Tips on coping with the silent treatment?

Tips on coping with the silent treatment?

Whenever my partner and I fight, he shuts down and doesn’t talk to me for days on end. I then have to go begging for his forgiveness, just so I have someone to talk to again. I’m sick of his silent treatment. What do I do? Keely

The silent treatment sucks big hairy balls, I have to say. Believe it or not, the withdrawing of love, affection and attention is actually a form of emotional abuse. And most people react in exactly the same way you have … scurrying around, trying to find a way to reconnect with their silent partner because it feels so awful to be abandoned and ignored.

There are a few ways you can deal with this sort of behaviour. Firstly, ignore it. He wants a reaction, and let yours be a little of the same medicine. Secondly, remove yourself from your partner’s negative energy field. Go hang out with a friend, take a walk or read a book in the local library. Have some fun and don’t let his bad attitude get to you. Tell yourself that this isn’t your fault – because it isn’t. Your partner is choosing to punish you and attempt to control you, instead of addressing his own feelings. Thirdly, wait it out. It’s tough, but it shows your partner that this form of treatment simply won’t work on you. Perhaps, next time, he’ll be more communicative.

Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Author
    reality chick 11 years ago

    Definitely if it continues… maybe another perspective (a professional one!?) might help the partner who likes the silent treatment see that it’s just an effectual way to get what you want…

  2. Jacqui 11 years ago

    The longer you allow his behaviour to continue like this, the more he is going to do it, so the cycle has to be broken somehow. Men do often need some time to withdraw and lick their wounds, but not days on end! And the fact that he is making you feel responsible for every argument is unfair. I’m sure you’re not perfect either but it certainly takes two to tango, and I’m sure when you disagree with him you have legitimate reasons sometimes.

    Try some of RC’s advice, they might work, but I’d be encouraging you to seek some professional help, if this is a relationship you want to be in long-term.

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