Conflicts are normal in a relationship, but how we handle them is what matters.
When you’re in the middle of an argument, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you’re dealing with someone who has feelings.
And because we all have the capacity to hurt one another, it’s not unusual for people to use passive-aggressive tactics like the silent treatment when they’re upset.
While it makes sense to resolve a fight, what happens if you have a man who would rather give you the silent treatment than settle things?
Why do guys give the silent treatment?
What is The Silent Treatment?
The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse typically employed by people incapable of handling conflict or disagreement healthily.
When someone gives you the silent treatment, they essentially withdraw all emotional support and refuse to communicate with you.
It can be hurtful and frustrating if you’re in a relationship with someone who routinely ignores you or refuses to communicate.
In this article, I’ll explore some of the reasons men give the silent treatment and what you can do if your guy starts giving you the cold shoulder.
Why Do Guys Give The Silent Treatment?
1. They Want to Punish You
Guys give the silent treatment to punish you when they feel like you’ve done something wrong.
It’s an effective way for them to get their point across without having to talk about it.
It’s also a passive-aggressive way of getting back at you for something without having to do anything about it.
If you’re getting the silent treatment, your guy might be trying to let you know that he’s upset with something—but he doesn’t want to confront you directly because he knows that that would lead to a fight or arguing.
So he’ll just sit there and stare at his phone until he feels like he’s made his point or until you finally cave in and apologize or offer some kind of explanation.
2. To Manipulate You And Make You Feel Guilty
Men give the silent treatment to make you feel guilty.
If a man doesn’t respond to your calls, texts, or emails, he’s hoping that you’ll be worried enough about his silence to contact him first.
He wants to make sure you know how much power he has over you—and how much he can hurt you by not responding.
He’s trying to control the relationship by making sure that you feel bad about yourself and your actions so that he doesn’t have to deal with anything uncomfortable (like apologizing).
Isn’t that something?
3. They Need Space
Sometimes, guys need space, and they may use the silent treatment as a way to get it.
A lot of guys are in relationships with women who want them to talk about their feelings all the time, and they just don’t want to do it.
They’re like, “I don’t want to talk about my feelings right now,” and then their girlfriends get upset that they aren’t talking about their feelings.
And they give them the silent treatment because they feel like they have no choice but to be Silent Treatment Guy until they take a breather.
So, if your guy is feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, he may need some time to himself to clear his head.
So, the silent treatment can be a way for him to signal that he needs some time alone.
It can also be a way for him to take a break from an argument or disagreement that the two of you are having.
4. They Don’t Know How To Communicate
In some cases, guys give the silent treatment because they simply don’t know how to communicate what they’re feeling.
Guys typically don’t know how to communicate.
They’re told that they should be strong, silent types, and they’re not taught how to express themselves verbally.
So when the silence comes, it’s an automatic response—it’s the only way they know how to react.
5. They’re Afraid of Conflict and Don’t Want To Argue
This is especially true if he’s been raised in an environment where arguing is seen as rude or disrespectful.
He may also be afraid that if he brings up the issue, you’ll get angry at him or lash out—and he doesn’t want to deal with that kind of drama.
6. They Don’t Want To Hurt You
If a guy who loves you is giving you the silent treatment, there’s a good chance he’s trying to protect himself from hurting you.
He may be overwhelmed by emotions and needs time to process them before he can converse with you about what’s happening.
He knows that when he is upset, he can say anything, and it’ll hurt you, and he doesn’t want that.
So instead of saying something that hurts, he says nothing at all.
It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about you or wants to punish you.
7. They Feel Like They’re Not Being Heard or Understood
Communication is key to understanding each other’s needs and desires in relationships.
If your man doesn’t feel like he is being heard or understood, he might choose to shut down his emotions and stop talking altogether until you figure out what you need to say or do in order for him to open up again.
How The Silent Treatment Affects You
Regardless of the reason, the silent treatment is always harmful to both parties involved.
You can feel isolated, helpless, and unimportant when on the receiving end.
You might even start doubting yourself and wondering what you did wrong.
The silent treatment can also lead to anxiety and depression over time if it’s not resolved.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who frequently employs the silent treatment as a means of communication, it’s important to try to find a resolution that works for both of you.
However, this can be easier said than done.
So in the meantime, here are some tips on how to cope when your partner gives you the silent treatment:
What To Do When Your Guy Gives You The Silent Treatment
1. Don’t Take it Personally
It’s natural to take your guy’s silent treatment personally, especially if you have a history of arguing with him.
When you’re dealing with the silent treatment, it’s easy to feel like you’ve done something wrong.
But really, your partner is just angry—and that anger will pass.
Also, the silent treatment could be a manipulation tactic.
Don’t let the silence make you feel guilty or upset.
Remember that this is not about you—it’s about how your partner feels at that moment.
2. Don’t Try to Force Him to Talk
Once someone has decided to give you the silent treatment, there is usually very little that can be done to change their mind.
Trying too hard will only make things worse and more frustrating.
Just let him know that you’re available when he is ready to talk – but in the meantime, don’t waste your time trying unsuccessfully to get him to open up; it’ll only fuel his ego and make you more upset.
3. Focus on Taking Care of Yourself
When your partner withdraws their love and support via the silent treatment, it can leave you feeling lost and confused.
However, instead of wallowing in self-pity or getting angry with him, try to put your energy into taking care of yourself.
This means eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, spending time with friends and family members who make you feel good about yourself, etc.
In short: Do whatever you need to do to maintain your own mental health and well-being while your partner is giving you the cold shoulder.
This can be a difficult thing to do, but it’s worth it in the long run.
4. Agree on More Productive Ways To Resolve Conflict
When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with your partner.
This includes being able to discuss difficult topics, such as when there’s a disagreement.
This may be difficult, but giving the silent treatment is not a productive way to deal with conflict.
My husband and I have an agreement (written and signed by both of us) on what to do whenever we have a disagreement.
This helps guide our actions and prevents us from unnecessarily dragging an issue.
4. Ignore Him
This sounds like something I can do, especially if he refuses to change after talking to him about his silent treatment over and over again.
Because if he has given you the silent treatment before and it worked — i.e., he got what he wanted — then he’ll probably try it again sometime in the future whenever he thinks it will work for him again.
In order to prevent this from happening, don’t respond at all when he goes silent on you.
If he wants attention so badly, let him stew in his juices for a while.
If he has gotten used to you reaching out every time he gives you the silent treatment, you have to stop it by letting him reach out for a change.
If he lets his ego ruin his relationship with you, perhaps he’s not the right man for you.