Why People Stop Talking

Carolyn Rexius's picture
Some of the couples I’ve met with over the years tell me that after a disagreement, they often go hours, days or in some cases even weeks in the “silent treatment”. We’ve all been there. You don’t talk or even acknowledge the other person as you go through your daily activities. We all know this is an unhealthy way to deal with tension but it got me thinking. I realized that men and women stop talking for two different reasons.

"Why Men Stop Talking"

When men stop talking, it’s not to be mean or to punish their partner. Most of the time men stop talking because they think they’re going to get in trouble. What if they say the wrong thing? What if they’re misunderstood? What if they add to the problem and say something that offends their partner? That’s one of the things men fear most from their mates. Will I be in trouble? It’s no fun and it might explain why men are often so quiet. 

Why Do Women Stop Talking? 

I believe it’s because they fear that their partner isn’t listening. Not being heard and understood is painful and can even be embarrassing. It’s important to all human beings to make connection-to be listened to and understood. Often women won’t take the risk of not being heard so they won’t talk at all.

How You Can Improve

If you and your partner have set up unhealthy habits of not listening- really listening to one another, then communication is never going to be what it can be and your relationship will suffer. Try something tonight. Turn the cell phones off, sit down, and with no kids around and no TV, talk to one another. But this time really listen. You may be surprised at what you hear.