As is the case for most life experiences, relationships have high points and difficult times. We would all love it if everything was sunshine and rainbows, but sometimes the waters do get stormy. And when your boat gets rocked a little too much, a breakup in communication can feel inevitable.
But just because you had a fight with your man does not mean you forget all the good times you two had.
These won’t go away.
In fact, you might even find yourself longing to experience those again. To get your boyfriend back and reconnect, to get a fresh start with him.
But that can’t happen if he does not talk to you.
Stonewalling, though painful for the recipient, is a common reaction for men going through a break up or a difficult time in their relationship. Also, it does not automatically mean that they are trying to hurt you: Sometimes, refusing to talk to you, his girlfriend, can simply be his defense mechanism.
There are, as a matter of fact, several reasons that could potentially explain why your boyfriend stopped talking to you.
In this article, we will take a look at each one.
Then, we will show you how you can react to his silence, how you can communicate with your husband, or boyfriend, again.
Sure, you may feel like he initiated the conflict. He started the fight that led to his silence. He was the one who suggested breaking up.
Heck, you may not even really know why he decided to ignore you completely, you thought everything was going well! (And now he definitely is not giving any explanation).
In reality, none of this matters very much.
When there are conflicts and tensions – whether these are laid out in the open, or like in the second example, unspoken – both of you will experience negative emotions.
Your boyfriend or husband, just like you, could feel sad, angry, depressed, resentful, or remorseful.
His silence could possibly be his way of dealing with that pain and hurt.
Maybe they need it to process whatever happened that led him to shutting you out of his life.
Chances are your partner thought your relationship was getting rocky.
He could have externalized his thoughts, which would have probably led to some conflict, or internalized them. In the latter case, if you felt that everything was going great, his radio silence might come in as a surprise.
For example, while you might have felt that you were treated like a queen, he might have felt like your lackey. While you thought he was putting you on a pedestal, he felt pushed aside and unimportant.
Okay, you ask. But why did he go radio silent? Why did he stop communicating?
Well, you see, communicating openly would require vulnerability.
If your boyfriend was to have a conversation with you when he is frustrated, mad, or stressed, he would run the risk of seeing his emotions get the better of him. In other words, to lose control.
One sure-fire way to never lose that control is to never even be in a situation where you could lose it.
And the best way to do that is to go completely silent. Your boyfriend cannot say anything dumb if he does not say anything at all.
The problem, of course, is that you have no way of knowing what he is really thinking.
Think about a time when you talked with someone you didn’t know very well, or even a friend. At first, it might be easy to make small talk, ask a few “safe” questions, maybe crack a joke.
But then you often come to a bit of a blank. A lull in the conversation.
This is awkward. What do you say? How do you continue talking? Should you make the first move or wait until the other person has something to talk about?
And the more you wait, the more difficult it gets. The more uneasy you become with the situation.
Well, something not too dissimilar could be happening with your husband or boyfriend.
Perhaps you had a fight or some similar event that you can point to and say: “I think that’s when my boyfriend stopped talking to me.”
But that is not even necessary.
Maybe the natural dialogue that takes place in your relationship got disrupted. Interrupted. That can happen naturally.
And now he is scrambling to find a way to approach you and talk to you.
But he finds it hard. It does not come naturally for him.
So, he takes the easier route: he ignores it. He ignores you.
Throughout our life, we pick up clues on how to behave from those around us.
This is especially impactful in our childhood and teenage years, all the way into early adulthood, where we try hard to form the basis of our personality. It shapes who we become.
The most obvious place to start looking, of course, is his father. If you have met him already, did he strike you as a social butterfly, always open for conversation, or more of a silent, hard man?
Of course, if your husband or boyfriend won’t talk to you at all, there is often something else going on.
But at the core of the issue, you might simply discover that he thinks being silent and not talking makes him look good and desirable.
He could even do this without even realizing it.
His friends, extended family, or even the general culture might have influenced your partner to act this way. Think of pretty much any Western movie, or police TV show where the heroes only open their mouths to say something incredibly witty and relevant.
Now, if your boyfriend does not have anything that clever to say, he might just decide it is better to remain tight-lipped.
Even if he has been taught that talking things out is better.
And even if he really, really wishes to share what is on his mind with you.
Your boyfriend simply might be too scared to do so. Here is why:
Growing up, there most certainly was a time where he learned that keeping his thoughts to himself could protect him. For example, by not responding to a bully who was looking for a fight. Or by not speaking up when two strangers were arguing.
Conversely, he could also have experiences where saying something did get him in trouble.
Maybe he talked about his insecurities and fears to a friend, who used it against him. Or perhaps he was vulnerable with an ex-girlfriend, and that led to a heated argument, or even a break-up.
What happens makes little difference, the end result is the same: he internalized that, when in doubt, the safest play was to keep his mouth shut.
Now that you have seen the most common reasons he won’t talk, you probably already have a better idea of how to respond.
We will take a look at some of the strategies you can use to get him back talking with you, to reopen the dialogue, but first, we need to look at what you should not do.
On the surface, this is a tempting strategy: he still refuses to talk after you contacted him, so you draw a line in the sand.
“I want to have a conversation face-to-face. Tomorrow. If you don’t show up, then we’re over.”
The idea behind this is that, feeling pressured, your boyfriend will be forced to come around and finally face you.
But that is also exactly why this is a risky, very risky move.
First, issuing an ultimatum puts him on the defensive. He might comply, but not out of his own volition, which breeds resentment.
On top of that, if agrees to your terms, it probably won’t be genuine. This does little to address the underlying issue that you had in the first place.
Finally, what happens if he does not respond to your ultimatum? What now? You cannot issue another one, or you will lose credibility.
In short, be sure to never resort to this strategy unless you are prepared to face the consequences. Unless you want to break-up, stay away from ultimatums.
If ultimatums are already manipulative enough, they are not the only way people try to manipulate their partners.
All of these are pretty big red flags in relationships, so you might already be aware of them:
The list could go on, but you probably get the idea.
These strategies might work in the short term, but will almost always backfire in the long run. They are hinting at a lack of respect for your partner, and as soon as he realizes that, he will be out the door.
Now that you’ve seen what to avoid, let’s have a look at some ways to approach the situation.
While not foolproof, doing this will give you better odds of reconnecting with a distant partner or at least re-opening a line of dialogue.
No matter how good or bad your relationship has gotten, if you want to make him come back, the first thing to do will always be to tell him, in no uncertain terms, how you feel.
If he won’t talk with you, maybe it is because he does not even realize how much it hurts you.
Let him know that you are not okay with how things are, and that you want to find a solution.
Two things to keep in mind:
With a short, clear, and concise statement like “I want to keep the dialogue open between us. When you are ready, let’s find some time to talk okay?”, you will appear both non-judgemental and non-threatening, while at the same time letting him know that this situation is hardly what you want.
You are trying to reconnect with your ex – or current – boyfriend. Not to push him further away.
One way to do that is to be as compassionate as you possibly can with him.
Your mind might start to run some stressful scenarios if you let it. You could start thinking: “He is doing this on purpose, he wants to hurt me by giving me the cold shoulder.”
Don’t do that.
Or at least, try not to.
Try to find as many ways as possible to see the situation from different points of view. Is he going through a particularly hard time at work? Could he have a family problem that he has not shared with you yet? Were you, yourself, too harsh in the past when he opened up to you, and that’s why he is staying quiet now?
This mindset will help quiet your mind a little while you wait for him to come back.
Is it time that he wants? Some space to think? A night out with the boys to blow off some steam?
If he knows the answers, he will tell you.
All you have to do is listen to what he says to you.
Once you know his terms, if you deem them acceptable, give him what he needs.
Not only will that make him much more amenable to get back to you, it will also make things easier for you: you will have a better time waiting for him if you are not kept in the dark about his intentions.
Now that you have told him how you feel, that he knows you want to talk, and that you know his intentions, stop contacting him.
The ball is completely in your court.
Yes, it will be hard. You would rather take an active role and keep trying to reconnect, thinking that “If I just send him a message tomorrow, maybe he’ll respond and agree to meet me.”
But in reality, if you are always available, always showing interest, you risk two things happening:
Now that all you have to do is wait, why don’t you go out and have a bit of fun?
Maybe there was something you always wanted to try and that your boyfriend didn’t. Or you really want to do a girls’ weekend getaway.
Whatever it is, go live your own life a little.
Not only will it make waiting for a response much easier, you will also be happier.
Your boyfriend or husband will definitely notice it, and it might make him more interested in you.
You have been waiting patiently. One day, three days, a week. You showed compassion and remained understanding the whole time.
And one day, he texts you.
You couldn’t be more excited. Finally some action!
Now, it is really important to find the right pace and tone when you respond.
Try not to be too cold or unwelcoming. At least, not if you actually want to have a good conversation with him.
But at the same time, don’t go from 0 to 100 immediately by blowing up his phone and asking him everything you want to know.
Just because you agreed to let your boyfriend have some time does not mean that you have no control over what happens next.
Sure, right now, you want to talk to him, to keep the relationship alive.
But you are allowed to change your mind.
If he still won’t talk to you after a while, and you think you have had enough of waiting, then it is very okay to put an end to the relationship.
On your own terms.
Even if he is still “thinking” or “figuring things out”.
Your willingness to help him should not come at your own expense. If the costs to your mental health exceed the potential reward you will get by being with your boyfriend, it might be time to consider this option.
Of course, you have the right to try to save your relationship, but it is not your duty.
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