agree that it can definitely kill a relationship, too! Thanks for reading and commenting, Mathira!

Suzy q 2 years ago

My husband is extremely cold and seems like he has no emotions at all. I get a text twice a day saying I love you. That is as far as any love goes.

People take his quietness as niceness.

I'm not allowed to see my adult kids or my grandkids or else he pouts. He screams at me when they are here.

I don't get any needs met whatsoever.

I think it is abusive

Am I wrong?

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Suzy, that sounds miserable! Is it abusive? I don't think I can answer that one. I would let him pout and remind him that he can get glad in the same britches he got mad in. However, what I can say for certain is that every day you accept chronic conditions you don't like is a day that you are mistreating your SELF!

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Life is short, and spending it with someone who is emotionally abusive is one way to make it seem like a nice long prison sentence. You did a nice job presenting the topic and your perspective and hopefully it helps.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you so much, Flourish.

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kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hi, JellyGator, and what a terrific hub you have written. I loved it. Very helpful and informative.

I voted up and all the choices to choose.

One day I will have as many comments as you have on this piece. Wow. I am so glad that I met you on HP and have you for a friend and follower.

Keep on doing these fine hubs.


jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Kenneth. This was one of the first hubs I wrote, I believe, which is probably the reason for so many comments!

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

You are welcome. Your writing is very colorful and exciting. So glad to have you as my friend and follower.

WifeyLover 2 years ago

I believe that if anyone is in a relationship where all types of emotional abuse are being dished out, it tells me that either the pair should not be paired because one is pushing the wrong buttons and the other is too emotional or the pair love each other so much that if anything at all is upsetting, one or both cannot handle it. If my wife and I have a disagreement and she finds that she isn't coming out on top, she will go off the subject all together and begin to criticize and slander and belittle me for the purpose of getting me upset, then when she is satisfied that I have gotten p___t off enough, only then will she go silent and silent for days. I have learnt to deal with it. I think "this is nice and peaceful so I can read without interruption. And after she has been silent for a few hours, I try to carry on like all is well in the household, like I will say, I don't know if you are hungry or not but if you are, I have made some stir fry. Sometimes she will eat it after I am done at the table and other times she will ignore me and make something different for herself. Have I expanded too much on my dilemma?

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

No Wifey, you have not expanded too much at all! It's great to hear your feedback, especially since this shows a side of the issue that I haven't covered as well: how men handle this. This is something that I've heard many women complain about, but not nearly as men seem to have problems with it.

marybeth 2 years ago

Thank you for a great article, just finished reading Whos Pulling Your strings, highly recommend to all. I have a husband who withdraws from me in every way possible, emotionally physically and sexually, top that off with the stonewalling and silent treatment, very difficult, so will be very interested to know your understanding of withdrawing from physical and sexual contact. If it wasn't that he was diagnosed with a progressive illness in the some years ago WHILST in the RAF, (he is still in fulltime work and out of the RAF) I would seriously consider leaving. He also has a huge issue with alcohol, has had since a very young age. He hates if I have an opinion, or if im right, or asking him about his behaviour. In his words, im TOO hard TOO soft Too devensive, being awkward, list goes on. Im learning to carry on, ignore, set boundaries, especially when hes been drinking, but just occasionally cry myself to sleep. It hurts. I deserve to love, and be loved, but NOT in this way...

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you for reading and commenting, Marybeth. I agree that you should love and be loved - in a way that feels GOOD!

I'm confused about why his illness qualifies as motivation to voluntarily stay for abuse. It's up to YOU to value yourself enough to surround yourself with people who love you and treat you well. What if a doc said to you, "Marybeth, you have a progressive illness that will only get worse over time. It's a disease called codependency. Symptoms aren't always bad, and at times may not be present at all. In fact, sometimes you might like the symptoms because you'll feel stronger and more capable after each bout. However, those symptoms generally progress to feelings of worthlessness, anger, and depression that can be crippling and hamper your relationships with others for the rest of your life. These progressive symptoms can prevent you from finding joy and happiness, and can result in power struggles with anyone that tries to have a relationship with you." Which disease would have your attention then - his or yours?

VP 2 years ago

Hi.. This article helped me in understanding what potential output we are expecting of the silent treatment sometimes consciously and sometimes not. Studies that we refer to, keeps changing with people over time and I would be more agile in my learning though there is no right solution but the best solution to a problem. I am in pursuit of seeking knowledge to do things right. Is there somewhere you have shared your observation on excessing shouting treatment, though I know you did touch on a bit on two ways of abusiveness? I agree that both ways are indeed pointing to gaining control. I am seeing more instances of money and divorce and less patience increasing among people and inclined to immediate results? I guess with world moving fast, even relationships are going fast. I came across an article where 70’s-90’s are resulting in more divorce than later. Here again the time is not matured yet to comment on the later generation. Men and Women are made with some differences both mentally and physically with a reason and not all have the complete knowledge including me as to why, but yes the debate never ends. If we learn to appreciate/respect the differences and work out things patiently, my belief is it will sustain any relationship. Such articles like you have shared indeed helps for both men and women. I have heard many say/share that I loved a person but not anymore but the same person as a father/mother exhibit limitless patience to their children even if things go wrong. I guess it is all in the mind/intelligence that we possess with experiences we had since childhood driving things differently and rationalize relationships (son, daughter, father, mother, son-in-law, daughter-in-law etc.,). I am glad to have come across your article. Thank you. If there are any other articles of your’s in sustaining breaking relationships please let me know.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi VP, and thank you for reading. I haven't done any studies directly, but I do have other articles on related topics. If you click on my username up at the top of this article, where it says, "jellygator," you'll see a list of my articles. I have quite a few on relationship topics that may interest you.

bubblez 2 years ago

Well my problem is this guy I been talking To on and off with for 2years he wanted to be with me but I couldn't then I didn't want him to be a rebound I Wanted tell make sure I genuinely liked him and when I moved to ga in 2012 he was upset he loved me wanted to do the distance but I told him no he was convinced but he got tired of it and we didn't talk asmuch so we stopped talking then he came back around but it was nothing like that I went back last june and he had a girl so we kept our convo appropriate well ill speed up the story we hung out afTer his Relationship while I was theRe we got into a fight before I left he didn't know I was Leaving and I dIdn't tell him I just left and he got upset I didn't say bye and when I got here we tried talking again He wanted to be with me but I said no cause the distance and he was like fine leave me the fuck alone bitch and all that well I was hurt apologized but he was gone for like 4 days cauSe he was mad then hit me up we talked a few days and I decided to finally date him we weRe good I know He works a lot of doubles and oVernights then he spends time with his son let me remind you no matter what he says goodmorning and goodnight to me every day well he Said goodmorning may 24th I said it back after an hour he didn't respond which I was already feeling Some type of way cauSe we barely talked for 2 days so I flipped out on him saturday all day after the goodmorning I just started flipping all day Saturday all day sunday and all day monday I even started calling monday back to back to back annoyed him thinking I'd get a response but I didn't and he blocked me and still hasn't reached out he didn't eVen break up with me or respond and I'm hurt cause I know I was in the wrong but he blocked me which I would have alSo but still like what do you think I should do now? MoVe on or is this normal because he always tells me he cares to much to let me go and 2 years ago use to love me but now idk.... any advice?

bubblez 2 years ago

By the way this is the first time he has ever blocked me didn't even break up with me I know I Said hurtful things I apologized and its almost two weeks since we talked tomorrow I don't wanna let him go but I don't know what else to do or expect

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Any man who EVER says, "Leave me the f*** alone, b*tch" is NOT someone who will ever, ever, ever be your soul mate.

What advice would you give your best friend if a guy did her this way?

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

May I? And I hate to interrupt, but I would tell my best friend if she just happen to be a female . . .LEAVE THE JERK. GET A LAWYER. SUE HIS BUTT.

Women aren't tangible gifts that God gave men to do their serving, work, and waiting on them and more importantly, WOMEN ARE NOT MEN'S PUNCHING BAGS!!

bubbles 2 years ago

Jellygator I understand what your saying the only reason I forgave him is because I called him a no good nigga but he apologized and I apologized I'm just saying like I feel if he didn't want anything to do with me he would just say that before or instead of blocking me but the one day after he said goodmorning to me I Said it back after a hour I spazzed cause he dIdn't respond and I kept spazzing back to back to back from saturday through monday and started calling monday and he blocked me didn't say anything but all I need help with is knowing if I should move on or not I usually would but he is finally well was finally opening up to me and everything afTer two years of trying but the way he is Set up he doesn't fully trust anyone not eVen his mother and that's why I don't wanna give up I just need advice on what to do like I toLd him you need to communicate with me more and he'd say ok so what do you wanna communicate about like I just need advice on if I should move on or wait and then correct this ignoring thing when we talk tomorrow will make 2 weeks since he talked to me which to me feels much longer... so please help me I greatly appreciate it.

bubbles 2 years ago

By the way he pursued this relationship after two years and I finally gave in because I do love him does that affect the possibility of him unblocking and talking to me I moved from tHat state to ga 14 hours away and he still pursued it which we have the visits worked out from him coming heRe and of going there I just want to also know if because he pursued this relationship and kept pushing it does that mean he's more likely to unblock me and talk to me than to never talk to me again. ? By the way I'm sorry my comments are both bubbles and bubblez

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Sounds to me like both of you are confused about what love means!

You simply do NOT treat people you love this way. You do NOT call people names, block them, and ignore them to show them how much you love them. These are the kinds of things people do to HURT PUNISH others.... to MANIPULATE others.

Healthy love does not look like this.

bubblez 2 years ago

Your right and I appreciate you and your advice I feel I was in the wrong for this I really pushed him to his limit I just wanna know if there is hope of fixing this of him coming back? He was actually changing for the better and opening up to me more I just want to know from what you know this being his first time blocking me from calling and Texting him do you know if he'll comeback or not I feel we could work through this I just don't know if I shoUld expect him back or not.

Neoma Jackson 2 years ago

This is an excellent article. Women give the silent treatment too, but typically it is men, using this as a method to get their own way. It is usually displayed by a childish, selfish, inconsiderate man that doesn't want to hear anyone's opinion other than his own. I was married to an alcoholic for 39 years. I loved him very much and actually he had a stroke and I gave him very professional, excellent care at home so he would not have to suffer the abuses of a nursing home. He was unable to do anything for himself and was only given one year to live. I monitored his medicine very carefully and he lived 8 years. But these 8 years were the only years out of 39 that I didn't have to walk on egg shells worrying about what he was going to blow up at me about and then how long I would be given the silent treatment. As a matter of fact, very often I welcomed the silent treatment. When ever I thought I could not take it any longer I just repeated these words to myself; for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, until death us do part.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Bubblez, many people go back and forth even when they are not compatible. If you leave him alone, he'll probably be back, but you will still be two people who push each others' buttons in all the wrong ways!

Neoma, thank you for reading and commenting. I can imagine that sometimes the silent treatment would be almost a relief! I'm thinking that your husband was a lucky man to have found someone who took her vows seriously and tolerated so much.

Bubblez 2 years ago

Jellygator your right I mean I can admit my faults I had insecurities because he Has a 5 year old son and all my friends would say that a man at his age is probably still messing with his childs mother and that got to me and he told me that's not true all men don't and he says men that want some will go to there childs mom I always had that thought in the back of my head and I'd get mad over eVery little thing I never had a reason to get mad or upset and I just want to apologize to him but it's been two weeks and I feel I lost him for good but I pray not. Also another question do you know what it sounds like if someone blocks you from a sprint phone?

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Bubblez, I'm sorry you're in pain right now. You are wasting your time to analyze this. Focus on yourself and find ways to be your own best friend. It will do you good and help your romantic life fall into place if you can learn to do that.

bubblez 2 years ago

So just give up on him I mean I'm continueing with my life and eVerything other guys Try to talk and eVerything but I can't let go of him eVen Though I get diScouraged I feel he'll be back so....

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

It's your life, my dear. Only you can decide how to live it.

Marcy Appl 2 years ago

As an ex-wife of a man who used the silent treatment often, Bubblez, be glad you are not stuck in a marriage with this dude and get out now. During our relationship before marriage, Ex was really nice and loving, but once we got married, he started acting like a jerk. He didn't have to be nice anymore. If your guy is already acting this way, time to go, yo.

The longest he ever went without speaking to me was 21 days. Do you know how painful it was to live with someone who would not acknowledge my existence for three weeks? I was married for life - thought I would die of old age with that man. He screamed at me to "Get the f*** out of his house," so I left him, thinking we would get counseling. Nope. He refused to speak to me for eleven days and then called to ask what we were doing about taxes, since we were getting a divorce. Um, what?

You need to leave. You don't deserve to be with someone who mistreats you like that. Like I said before, be glad you can leave. Be strong.

redhearts16 2 years ago

Thank You Marcy and Jellygator I See where you both aRe coming from the only reason I'm stuck on him cause it was always me pushing him and I know I was wrong he finally got tired of me and blocked me without any word but I dId blow his phone up with text all saturday all sunday and all monday and started calling him monday also he just blocked me if I Would haVe stopped we would have been good but I woUldn't haVe learned my lesson

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Ven Maina 2 years ago

Thank you to the author and everyone who has participated in this articles, its really great and very helpful. Now i need your help with this problem, i don't understand why am not getting satisfied from answers given above. I and my boyfriend have been dating for 1.5 years after being best friends for 2 years. 17 days ago we had the an argument about him calling me late and i had really bad cramps, that means i was feeling moody. Since then he retreated into silent treatment and he is not responding to either my calls nor messages, but if i send him a bible verse on whatsapp he just checks and keeps quiet. He is not telling me whether i should move on or wait for him to cool off, now i feel confused and emotional and i don't know how to handle it. Should i consider the relationship over or i wait till he calls me? I still love him

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Rachel Harrison 2 years ago from Victorville, California

a question , i have 6 kids 2 of other fathers and four with my current husband. my 11 year old little girls father recently passed away. i hurt so much for my little girl . i even went to his vigil with her and come home my husband and i don't talk i know hes upset at this point. and hes been upset since this is day 3.. he has been calling me disrespectful, and saying i don't love him . he says i went overboard byattending the vigil.. was i wrong!!!!????? i almost want a divorce i expected him to help me support my daughter

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Ven, it sounds like this is not something he's done before. He did it in response to your own bad behavior (moodiness and blaming him for calling you late.) Perhaps he's hoping you'll learn that it feels bad when someone lets their mood be hurtful, but if this happens again, you might want to consider whether to let this kind of behavior into your world or not.

Rachel, your husband is being insensitive. If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't try to explain anything else. I'd back off and let him cope with his own feelings, but I would NOT try to solve his insecurities for him.

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Ven Maina 2 years ago

Thank you jellygator, i get your point. I would like to let you know that its not the first time but 3rd time, the first one lasted for 2 days, second lasted for 1 week and now the third its now 20 days. All this time i never realized its something serious. I would also like to note that he is a poor communicator, he never wants to solve anything whenever we have an argument. He once told me that am a quick/fast person while he is a slow person so we should go with his pace. I really feel confused because am a first timer victim. In the argument he is the one who started it and said that at work he had a long day and at home he can't handle an argument after we started talking. Also note we are in a long distance relationship. This makes things even worse for me. I keep wondering if i am the one who screwed things up. Thanks

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Ah, I see. Well, his response is telling you a lot. Remember what I said in the very first bullet point about what you can do?

-----Remind yourself that he feels uncertain and out of control, which is his own problem, not yours. You can say, "I recognize that you don't feel competent to handle this right now. Is there something I can do to help you get ready?" If he doesn't answer, accept that as his answer - there's literally "nothing" you can do.-----

Your relationship is still fairly young and you aren't married yet. I'm hoping you'll consider whether you want this kind of behavior to be an ongoing part of your life to come.

Ana 2 years ago

I really find this post helpful and just wanted to share my story: I have been in a relationship for almost 5 years now. The first 3 years or so were amazing, I felt like he was my soul-mate, my best friend. But the last almost 2 years have been horrible, we fight, what seems like, all the time. And it always follows the same scenario, he would be upset with something I say or something I do (more often than not it’s nothing, like me spending too much time with my mom or him becoming upset with me because I became upset with him), he gives me cold shoulder and stops talking to me. He does answer whenever I ask him something, but his body language, his speech, everything shows as though I am annoying him, like me talking to him makes him disgusted. I honestly feel like I am worthless, like I am in a way of his happiness, like my presence is torturing him.

Over the years I have been depressed, extremely unhappy and just overall not in a good place. I don’t want to continue apologizing when, in my heart, I know I did nothing wrong. I try talking to him, but most of the time he doesn’t want to talk, or as he says he doesn’t want “to make a scene”.

Yet I still think I love him, and at the same don’t want to continue this abuse. I’ve tried so many times to tell him that his treatment of me is killing me, it’s destroying my emotional well-being, my sanity, my self-worth, and he still continues doing it. I also think that he has gotten used to acting like this because in a way it is his way of controlling me.

I don’t know what to do, I have been contemplating leaving him for some time now, but always stop myself because I don’t want to lose him and because I know things can be great.

I spend the last night at my dad’s house, hoping to take a breather and think.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Ana. I'm glad you find this post helpful, and I hope you'll find the strength to be happy whether he wants you to or not, because that's really what my recommendations boil down to. You can tell him that his behavior is "killing you," yet you continue to participate, so he's thinking it must not be THAT bad! Remember that if you don't take it seriously enough to DO something, he won't either!

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Ven Maina 2 years ago

Thanks jellygator, am really considering your points and am finding them really helpful. I wouldn't want to go through this torture my entire life and i believe my happiness has to come within me, am going to do my best to hold my head high as i look out for more opportunities. While he is still uncertain about himself, i believe i have done my best. I will continue reading your comments so that in future i don't get tormented. Thanks

Shan 2 years ago

I am going through this and have been for 11 years. When I say something my husband doesn't like or we talk and he is the one that is wrong he will say a bunch of mean comments like pack your crap and get out if you don't like it or if I try to tell him how he makes me feel he will say awww you poor baby aren't you just a victim. I will try to keep things cool and he just keeps going and going I keep trying to just explain my side and he blows up... If you don't shut up I am going to hurt you. He CANNOT have a disagreement whatsoever! He has apologized to me one time in 11 years. Now, when he is good to me he is very good to me so in his mind I should be happy and just ignore the fact that we cannot communicate and that I feel totally alone, worthless, like scum on his shoe, not good enough to talk to and vulnerable. How do I have confidence when he tells me to leave if I don't like it? I know, I have to have the confidence in myself but this is my life and it hurts to feel like I am a piece of trash just blowing in the wind to someone who loves me 90% of the time but then could stab my eyes out the rest. I am not saying I am perfect but when he acts like this we can't get to the bottom of anything to find out who is wrong or right. This behavior takes center stage. I do not want my daughter to think this is ok, and know it has to stop just don't know how. Thanks for listening!

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Shan, Sorry you're going through this. Please focus on one thing you said, " I know, I have to have the confidence in myself but this is my life and it hurts to feel like I am a piece of trash just blowing in the wind to someone who loves me 90% of the time but then could stab my eyes out the rest."

If you want to not be treated horribly 10% of the time, you'll have to STOP treating yourself like you're so unimportant during that same 10% of the time. It's up to you to change that.

In many of my articles, I make suggestions that can help with communicating. In your case, it sounds like you could benefit from affirming and validating him (5 times for every criticism!) when you try to talk to him, but you know what? It might not work even then. If that's true, then only actions might work. Would walking away change things? Stopping completely and doing jumping jacks while he rages on? Speaking affirmations of your own? Writing things out?

In extreme cases, leaving is the only solution, but YOU have to take care of you... whatever it takes. If you don't, then you really can't complain when he doesn't.

Matt 2 years ago

This is funny, seeing as it's primarily women who initiate the silent treatment. Men aren't the ones to shit test and start mind games.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Did you actually read what I wrote about that, Matt?

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Why would you want to hang on to someone when neither of you acts like you're in the best relationship?

mimibaby 2 years ago

I want to be with him but im giving him time cause I did hurt him I know that and I know he cares he unblocked my phone number and wrote me that message randomly at 4am I must have been on his mind but he is very blunt so when I asked if he is over me im sshocked he didn't say yes but instead said he over the bs cause I spazzed and took him through with my insecurities I just want him back or at least the friendship back he really means a lot to me and do u know how much time this might take cause I have a feeling he is coming back I just don't know when

cynthia 2 years ago

I have been with my boyfriend for 4 months, he started with walking out from me, he could leave me in the car and later give me a silent treatment for a week,last time he did it and told me he was breaking up with me, I said is ok and didn't contact him for 3 weeks, he started acting like crazy saying he was sorry and begged me to take him back. Now he has initiated a silent treatment, he sends a good morning and good night message only....

I am getting tired of it, I just sent him a message today and told him that his behavior is tomenting me and I can't make it anymore, so I need to know if he is ready to see me or not so I can make my decision about the relationship.

He answered that he is ready to see me, I know he is always afraid of losing me, so he will stop it today, but sibce it is in gis blood, he will do it again and again.Plus he has a short temper, he fights with almost every friend and is rarebfor us to go out without him causing a scene with waiters.

My advice to all people with the same siruation as mine, is that once a person goes on silent, go on with your life, it is very difficult, but the best thing to do, and is better to look for a better man/ woman, ratherbthan having someone of that nature ( which am also considering doing),

It is a pity that my boyfriend has that behavior, but he is always a sweet man, he always attends to me, he is a muslim, but he allows me to go out to drink alcohol with or without him, and waits for me till I come back home ( we are not living together, but I sleep at his place regularly) and cooks for me everyday I stay at his house. His only problem is the silent treatment which is killing me

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Mimi, I hope that works out for you, but it'll be important to consider whether you guys are actually compatible, too. Please take a look at my article about the Five Pillars of Compatibility!

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Cynthia, I hope you can stay strong because you do deserve a relationship that doesn't punish you for weeks at a time! Best wishes!

mimibaby 2 years ago

Ill look it up right now but I mean our compatibility was good im not blaming myself but I think I threw the situation off when I spazzed the last time I feel that was his last straw with me

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Whenever I hear "last straw" and that people are "spazzing," it's a pretty good indicator that there is some important incompatibility. I have seen twice where it was able to be overcome by a couple, but it's extremely rare. Now add to it that you STILL really aren't in sync with each other, I'm thinking that it may not be in the stars for you two to live happily ever after, but of course, it's up to you to decide what to do. Best wishes.

Mike 2 years ago

It is unacceptable that this article is written with gender bias.

There is no justifiable reason; ("Most of the time I hear" is willfully myopic; more words spent excusing than correcting.)

This article, itself, participates in the very "silent treatment" which has perpetuated the bad behavior now reaching epidemic levels.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Mike. I understand and will respond to your first comments. I don't quite understand what you mean when you say that this article "participates" in the silent treatment, though. Can you please clarify?

As far as gender bias, I don't know how I could write on this topic without gender bias because of the fact that men and women *are* socialized differently, and I have not been exposed to enough men going through this or to enough women who behave in this way for me to address it adequately for males who are victimized in this way.

You say that this is short-sighted and unjustified. I have no way of evaluating your statement, but I'd be happy to invite you to add whatever you know of the male experience and how it compares.

Kim 2 years ago

Thank you. I have received the silent treatment because I have been sick and have not been able to fulfill my husbands needs. I was feeling very guilty about my illness until now.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Glad to hear that, Kim. Every human being deserves to be acknowledged.

Dave 2 years ago

I noticed in your blog that you use the word "he"...I think you forgot the letter "s" don't do the silent treatment, this is a silly woman thing.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I noticed you didn't read what I said about that, then! ;)

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CrystalGH 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

Very interesting read. "I believe most abusers - both physical and emotional - become abusive for one reason. They feel a deep need to regain control of their environments" is excellently stated.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, Crystal!

John 2 years ago

I had to laugh at this. The silent treatment is primarily a woman's tactic. The reason you hear more women complaining about it than men is because women are complainers. Trust me one this; women are the ones who give men the silent treatment. And it's not so bad. Most men would love it if their wives would just shut up once in a while.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Wow, bitter much? Not objective, but hey, you're entitled to an opinion, even if it is wrong!

Marlot370 2 years ago

In many ways your post was helpful so thank you for writing a thoughtful article. I do have a question about how to reconnect when the stonewaller is "done" giving the silent treatment and wants to make up and move forward as if nothing happened. One thing that I am experiencing and am unsure of how to deal with is that this behavior has been a recent but steady change for my husband of nearly 14 years. It has worsened in the last 2 weeks of him giving me the mostly silent treatment. Before the past year we have always had pretty good communication. The change is of course worrisome but I believe that he is going through some sort of identity crisis and feeling very vulnerable and I do feel sorry for him. I have intermittently tried to push (he retracts) and give space but neither has worked. He has at least said that he is trying to figure his stuff out (not being able to connect with me, friends, anyone except our 2 kids and his mom) and will not talk about it with me. One issue for me is that after more than a week of this, sleeping separately, punishing behavior, he will suddenly swoop in with a, "I love you very much," and give me a big kiss to indicate the silent treatment is now over. I cannot fake the, "Oh, okay, you are now being warm and acknowledging me so let's get back to our relationship." I AM sulky and feel my needs are not being met- not that he needs to share his problems, I recognize I cannot make him do that, but at what point do I get to say how I feel about his poor behavior? I want to act all casual and from your post and others I can see how showing his behavior has gotten to me feeds the behavior but it has gotten to me! I haven't read anything, including your piece that addresses how to deal with a stonewaller when he's running hot not cold. Since I cannot find a way to move forward inauthentically, I'm trying to avoid him thus perpetuating the dynamic. He refuses to go to counseling- I have been asking him for a year. I know I need to see someone without him which I will do asap. It is very sad bc while I'm pretty sure there's no other person in the picture now I feel like I'm watching a movie of the path we are set on as a result of this stonewalling and absolute refusal to communicate. What a waste of what I thought was a happy marriage. Any pearls of wisdom, articles or resources are appreciated. Thanks

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Oh, Marlot, I am so sorry to read about what you're going through! After 14 years, you'd hope that a relationship would have these things resolved, right? Your husband's behavior is well beyond a simple silent treatment to regain control. I'd venture that it sounds like he may have an affair of some sort going on. One excellent resource that I'd invite you to check out is an online forum called You'll find others who have been through similar.

Lisa 2 years ago

Ive been in a relationship with a guy for three months. Everything is going well the best man I have ever had. I normally have not so good of experiences with guys. This one showed me something different. Recently one day I realized I was initiating conversation via text and normally he would be the one. I got so used to getting random updates this day in particular I wasn't and I think I overreacted and sent him one of those "you r playing with my feelings text" He was taken back in confusion and said he would call. However the next day he didn't. I tried reaching out. Then the Monday he sent a really long text to me about hes not that type of guy and the state we are in the text made no sense. At the end of the text he apologize for telling me in a text and basically broke up with me. He said he wasn't in the state of mind to speak or explain. This left me broken. My entire week has been destroyed he completely shut me down and out of his life. I can't understand how it went from 100 to 0 so far. I'm sorry for what I said and regret it I want to talk it over and move pass it but he wont speak. Some people are saying give him space and wait. I'm afraid of losing a good guy. I want to fix it

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I have no idea if he will come around or not, Lisa, but I seriously doubt it. What you've described is something I have seen before, and it usually means it's done. You've already shown him a side of you that he immediately decided was not welcome in his life - and I doubt you'll convince him otherwise with just a three month history together! If he gives you another chance, it will have to be without any help from you. He's really guarded about you now. Hopefully, you'll recognize why your words really are *that bad* and never let this happen to another good man!

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sam777777 2 years ago from Queens, NY

I like your well-written hub! It is very informational and encouraging for people who deal with silent treatment in general. However, men and women should be put on equal platforms because they both are creatures that can be cruel and innocent. I'm saying this because the women in this hub seem very victimized. I believe usually both parties in the relationship can improve. Silent treatment is something that is given for many reasons. I believe it is used to just give space so they can reflect on themselves to see where they are wrong. It could also be used as to show where other party can be truly wrong because you have always confessed your mistakes and the other party does not when it is their turn. The cold shoulder has many reason and it is complicated psychology. In the end, it all comes to down to understanding what kind of person you are dealing with. According to how I perceive of this hub,I see the person giving the cold shoulder as heartless. If you come across those, then you should separate yourself from that person. Being heartless and ignorant is the last reason for the cold shoulder. The underlying statement is it takes two to tango. Both parties have to cooperate and see what the other party does not like and compromise. If the person does not want to tango, he or she is out. Of course, it is not that simple because it is the topic of relationship. I really liked this hub because it is controversial. It is a moment we can share our feelings and relate with the author. Keep up the great work! I will follow you to find more great info.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Sam, and thank you for your insightful comments. This hub is written for those who endure the silent treatment for days or weeks at a time. It's not intended for couples where one person withdraws for a couple hours while they think things through!

Ai yi 2 years ago

Good day.. Ive read dis article almost daily, to get me clear what's the effect, .... im doing " SILENT TREATMENT" to be last longer on to my wife.... Please help.. Need advice.. Were married almost 20yrs wid 2 kids. Shes working abroad, long distance partner. A contract worker. .. Its start late a year better more argument, financial issues.. I ask her to stop working abroad. But she denied.. Ive always support what her decision, ,, were a happy family.. But not at all.. Financial are more issues to us.. She ignore me to fix the issue. Ive explain a lot wid patience but it denied.. And in the most extreme patience.. I quit !! I don't want to talk it anymore, i don't want arguments, no mre conversations...ive deactivated my facebook account, coz of her i don't want to chat or talking on pone,, its almost 3months now.. I used Silent Treatment forever to her.. But i don't want to be broken marriage.... How to fix it.. Advice appreciated... Thank you.

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

There is just one way to fix it. One of you has to change.

Ai yi 2 years ago from Phillippines

Whos the most to be change? Im a silent man, i hate convrstions, and arguments... We have so many troubles, but im d one whos always fix the issues.. For the sake of my family... Im not one sided.. But now my last option is to quit on issues,,,,, I feel failed as of now... Thanx anyway... BeBless

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jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I think that what you are describing might be different than what this article is talking about, Ai yi, but if you have stopped talking to family members for days or weeks at a time, then you are not being a good partner. Hating conversations and arguments is ok. Quitting an issue is ok. Acting like you cannot see, hear, or talk to someone is not ok.

Todd 2 years ago

I agree about the difference between moping/sulking and intentionally resorting to the silent treatment but I have to be honest, I find this to be mostly a women's behaviour. Every single GF I've had, has done this. Many of the women at work act this way too. It's not a secret that more women give the silent treatment than men. Guys can sulk but I don't know too many that can go days without speaking when upset.

You fill a room with men though, and listen to the endless stories of getting the silent treatment from their women.

So it seems to be more of an issue and tactic that women resort to than men in my honest opinion. I'm of the belief that women generally speaking, never seem satisfied and usually play games on a much more frequent basis. This has been my experience. Try and get a straight answer from a woman. It's nearly impossible yet they want you to read their minds and somehow, know what's wrong and then they try to punish you.

Elizabeth Wood 2 years ago

I have a boyfriend who is a PRO at stonewalling. I daresay, if there was a nobel prize for stonewalling, he would be an annual winner. lol.

I never know what to do or what to say during this most torturing period. I tend to find myself in an ocean of tears every time, getting all emotional and thinking if I should leave him (although I know that to be quite impossible because I love him so much and we are engaged to be married).

He has been giving me the silent treatment for a week now. On the fifth day, I exploded and told him that I have had enough and that I hated him, and would leave him. At the time, I really meant it but to come think of it now, I regret hurting him the way I did because I know of his situation, being a super-busy, depressed, sensitive, emotionally vulnerable man who has been through a lot. I understand that he needs space sometimes, but I believe this is a little much and is quite unacceptable.

This time he has disappeared without even having to fight with me. We were perfectly happy then all of a sudden, "ting! he disappeared".

I want to know what it is I should say exactly when he finally reappears and decides that I am worthy of his time again. He usually comes back pretending nothing happened and everything is alright. How should I react when this happens? Should I reply him promptly and go with the flow or ignore him like he did me?

If I choose to reply him and pretend that I'm okay when I am not, it would give him the impression that I am desperate and at his beck and call (which I am not because in my opinion, we should always be there for our partners no matter what is going on just because we care and that relationships should never be treated like a game, using tricks and techniques to get a kind of result to their advantage).

However if I ignore him, then that would make me just like him and it would bring neither satisfaction to me nor closure to this problem.

I have already learnt a lot from you and I applaud your very detailed article.

It would be most appreciated if you could offer your advice on this matter. Thank you!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Todd, you aren't the first person to criticize the gender bias that's present in this article. As I stated, I've seen more women complain, but that it does apply to both sexes. Even the comments on this page seem to reflect specific examples coming from more women than men! However, it most definitely IS a problem that can be instigated by anyone, and the same techniques can work regardless of sex.

Elizabeth, the only answer I can give you as far as what you "should" do is to be "thoughtfully disengaged." Don't pretend to be ok or, for that matter, pretend to be anything that you are not! If you aren't ok, that's worth being honest about. You do not have to plead. You do not have to pretend.

Here's something to consider: If he were to remain silent forever - to forever give you the silent treatment and never consider how it affects you - how would you find a way to have a good life anyway?

Once you answer that question, you'll know how to move forward whenever he does this.

Elizabeth Wood 2 years ago

We have discussed about this situation once and he had agreed to try to not do it again. But, it seems he has forgotten.

Anyway, Thank you! That was a thought-provoking response. I will think about it

Need advice 2 years ago

First of all thank you for the information in this article. I found your article because I was searching for an advice on Google about how to cope with abuse and silent treatment and I am happy I found this information and am feeling hopeful I might get the specific advice from the author of this article. **I am not native English speaker, so I apologise if I make any mistake on my English writing. But I hope you will understand what I am trying to say here and give me an advice**.

I am 31, married for 8 years now, have a kid who is 6 and living with my husband which I think he is abuser. At this moment I am totally confused and don't understand what is really going on in our relationship and how to cope with this situation. Only thing I know for sure is something is wrong with our relationship and I am feeling unsure about my future life with my husband, even I wonder if it is the best solution to leave him.

When I got married with my husband, I thought he was quite, honest, humble, kind and calm person. I liked him and I fell in love with him because of I believed that found a person who I could be safe and happy with.

My husband likes to spend time with his friends and drinks. Actually he doesn't like to say "no", if somebody asks him to hang out with him and drink something together. And if he starts drinking he doesn't have control over how much drinking is enough and when is the time to go home. Especially when he is upset, he drinks way too much and spends his all money. (When he is sober, he is good dad and good husband. At least I think so). His this behaviour was bothering me almost from the early days since our marriage and each time I failed when I was trying to express my feelings, even we ended up with huge drama, argument followed by silent treatments over couple of days. Normally he apologised and I forgave him. I can remember he threatened me, hit objects, he will commit suicide if I don't stop nagging at him and blaming him for his drinking habit with his friends for few times when he was drunk. Over years my life is going like this. I didn't leave him because I trusted that he isn't that bad person to ruin our life and he would change and also I couldn't imagine I can raise my child by myself as I don't have much support from my family. I am financially dependent from him now.

He doesn't drink everyday but when he drinks he becomes totally different aggressive person. Initially he was better then now, he apologised, he promised to change and I could see he was trying his best to be better person. But I think he's getting worse gradually and even getting more aggressive then before when he's drunk now, even acting violently among his friends.

3 days ago we went to the party in his friends' house. Everything was OK until he made a trouble. I told him not to drink excess on that day and we had to go home not too late and he agreed. But as he drinks he forgot what I told him and drunk too much until he lose his control. I was too worried, because he claimed that he could drive home even though he was too drunk. As I insisted him to go home by taxi, he started getting angry at me because he was capable to drive car even if he's too intoxicated to walk straight and started creaming and pushing chairs. His friends tried to stop him he got more angry and fought with them. It was such as shame for me and it was the first time that he acted so violent among people (outside home). The saddest part was my kid witnessed all of his violent act on that night. He's friends took us home that night and that night I couldn't sleep well because I was disgusted, ashamed, disappointed with his acts and felt in doubt about our relationship. I felt insecure and worried my and my kid's wellbeing. I felt like I am walking on the eggshell. But I hoped that he would wake up and realise how bad he behaved last night and feel guilty when he's sober.

But next morning he didn't even feel guilty at all, didn't apologise, therefore he didn't communicate with me. I asked what was going on? but he told me he didn't remember anything because he got blackout last night. I asked him if is it right to drink like that and behave like that? and I told him that I am feeling insecure with him if he drinks like that and I am worried about our wellbeing, but he simply got angry at me and refuses to talk with me. We both got angry at each other (even though I don't understand what he is thinking and why he is refusing to confront with his drinking problem) and we didn't talk on that day. Since then we both treated ourselves silently and we slept on separate bed for 3 days. He didn't try to open up with me about the real issue, instead of it he just shut out. I am still don't understand what to do, and this relationship seems miserable and unpredictable and even insecure. And I don't know how to express my feelings, if he decides to talk (if this happens, but I don't think so). I am just speechless!

Also I am worried about my kid's future. Dad must be a role model for his kids, but I don't think he's showing good model to my kid. Also if he drinks again today or tomorrow and threatens us because of he is still angry (at me or what? I am not sure what's going on with him?) my kid and I don't have anybody who protect us. I am bit scared of it in deep down.

What should I do now? Is leaving him only option I have after all? Please give me an advice? I am totally confused now. Sorry for writing too long comment. But I hope you will read it and help me.

Additional: My husband and I have financial difficulty at this moment (actually we always had) and he is the only one who is working to feed us. I know he is really exhausted because of his hard labour work and he says he drinks to cope with his stress and pressure. But I don't accept his this kind of solution (drinking).

Thank you for reading.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Need Advice, and thank you for reading.

I don't think leaving is your only choice, but you'll have to figure out if your husband is an abuser who also drinks, or if he has an addiction to alcohol. From everything you described, he appears to meet the clinical requirements for a diagnosis of alcohol dependent. I have a couple of other articles that may help you with what you are going through. They will advise you to start going to Al Anon, because alcoholism is an illness that affects the whole family, but by sharing the experience, strength, and hope of other people who have been in similar situations, you may be able to have a good life whether you stay or leave.

m abdullah javed profile image

m abdullah javed 2 years ago

Hi jellygator. Wonderful piece. You have dealt with an aspect about the gender relationship over which we usually maintain silence. The central theme of the hub is rightly pointing at an alrming aspect. But one cannot be sure that the silence is abusive? It might be owing to one's weakness? It happens that in some sensitive issues it becomes difficult to say something, and if happens to be the earlier days of marriage it becomes obvious that silence rule between the two. However a long time silence is definitely an abuse over which you have expressed a lot. Thanx for an insightful matter.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, M Abdullah Javed!

Health Reports profile image

Health Reports 2 years ago from North America

Growing up, when my mother and I had a disagreement, usually because I sided with my father in one of their arguments, my mother would give me the silent treatment for 3 days. I always took 3 days for her to get over it.

It was very uncomfortable, living in a home with someone making faces, turning away silently when our paths crossed and working hard to show you how disgusted she was with you.

Now 40 years later, I just plow through and keep talking to her while she sulks. I find something that she cares about and it forces a response. So she gets over her sulk in an hour or two typically.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Good for you! Thank you for showing another option!

mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

Great article jellygator. The silent treatment is another form of abuse and should be addressed. Many people disregard the indiscriminate types of abuse - thank you for exposing this topic. I really like how you explain that the silent treatment is due to that person's problem not yours. Voted up.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, msdcoggins!

georgegould profile image

georgegould 2 years ago

Silent treatment no laughing matter! Though space in relationships is important, it can be carried too far, even relatable to passive aggressive behaviors in shorter terms... there's also needs for people to grow on their own and not assume about what's going on for the other person. Thanks for this great topic, Kathy

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, George!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Hi Ai yih, and thank you for posting this. If you stop in again, I hope you'll tell us why you did not simply leave if her betrayal was a deal breaker.

Ai yih 2 years ago

Gud day,

Well i am tell you guys, specially to all the wifes.. Most men do not like arguing, talking much,

Our main reason. Its better not to talk, than talking nonsence...

But we are much easy to pls.... Just give us a simple saying sorry, in deepest sincerity.. Men will forgive and forget.

(yet its depends ) what's d issue...

You ask why im not to leaving on my wife,

Its because " i love my family, i don't want to be broken family, and i know my wife , as family she loves us, she loves our children....Ive feel it.

But as a man, as a father, head of the family... Ive never tolerate if they done something wrong... And im so much agree. SILENT TREATMENT, are more effective . Just to let them know... Respect me, our desition or You WILL NEVER EXIST ON Our EYES.. Thanx for give me time for what i feel . My opinions..

Im talking in general as a Man , Husband....

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

I appreciate your honesty. Also, I know that many people feel like you do, that talking can be a waste of time.

However, I need to ask you to think about one thing:

You say you stay because you love, but you also say you act like she "never existed" to you. Can you see how a person might feel abused by this? And if you do see this, do you think this will ever help fix a problem or will it make her lie and say sorry when she isn't really sorry?

mslenai 2 years ago

I give the silent treatment a lot. I guess I never considered how it would feel if my man gave me the silent treatment. Great post!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, mslenai! I hope you'll find a less harmful way to manage your hurt and anger in the future. It's so damaging!

mslenai 2 years ago

I agree!

Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

Very good subject, there is more of this abuse around than most people think, only a lot never discusses it with other people as it makes more problems in their marriage. Thanks, nice to see many are opening up about it.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

Ai Yih, your question just now showed up, so I am sorry for the delay.

You asked what I would do differently? The honest answer is that if you treated me the way you're treating your wife, I would leave you. I believe that a person who loves me acts like it. I believe if someone acts like I don't exist to them, then I should respect that I am not important to them.

Elsie, thank you!

FirstStepsFitness profile image

FirstStepsFitness 2 years ago

Very good Hub Abuse can be narrowed down into one statement " Power and Control " Keep in mind ladies Control isn't love .

jellygator profile image

jellygator 2 years ago from USA Author

C'est vrai! Thanks, FSF!

georgegould 2 years ago

Perhaps Love isn't love, sometimes, or at least it doesn't feel like it. That's where the word derives from the French: l'oeuf = zero, zip, zilch (in tennis, anyway...), or in normal French class, egg... what's the score??? 30-Love?

Luckily, solitude has power/control issues to keep us busy in the meantime. Caring for others isn't easy, fair, or worthwhile unless sacrifices made for relationships are made freely. I find myself wondering how silence is relative to something "in the air", as well. If someone's needs are met, perhaps that is better than not. I'm also reminded today of a line by Depeche Mode: "Lie to me, and do it with sincerity. Make me think of some great reward..."" from the album some great reward. Thanks to posters!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 24 months ago from USA Author

Your post is somehow poetic, GeorgeGould, which is great, but I admit that I don't understand your second paragraph very well.

georgegould profile image

georgegould 24 months ago

Honestly, I believe people usually do the best they can, but get tangled around because of various allegiances and wind up having to make do without assurances because this is better than lying to someone.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 23 months ago from USA Author

Ah, ok. I get what you're saying now. BTW, welcome to HubPages. I see you signed up!

georgegould profile image

georgegould 23 months ago

!) thx!

nadinelopo profile image

nadinelopo 23 months ago from ohio

I love your Harry Hardhead analglgy. I will for sure be quoting that the next time one of my friends talks about giving her bf the silent treatment.

Personally, i have never been a fan of this technique. Silence will not solve any relationship issues, it only makes the problems worse because no one is dicussing why they are angry. Awesome hub!

jellygator profile image

jellygator 23 months ago from USA Author

Thanks, Nadine!

toptengamer profile image

toptengamer 21 months ago from The Game

This is a very well said article. I would agree that most people don't know how to respond to the "silent treatment", especially in relationships.

Human 21 months ago

Stonewalling is used also outside of intimate relationships to humiliate and control a target, and to evade accountability.

garagedoorguy profile image

garagedoorguy 21 months ago from Arvada CO

The first paragraph is me totally. When me and my wife fight, which only happens maybe once a year, I go silent because I just don't want to be a mean jerk to her. She understands that now and just lets me be until we both cool down a bit and talk things out the next day.

Good information, I gave you a thumbs up!

Lefty Jay profile image

Lefty Jay 20 months ago from Atlanta, GA

Great information...this hub is exactly what im going through right now. Im a guy that's currently going through the silent treatment because of some squabbling, I would love to get through this temporary issue the best way I can so that Ill know how to handle it.

georgegould profile image

georgegould 20 months ago

This tendency kinda reminds me of a familiar phrase, something like "I don't know what love is, but I know it when I see it!"

jellygator profile image

jellygator 20 months ago from USA Author

Thanks guys, for visiting and leaving kind comments!

Alima 19 months ago

I've read your article twice in the past months, as if sort of makes me feel better when this happens in my marriage. I am 7 weeks pregnant after years of trying to conceive, and trying to stay as calm as possible in the situation. Yet, I am guilty of all the wrong reactions since this morning ; sort of forcing a conversation he was not into, being insecure about his whereabouts (because he has lied in the recent past), and confronting him about it & forcing him to reassure me... when he started ignoring me I kept talking and telling him how not nice that was... or trying to change the subject, or being nice, or staying silent by his side, or giving appologies, or leaving him alone a while but coming back after 1-2 hours asking if he was feeling better ... I've done it all wrong, in this crazy attempt to easy my own emotions and the anxiety that comes from feeling this gap between us. I even guilt him by saying that I'm pregnant and that the stress that he is making me feel right now is not good, and that he sould be here to calm me not stress me out ... Just writing this out I can see how frustrating I must have been since he woke me up in a good mood about his plan of a day with his friends. The hardest thing is really not doing anything. It's so hard for me to live my life as usual, when my whole body-mind-emotions are focused on this situation and being so sad about it. If my brain understands that I should just get work done, I have no concentration and feel so unhappy right now. And I don't like confrontations either, so the mere idea of going out to see friends myself, or whatever, feels like pouring oil on fire, which I really don't feel like doing at all. I know it will be better eventually, and I guess I can be happy that it has been much much less frequent recently. But it still hurts.

georgegould 19 months ago

Much of what you say makes sense to me - with your situation changed, would you be interested in couples therapy?

Alima 19 months ago

Yes, I'm considering it of course. We went for a short time a year ago, and we have individual therapy (but I'm more constant with it than he is). As everyone knows, money is often the issue with therapy... As for the "silent treatment" that I talked about yesterday, it ended when I silently went to bed by myself. An hour or so later he came by and said "are you ok ?" (in a sort of mad voice, still), I said calmly "well, not so good", and asked him if he wanted me to come in bed with him (I was in another room). He said "I don't know" (still angry voice). I responded that I could come and not talk, if he'd like. He said "ok, if you don't talk". Then he cuddled me in bed and fell asleep, all was good in the morning.

Now the issue is coming back on this misunderstanding (me wanting him to reassure me before leaving because of the recent lies, and him feeling extremely controlled into not being able to go see his friends) we had without starting it over. I'll wait for a better time to initiate this conversation ... hopefully it will be more constructive next time ... !

aiy i 19 months ago

im a silent type of husband..

ive used a silent treatment on my wife,,, for 7 months,,,

in the

one to surrender the silence,,

ive started greeted her,,

its not bcoz im a losser...

it becoz i want PEACE ON MY MIND..

jellygator profile image

jellygator 19 months ago from USA Author

Alima, I'm sorry that you're going through this. You can't change him, of course, and you've taken an important first step when you recognize that your own actions can contribute part of the problem. However, it's not ok for him to be dishonest and then expect you to be all smiles and rainbows, either. Here's what I'd encourage YOU to do:

Figure out what you need to feel good again if you KNEW that he would not ever understand or try to help. How could you solve this problem all by yourself with no assistance from him? Once you have that answer and start to live your life without placing these kinds of expectations on him, you'll be surprised to find out how your relationship (and you) will change.

Rita 19 months ago

I have a husband who gives me the silent treatment whenever we have a fight. After we make up, I always tell him that his silent treatment is very unhealthy and hurts me emotionally. He says it's not a silet treatment and that he is merely cooling off. When I tell him cooling off is for a few hours and not 2-3 days , he says I have no right to tell how long he needs to cool off . What am I to do?

jellygator profile image

jellygator 19 months ago from USA Author

He gets mad and does something that hurts you. You tell him "Hey, you hurt me when you do that." He says, "Too bad. I'm cooling off and I am not going to let you influence me to hurt you less."

At the same time, you're also being critical of him when you say it's unhealthy.

So if you want this to change, change what YOU do! You'll have to find a way to see his silence as something that has no power to hurt you. Do you have a hobby or incomplete tasks to catch up on? This is when you can enjoy your progress without getting interrupted by him, so do it!

When he comes back to make up, instead of criticizing him, I would stay neutral about his behavior and instead, tell him about all the progress I had made while he was "away."

cipher 19 months ago

Somehow the notion is set about guys giving the silent treatment to girls.. i searched on google and am reading this as I believe my girl is avoiding me for this reason...

chuckandus6 profile image

chuckandus6 18 months ago from The Country-Side

great article it really shows the non physical side of abuse, and it really is hurtful and should not be tolerated.

jellygator profile image

jellygator 18 months ago from USA Author

Thank you, Chuckandus6~!

Grant 17 months ago

Because women never give the silent treatment, right?

jellygator profile image

jellygator 17 months ago from USA Author

I don't believe I said that, Grant, and this has been addressed quite a bit in these comments already. Thank you for taking the time to stop by!

Susan Tolbert profile image

Susan Tolbert 15 months ago from New England

There is a lot of useful and excellent information here! I'm rather surprised at how many women think that the Silent Treatment (I call it the "ST") is only used by them and not men. They're actually better at it than women, I think (if their psychological makeup predisposes them to do so), because most men are relieved by silence, whereas most women are conditioned to talk things out.

I DESPISE the ST! I'm a talker, a former teacher and someone who enjoys expressing my views readily and bluntly. (By the way, bluntness can often trigger an ST outbreak in your guy...AND be used to break it up! More on that).

Yes, sometimes, guys just want to retreat from talking, at which they often don't excel, into their "space". I've finally got my husband to tell me when he needs that, so I know it's not the ST. I'm also fortunate that I love long periods of alone time myself, so if he's off sulking, it's not that big a deal, but the thing that bothers me is that he's trying to get back at me or that we TWO are not really dealing with an issue.

I like the idea of going ahead with what you feel like doing and not consulting a man having an ST fit--for that's what it is: the silent equivalent of a tantrum in a child. Unlike the way to deal with tantrums (ignore them), ignoring silent treatments is counterproductive after a point. I'd give it a day at most.

Another tactic I use is forcing communication, often in writing. Since I know my husband loves me and wants to remain in the relationship, I remind him bluntly, yet adding that I don't prefer this solution, that if he plans to keep ignoring me, then he is giving me the message that he does NOT want me or the relationship any more. I tell him that I will not tolerate being treated this way and that he can leave. This usually has the effect of "knocking some sense" into him (psychologically, not physically, of course!).

However, I would STRONGLY advise couples (this is a two-way process) who keep going through this vicious cycle, to seek couples' counseling.

Or, if it's mainly the guy, who (as you wrote) fears confrontation (often a result of parental abuse or punishment), then he needs therapy. A good therapist can teach the man how to address disagreements, fear of confrontation and loss of control by boosting his self-esteem and learn to stop projecting insecurity onto others, such as his partner.

Most people I know who have used this approach (therapy), learn new, constructive ways to address old, toxic feelings that not only help them in relationships but in life as a whole.

Don't be surprised if your once sulky, manipulative spouse, after therapy, is not only acting in a more respectful healthy way toward YOU, but toward others. His new way of interacting with people may get noticed at work and lead to a better job that further boosts self-confidence. He will have more positive experiences and probably more or at least better friendships, too!

The point is: the silent treatment is a symptom of deep neurosis and should not be addressed for long, nor by the spouse alone, but treated in therapy. People (men or women) don't act like this without some painful things in their past that cause them to be deeply insecure and unhappy people.

Anthony P 15 months ago

Thanks for the advice. I'm going through silent treatment right now and it definitley hurts. Sometimes I've said something wrong, I realize it and apologize after the silent treatment. But there are times when I feel like my small comments or opinions get misunderstood and I suddenly get silent treatment instead of a mature discussion and/or argument. I try to be good, nice and understanding. But it seems like it's not appreciated enough

jellygator profile image

jellygator 15 months ago from USA Author

Very nice, Susan! I like your comment about writing, but I would like to add a warning or perhaps, just a piece of insight: If a man is NOT highly invested in a relationship and a woman tries to force the communication, I believe it's likely to backfire and earn her more resentment and blame instead. It's very important to think about how to do this respectfully so the other person doesn't feel defensive!

Anthony, it sucks to feel unappreciated! If you really haven't said anything wrong, I encourage you to look at why your significant other is so sensitive to your remarks. Is it her own little "ism" or does she lack faith in you? These are two very different reasons for the silent treatment to kick in!

Nina 14 months ago

You have no idea how much this article helped me. I'm currently going through a silent treatment phase from both my mom and husband for two different reasons, they are not related what so ever, just a coincidence!

I grew up suffering from this from my mom and then when married I found out that my husband does it too :(

It hurts so much and makes me feel bad. It caused me to actually have depression and I had to take medications for that!

Your article is thorough and gave me some relief knowing that I'm not alone in this! And your suggestions in the section "Changing You Will Change the Relationship" are very helpful and I would print them and post them on my wall if I could, because I need to remind myself of them every time this happens.

I added your article to my favorite list becuase I know that I'll need to read it over and over again.

Thank you very much.

Brian 13 months ago

I agree with much of what you said. At the same time, its important to remember that this is not a woman's problem. I am often on the receiving end. If you take out the gender specificness of the article, it works for men and women. Thanks for the article, its great for men and women who are getting the silent treatment.

Sandra 11 months ago

Okay, so my relationship is very complicated. We've both made some mistakes, but both apologized, talked it out and moved forward together. He gave me the silent treatment many times in the past but the last time we agreed that we would never do it again, since I told him that it's the worst thing that you could do to your significant other and he agreed. We haven't talked in a week. It all began when I begged him to come to our friend's birthday and told him how much it meant for me. He said he can't come because he doesn't have any money for a gift. He lives with his family so I told him to ask his mom to bake a cake, he wouldn't. He wanted me to go to the party but not get upset with him for not coming. I said I couldn't be ok with this, I'm not mad but can't understand why he won't make an effort to try to solve the situation and ask people for help. I didn't offer him money because in the past he told me that he won't borrow money because it would mean that he must give it back! We always go Dutch when we go out, it has been months since he paid for anything. He also told me that we won't be seeing each other over the next two weeks because he doesn't even have money for a bus ticket! I know he has money problems, but he's been broke for 2 years now and he earns money than I do. We never went on a vacation and he never takes me out. I feel like it bothers him that I want us to go out together or with friends. He stopped talking to me a week ago, even though he was supposed to help me move to another city this weekend. He didn't even send me a text message asking he if I'm okay. In the past, I always reached out to him but this time, I don't feel I've did anything wrong. I always supported him, never called him names, never shouted at him, whenever I was bothered with something I expressed my feelings in a calm and understand way letting him know that his behavior was upsetting me. Occasionally, he does nice things for me and surprises me with flowers, but I don't think he does it out of love anymore. I don't understand him silent treatment. We don't live together, why doesn't he wonder if I'm okay? It's been a week...

temptor94 profile image

temptor94 11 months ago from India

What an insightful article! I really loved your advise about considering a silent treatment as a free pass to do things our way.. what a great idea :) I never saw it that way. I completely agree that women get much more affected by silent treatment than men.. probably because most woman are sensitive by nature and also more caring when it comes to maintaining harmony and communication in a relationship.

Typically I have observed that people who chose the emotional abuse path always choose such partners on whom they can have the upper hand, maybe because they are subconsciously or consciously aware that they cannot handle someone similar to them. It may sound a little extreme but I have ended relationships in the past for this very reason, simply because I saw those people as too immature and undeserving of my patience and understanding, if they cannot care equally for me.

Wonderful hub and great tips!

GoldieRey 11 months ago

What a wonderful article! My partner of 6 years is the silent treater. He's done everything from ignoring me on my birthday and holidays to degrading my intelligence. He's currently been giving me the treatment for the past week. Oh well, I text him and said if he don't step up then someone else will and they will treat me like I should be treated.

I think he has serious underlying issues from his childhood and lack of empathy to anyone. His past relationships were awful and his own children are distant from him. I'm at the point where I tell him he wastes so much time acting like an a**. Eventually he will come to realize I am right, which he always does. He will never apologize but will know each time he pulls this BS, I set another boundary with his attitudes. I think sometimes he likes that I call him out on his bad behavior. I use to cry and be completely upset for weeks, not any more. I use the time to do what I want, meanwhile he's sulking and nothing (from what he claims) goes right for him! Karma at its best!

Cummens 9 months ago

Thank you so much for this article as I have a mother who does all those horrible and painful things to me since I could remember ! I recall it at age 4 I'm now 43 she just punished me again by setting up ( being the mastermind ) and robbing me of 300 dollers and had two other people in on it my sister and her friend . It's better than the 16 months she gave me in state prison though ! She got into a fight with my attorney and the judge about God ..., my dad died the day before and she was the one to tell me and the judge was gonna let me out the next day it was over something real small well she came to court the next day got into it about God and called them Satan , I got slapped with 16 months ! Her face was calm and looked like she did some good was almost set at ease. Another time that I'll mention there's so many times she put me in mental hospitals said I was metal and I was labeled the rest of my life but she new I was upset about there devorse hence she took advantage of it and called me mental and put me in institutions through out my copied hood would tell them to keep me 2 more months here and there. Till this day my mother lives off calling me mental and my sisters feed her behavior about it they know I hate being called that cause I'm really not . It started well with my memory at 4 years old I had long hair to my but and she was brushing my hair she got angry and started hitting my head well she cutt I'll my hair off I was picked on badly through my child hood called ugly she new I was picked on because of it . That's all I'm sharing for now I'm still in shock to know she has this disorder I though she was just evil and mean .

Mariana 9 months ago

Thank you ♥

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 8 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Another great article. I spent more than 20 years in an abusive relationship, before I had the guts to get out. The silent treatment was one of his secret weapons. Until I stopped responding. It took away all of his power.

Thanks for writing.


EstherTolbert 8 months ago

I like this article! I've always been one who has difficulty in waiting to work things out! My mother gave the silent treatment when she was hurt. Even after an apology, she felt if she forgave too soon, then I wouldn't get the message of how hurtful my behavior was toward her. I confronted her behavior by telling her that she was simply refusing to forgive. Beautiful as she is,, she accepted this truth. People make mistakes all the time with words, and giving the silent treatment is a form of revenge. I suppose she believes it was a "teaching method", nevertheless it is sinful and punishing. Then I married a wonderful man who withdrew upon confrontation. Married 25 years now, I can look back and see that he has gone through stages of change in the way he deals with confrontation. He alternated back and forth between blowing up verbally and holding it all in. Through prayer, I believe God revealed to me that I needed to pray for us before I confronted an issue, and also to avoid criticism at all cost, and to make sure that instead of reacting angrily to his behavior, that I was to ask for what I wanted. This simple tactic of avoiding criticism created a major shift in our communication. We both had issues of blaming the other for our own reactions. I couldn't see the blaming in myself, and my husband still struggles to see it. But, there IS hope in letting God take the blinders off through prayer and taking His advice! Our marriage is the best it's ever been! I do notice that I have been blind to see how that even friends and other family members have been using the silent treatment, and after reading this, maybe I can help them see how they are trying to gain control through this behavior. ##keepinghopealivethroughprayer##

Internet reader 8 months ago

I'm giving silent treatment to my girlfriend because she has been using me for my money only. I have found over $5,000 on her in the past 3 months and she's not even my wife or anything. After getting the money she would forget about me and would not even text and would not even communicate.

And when I attempted to discuss my personal life problems with her she would always respond with "I don't know". I felt very much offended with that because I'm paying for all of finances and I'm not even receiving any bit of care or appreciation.

So now I have started giving her silent treatment. Am I doing the correct thing?

An abused man 6 months ago

What I am going to write down here is something that will surprise everyone. I am a 32 yr old married guy who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with a girl for the last 6 yrs. To make things worse, I got married to her about five months ago! What my life has been in the last few years is something that I would not even want my enemies to endure. I have been emotionally abused over and over again. I have been given the silent treatment for days, weeks and months! In the entire course of the relationship ,my partner has never extended an apology for anything and has in-fact manipulated me into apologizing by giving me the silent treatment and making me feel I was in the wrong always. She has been so mean and ruthless in her conduct with me that I have ended up crying in front of her many a times. I generally don't cry in life but she has manipulated me so much that I have turned into an emotional wreck! My work has suffered, my relationship with other people has been effected and worst of all my relationship with my own self has taken a beating.

I fail to understand what on earth made me hang on so much with a person who is really incapable of a human relationship. There was a co-worker of her once who used to chat her up a lot, and his name was Arjun. While I was in some other town, I used to still call her up regularly. Once by mistake she called me 'Arjun' and I felt bad about it as any guy would when his girl would call him by some other name. She repeated this at-least five six times (every-time by mistake) in the next one week or so. When I confronted her as to what was going on, you know her response-'silent treatment'! She just didn't care to get back to me for a few days or so and like a fool I called her up after a few days and apologized! Imagine, I apologized because my wife,(gf back then) had some other guys name on her lip all the time and I had asked for an explanation!!!

Such is the behavior of these narcissists that they have the capability to destroy the people who fall in love with them or like me are unfortunate to get married to them. Let me tell you that such people always find partners who are emotional and can be easily manipulated.

I cant tell you how bad it feels. A man wants a loving wife, and her beauty lies in her heart and if the heart is ugly you really can't put up!

I have now come to terms with the reality , and for me the only way out is a divorce. The idea of me posting this comment is to enlighten every soul in this earth that is trying to make a relationship work- to stop trying! Love can never happen this way. I wasted 6 yrs of my life. Do not allow yourself to remain in love with narcissists and people who resort to silent treatment. If even once you buckle to their way then you are setting a wrong precedence. They will exploit you over and over again. The fault lies in them and not you. In my case I am in a profession which required thorough psychological testing before getting through, and incidentally she had applied for something similar but had miserably failed in the interview, probably because of the psychological test that must have found out her crapped up soul. Good luck to all you lovers in this world, love the right will enrich your soul. Love the wrong person, it will ruin your soul.

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 4 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Thanks for this informative and helpful article. I was in two previous marriages, and both of my exes would use the silent treatment. In fact, I grew up with it, as my mother still uses it today.

Sometimes, you just need some space. Both partners should respect that, but we should also strive to communicate in a healthy way that will support cooperation and growth.

Thanks for writing.


Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 4 months ago from Cicero, New York

Good Morning jellygator so nice meeting you, just enjoyed your fascinating, detailed hub, you covered so many interesting situations about the heartaches of relationships. As well as ideas and possible solutions, relationships are something not always easy. An excellent hub for all those couples searching for answers. Happy to be following you. Linda

May 4 months ago

I completely agree with this article as right now I'm in a crisis, my boyfriend and I had an argument, one where he was clearly in the wrong, he did not apologise and as I wasn't in the wrong I also did not although I usually do in order to "fix things". I got the idea that this was going to affect us for a while so I suggested we put it behind us and behave normally the next day, he simply said maybe and we ended the conversation.

To give a bit of context, we are in a long distance relationship and hes currently taking exams for university, due to this our conversations have already been shortened but we had a routine in place. After this argument however, he stopped messaging, stopped calling, stopped responding. I ended up having to initiate calls and when I do he is very cold and withdrawn, he insists that nothing is wrong however and when I ask if he still wants the relationship he says he does. Its been a week now and I only get one message a day which is to say goodnight and I feel this is to just give me enough that I wont break up with him. He still answers his calls but wont speak unless I ask him a direct question. I know that he is speaking to other people just fine and I am the only one hes ignoring, he refuses to try and talk about what is happening .

I don't know what to do anymore, I understand he is tired and is revising constantly but thats not an excuse, the situation is making me physically ill, I just want things to go back to normal, but how can It when hes not talking to me. He talks to me like i'm an enemy even when I'm being so nice to him. Please help me

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 3 months ago from Philippines

I used to think that only women use the silent treatment, but this article reminded me of a married friend whose husband was giving her the silent treatment, and they ended up separating. No matter what, there should be respect for each other and self respect, and as you say, the silent treatment is a form of abuse. I also liked the video. The silent treatment at the end looked so funny but it's not funny when it's happening to you.

Maissaa 2 months ago

Thank you for the article

I have a question: is it ok to just say to him I am ready to talk things over when you are?

emma 2 months ago

Good advice. Im going through the silent treatment so i will take your advice and use it when my husband snaps out of his hurtfull behaviour

Mike Wyn profile image

Mike Wyn 2 months ago from San Diego, Ca

WOW! The echo chamber is deafening. The weak disclaimer stating it's not just men who use the silent treatment is laughable. The entire article bombards guys as if silence screams with abuse. If your commenters are even a small representation of what their partners have to deal with, my bet is the poor souls just want some peace and quiet. Don't forget passive aggressive disorder is an equal opportunity enabler of dysfunction. Now just to bug, I'll be silent now. :-)

Anna 2 months ago

Thank you !

guy 2 months ago

In now way is this why I shut down and refuse to talk to my wife. This is entirely incorrect for me. I'm trying to figure out how to keep myself from giving the silent treatment and this article just says I'm abusive because I do it.

ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 2 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Jellygator, this is a great article, with good information. I did the silent treatment with my first husband. I divorced him, and no longer do the silent treatment as I communicate much better with my second husband, and have a great relationship. The silent treatment was used because he treated me so bad. I never though I was abusive, I thought he deserved the treatment.

6 weeks ago

My husband is mad at me for a situation beyond my control. He broke my Ipad out of spite and then came home the next day and said you can do 1 thing or I'm going to stay really mad. I get a new car or else. He currently has a 2015 corvette and his new car was going to be even more a month. In the past I always given in I feel like because I can't take it. But now it's been 6 days and he has said 10 words to me. We previously determined I get the new car next. He has had 8 cars in 7 years and I've had the same one since 2008. I'm more determined then ever I'm not budging. Wish me luck!

6 weeks ago

It's like he knows I made an anonymous post. Not even 60 minutes later he cut my phone charger cord and locked me outside. I'm assuming it's pissing him off I'm not breaking. Also I have never used the silent treatment, think it's an unhealthy way to control people and even now I make sure to talk.. whether being communicated to or not. And yes I realize what my husband is doing is unhealthy and my current situation. Is fucked up beyond belief.

need help 6 weeks ago

I am presently dealing with the silent treatment from my husband just because I tell him he is wrong in his behavior towards the kids n myself and when I talk I am being the one wrong. my partner has the complete behaviour traits of a narcissistic disorder.

he is a compulsive lair, cheater, all the abuser u can think of, I have reach a stage where I m only with him for the children sak. need help

nhanha 6 weeks ago

am going through the same thing with a guy I met two weeks back but I made one mistake and I've been apologising to him but he's not picking up my calls,not replying on anything....I dont know what to do because I've never experience such a thing before and I must agree it really hurt

Book of Job 5 weeks ago

How to bring on the silent treatment:

- When your daughter dies, explode at him as he runs the funeral. Blow up when he tells you what the coroner, the police, your priest, the cemetery manager and the funeral director told him. It’s his fault, and he’s obviously thoroughly enjoying running the funeral for his daughter. Certainly don’t offe to help with any of this.

- Blow up at him about how much the funeral costs because funerals cost too much, even though his father is paying for it. Once again, he is responsible for everything that occurs in the world, and if was a better person, funerals would be cheaper.

- Chastise him for asking if your mother had a good night’s sleep a couple days after his daughter died.

- When you get a flood a month later, refuse to help with the flood repairs. Do whatever you want as your husband spends every spare minute for the next two years repairing your heavily mortgaged and barely affordable property.

- Criticize him for going outside for 15 minutes or so most nights for the first month after the flood to talk to the neighbors and to watch the progress as the FEMA workers begin to rebuild the missing or damaged roads, missing bridges and flood debris. Tell him this is his way of maintaining control.

- Say nothing as your husband completes the funeral arrangements over the next six months. Don’t say thanks for doing this as he has a tombstone carved, goes to probate court and creates an online memorial. In fact, it will be better if you yell at him if he wants you to look at the online memorial.

- Never say anything nice about his relationship with his deceased daughter. Make sure you tell him that she was his least favorite child, and if he disagrees with you, prove your case by coming up with isolated examples, such as a time that he forgot to say hello to her – once.

- When he asks you to go to marriage counseling numerous times, starting three months after your daughter died, refuse to go.

Follow these steps, and your husband will most likely do whatever he can to avoid speaking to you and avoid being around you. His only path to safety will be to withdraw.

When you’ve decided that he is the worst human being on earth, move four hours away with three hours notice. Leave the kids behind with their horrible father. Don’t even tell the kids that you’re leaving – let your sister do that. Then cut your husband and your kids off – make sure you never speak to him, and don’t visit or call your kids. Do make sure that you get half of the equity in the home, though, even though you wouldn’t help repair it.

Sorry folks, but this is what happened. Our case may be extreme (I hope that not many of you lose a child and then have a flood), but if you make your husband or wife afraid that anything they says or do will trigger an explosion or draw criticism, they probably will pull away. Take a long look in the mirror if you find that your spouse isn’t speaking to you. Are you making it impossible for him or her to do so?

And, despite what this article says, any apology or acknowledgement that this behavior was inappropriate would have gone a long way to re-establishing a relationship. I did try discussing this with my now ex-wife at times, but mostly held back, distancing myself more and more as time went on. It was better than getting yelled at.

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