I talk with many women who don’t understand what brought their relationships to the point of needing therapy. After all, ‘they don’t ever argue with their husbands’. Well, of course that sends a huge, waving, red flag up. If you NEVER disagree, you probably aren’t being honest or worse – not saying anything.
Relationship silence. It’s a poison for you and your partner because usually when you’ve reached the point of silence – or shutting down – and just not wanting to deal with your partner on any type of meaningful communicative way…you’re in big trouble and could be headed for a break-up or separation.
How do I know if we are being silent?
You know that your relationship is suffering from silence when you haven’t debated with your partner about anything in the past few months – in fact, you haven’t had an interesting conversation about anything that is important to either of you in the past few months or weeks. You have disconnected. And either you or he initiated the silence in an effort to stop having to deal with judgments, criticisms, and other negative conversation killers.
Why is it such a poison?
When there is healthy debate or even heated arguing in a relationship, that means that both people are trying to get their voices heard. They are trying to get their points across. They are trying convince their partners of something or convince themselves. Any way you slice it – opinions are out on the table and both of you know where the other stands. With silence, no one knows where the other stands. There is a lot of guessing and assuming, because no one is being heard. And we all know where that can lead.
What can I do about it?
Relationship silence is easy to cure. Just start talking. The biggest hurdle is for someone to take the first step. The second is to begin to understand why you both shut down to begin with. What was the last big argument you had? And what was said? And if the silence has gotten beyond the point of anyone taking that first leap of faith – you may need an impartial person such as a mediator, religious leader, or therapist to help you through it.
Quick Tip: If you are afraid to talk to your partner because of what his reaction may be – ask yourself “what am I afraid of?” What would the worst case scenario be if I demanded to be heard? Do I trust my partner not to judge me, berate me, or leave me if I speak up?