End the Silent Treatment In your Marriage

Edited by Debbie, Lynn, Eng, Jonathan and 14 others

Suppose you were given a gift-wrapped package with a label on it that said, "Handle with Care"? How would you treat that present? You would want to take every measure to try to avoid damaging...it wouldn't you?

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help
Silent treatmnt.jpg

It's strange when two people who were once so in love get to the point in their relationship where it's painful for them to even speak to each other. Sometimes they reason with themselves that at least they've stopped fighting. This makes them both uncomfortable, and still, the problem has not been resolved. The 'silent treatment' can harm your marriage. It's a form of emotional abuse that can make your spouse feel hurt, unloved, confused, and perhaps the most damaging - ignored. Why is this happening?

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Retaliation. Some spouses will use the silent treatment as a form of a payback. For example; a husband decides to make weekend plans without checking with his wife first. When she finds this out, she is upset and tells him he is inconsiderate. He reacts by telling her she is overreacting. The wife storms out of the room and simmers in silence. She is thinking to herself, well, he hurt me, so I am going to hurt him..

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Manipulation. Some remain silent as a way to get what they want. For instance; imagine a husband and wife make plans for a trip. The wife wants to invite her parents to come along. The husband does not like this idea, and tells his wife that he is married to her, not her parents. He then decides he will not talk to her for a while, shunning her in hopes that she will give in, and he'll get his way. A temporary time-out gives the couple an opportunity to let their emotions cool down when a disagreement is getting out of control. That kind of silence can be a benefit. But when it's used as a tool to get back at the other person, or manipulate them, it not only prolongs the problem, but it puts a strain on the entire relationship. How can this be prevented from happening?

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help
Silent smile.jpg

It's important to know that the silent treatment isn't actually a treatment. It may be effective at getting your spouse to give in to your needs, but at what cost? It doesn't solve the underlying issue that brought you to that place; in fact it creates more issues. Is that really how you want to treat your spouse - the person you promised to love?

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

There must be better ways to resolve conflicts.

Be Discerning. Don't overreact to emotional things your mate says to you. "You never pay attention to me!" This could actually be their way of communicating to you they feel you don't take them seriously, or they are feeling ignored and worthless.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Lower Your Voice Arguments can easily escalate as they continue. You can change the course of a heated discussion, just by being calm and speaking softly. Pay attention to your spouse's point of view. Listen - and then watch as the tension between you has been eased.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Think of we instead of me. Your spouse as your ally, and the moment you think of them as an enemy, your relationship is in big trouble. When you both think in terms of "we", there will be a lot fewer arguments, and both of you will be less likely to take offense. Make an agreement with your mate that using the silent treatment act is not acceptable in your marriage.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Throw the Ball Gently. In a game of catch, you pitch the ball so that it can be caught easily. You do not throw it with such power that you could injure someone. Think of that when you speak with your mate. Tossing bitter remarks at him or her will only cause harm. Speak gently, with be gracious, so that your spouse will catch your point.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Try to analyze and remember what caused your feud and started the silent treatment. Many times during the quarrels in the relationship, you might not even be able to remember what caused your bitterness towards each other. This means to say the factor that leads to your feud was really a matter that was better forgiven right away, like a little errand which was completely forgotten by the guy when he got home, or a petty statement that got out of hand and hurt the feelings of the girl. Or the boy throwing glances at another girl, not out of any malice at all, but simply because the other girl was just passing by. These things are simply forgivable, but because each party simply let pride get in the way, and the silent treatment started and got prolonged for hours, even days, the original reason why it all started will even be forgotten, but it has done some damage to the relationship.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." This quote from "Love Story", isn't about people refusing to apologize to each other, it's the idea that in a perfect love, neither will ever have to apologize, as the love between them is so deep, and the trust so profound, that even if something occurs to upset the other, they will always be sure there was never any intention to harm them. This kind of relationship is very rare. The reality is you'll have fights, lots of them. Often someone in the relationship will give the other the silent treatment, and instead of hurting each other, one of you is going to swallow their pride and be the first one to say sorry, even if it's not their fault. If, however, this is a pattern, and the person apologizing is the person on the wrong end of the "silent treatment", you need to find another way. By surrendering, you are allowing the person being silent to get their way - again.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

"Talk it Out" In the midst of an argument, it's hard to see who's more right than the other. Only discussion will solve things. Silence solves nothing, and it's very "high school". Even if the partner doing this is not really the party who is at fault, because of most of the time during the relationship, no one really knows who is the guilty party. Volunteer to listen. Sit, and tell your spouse - "I will sit here quietly, while you tell me what's bothering you. No shouting. No drama. Just a sensitive discussion.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Think of your spouse as a teammate and not your opponent.
  • Find something to do when you are given the silent treatment. Go for a walk, visit a friend, do a hobby you enjoy.
  • Don't pay back the silent treatment to someone else. Be kind to them and talk to them, showing them you want to get along and be polite.

Questions and Answers

How can I stop the silent treatment and get back into my spouse's good graces?

Silent treatment from a spouse can be very frustrating. A lot of couples go through this. While some are able to put up with it, others can't. Silent treatment is a passive-aggressive behavior. People who perform this childish act, often dislike conflict and direct confrontation. Giving you a silent treatment is their way to avoid a fight, but what they haven't considered, is this is usually more damaging than an argument. It may seem to work - for a while - but when it becomes a pattern, something should be done to change it. Discuss this with your spouse, but do not lose control of the situation by yelling, name-calling or blaming. Explain to your partner that it is "killing" you every time you receive the silent treatment. Explain to him/her how adversely it's affecting your relationship.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

When your partner decides to talk, listen carefully to what he or she has to say. Discuss and agree on the things that you need to work on so you can get back to the happy couple you used to be.

How to deal with withdrawn the silent treatment when I myself am the victim?

Hello there!

I went through a rough time and now have no emotional support from my spouse. He blames me when I say I'm stressed out and need to become quiet.

Thanks much, Depressed soul

It is very difficult to feel alone, especially in the most devastating times in your life such as losing a baby. However, it's wise to consider that everyone has different ways of coping with loss, or the death of a loved one. Both of you are grieving and yet this is the time when you need to be there for each other and not against each other.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  • Grieve. It is normal to experience a cacophony of emotions that include guilt, confusion, anger, and sorrow. It often ends up with couples blaming each other for the tragedy. It is important to allow yourself time and space to think and grieve. It feels so unfair that your partner is giving you the silent treatment at a time when you need his love and support the most. Still, but you may just have to allow him the space he needs to grieve in his way, while you grieve in yours.
Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  • Let It Go. It's important to be able to express your emotions and let go of all the fear, guilt and anger associated with the loss of your child. It's the sorrow that will take the longest time to heal, but heal you must, to be able to accept and move forward, despite the heartbreaking circumstances.
  • Seek Help. Surround yourself with loving family and friends. Join a support group that focuses on bereavement. Make sure you are around people who will help you cope with the stress and torment of losing your child. You should never have to deal with this alone. Choose to be with warm and encouraging people you can trust to help you out, especially in these vulnerable times. Steer clear of negative people who are judgmental and make you uncomfortable. If you need to, seek out professional help.
  • Communicate. Without communication, the loss of a child will place your relationship in severe jeopardy.
  • Forgive Yourself. This is the only way to let go and move on completely with your life.

My Fianceé was once so nice. We had a blissful relationship for 3 years.

For the last 2 years, it's been rough. When I try to communicate with him, he shuts me out and gives me the silent treatment for a few days. He blames everything on me and yells to the point where my body feels ill and I cower. He has been doing this for the last 2 years and I'm at the point where I want him out because I don't see things changing. He has never apologized to me. He says it's all my fault. Sometimes I just want to run from him.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help


My fiancé is giving me the silent treatment because I took a photo of him while he was changing my car tire.

My fiancé is giving me the silent treatment because I took a photo of him while he was changing my car tire. He got angry because I guess he felt I was irresponsible. I apologized and explained that I wanted us to remember this moment later on. I have tried: I tried calling and texting. I think it was caused by: He wanted to sleep and he had a hard time changing the car tire at night. He felt I was childish

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

He is being childish, not you. It is the intent, not the result. You just wanted a photo of him. He is a bad-tempered childish man. If he gets his panties in a twist over something trivial like this, what would he do if it was actually something important? Don't feel guilty for a moment, but perhaps take a long walk in the forest and ask yourself what you're doing with this guy. Just my two sense.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

I have been suffering the silent treatment for 4 years from my husband. I need advice on how to stop giving him the satisfaction of hurting me mentally and making me feel unworthy and unimportant. He does it on purpose. I know he is aware of his behavior.

How should I react when he ignores me intentionally me for days? I am constantly trying to make him happy. I ask a question and he looks straight ahead and does not answer. I have to say his name for an hour before he makes me feel crazy and snaps at me!

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

This man is a bully...a childish bully. He is oppressive and rude. Listen, there are seven billion people in the world, and this is the guy you married? Ask yourself this question. Out of the seven billion people in the world, who causes you the most pain? I don't think you can fix something that's that badly broken. No one should live in an environment where they are ignored. No one should feel bad about themselves because of the man they love. That's not love. My two cents.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

For one week now, he hasn't talked to me. How should I contact him?

My partner had to stay with his mother to take care of her as she is old and sick. It has been 6 months now, and we basically communicated only over the phone. I am working full-time as a teacher, and he is retired. We have been together 6 years. He's always been a very deep philosophical person, with many financial problems and has issues with perfectionism. He also has anger issues, but he deals with them silently and has never been physically abusive. 7 days ago I went to sleep and in the morning I found messages he's left saying, "Where are you?" "Thank you for not answering" and "Don't talk to me again, I will not answer you" I heard some messages come in, but after working all week, I couldn't wake up because I was so tired. In addition, the temperature here is sometimes 45 degrees Celsius. Since then he has not talked to me and I feel the negative energy inside me asking myself why? What did I do wrong, again? I have feelings of anxiety and fear losing him. I am sometimes thinking - just run away and never look back. I have tried: I sent him a message thanking him for the computer for my son and asking if he needs money, I can send him some. He replied, No, thanks. Yesterday I informed him that someone is coming to look at our old car for sale... He replied 'Thanks'. I think it was caused by: Maybe he is under stress from caring for his mother and I was not there for him at night when he needed me? Is he coping with his stress and anxiety about his mum?

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

He is dealing with stress and upset that you did not respond to him. He should have understood your reason for why you did not respond but right now he is in a bubble of caring for his mother so everything will seem bigger than usual.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

My wife doesn't want to see things from my point view?

My wife always feels she is right even when she is entirely wrong and doesn't see her mistakes under any circumstances? How do I solve it? I have tried: Talking to her on a rational manner and explaining to her how that makes me feel. I think it was caused by: Lack of communication from her side..

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Stop trying to tell her that she is wrong. Instead, just agree with her and see is the process changes. You may feel that she is not being rational while she is feeling that you are demeaning her intelligence. The push and pull of this is toxic. Give her some control and see where it leads.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

My husband is not speaking to me at all after 15 days of married life?

My husband is not speaking to me at all after 15 days of married life. I have tried: I tried to speak to him every now and then. I think it was caused by: No idea!

You need to figure out proper communication with him or this marriage has no chance of surviving. Ask him what you did that was wrong or try to figure out what it is and then apologize and ask him how you can resolve this with him.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

See more questions like this: My husband didn't speak to me for 20 days from the day our son was born?

It's been two weeks now, haven't talked to my husband because he is just too petty, does not accept when wrong and commands?

It has been two weeks now, haven't talked to my husband because he is just too petty, does not accept when wrong. he is all over in the house. Anything happening in the kitchen, he must be updated, sitting room, chores etc. I find it so strange. This now has been a norm of every time quarreling. What should I do? It's both sided. We are both participants unlike what I have read in the article. It is eating up my marriage. I have tried: Separate chores from mine. Talk it out the two of us. I think it was caused by: Anger, ego, spending most of his time home which as result we hit on.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

What changed in his life? A job loss? Retirement? Illness? Something has him feeling out of control so he is overcompensating at home. Instead of thinking it is his ego, consider that he has lost his previous "identity" as the provider of the home. Until he figures out what his new identity is, he will continue this behavior. You should also make him feel secure in the relationship. This will help with the stress that he is feeling. Some people have to stay busy even after retirement or else they go off the rails with emotions. Perhaps there is a hobby that he can enjoy again?

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

My wife is giving me the silent treatment. I'm getting sick of it?

Basically, that is it.. We have to move for a few months for business, I discussed with people who my wife respects and they all agree its a good idea. However, my wife doesn't like it still and now it is my fault and is giving me silent treatment

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Does she have to go with you? She is scared of the change or perhaps you did not discuss this change with her before the decision was made. Speaking to people that she respects is not the same as asking her what her opinion is on the decision. If you want to end the silent treatment, ask her if she would like to stay with friends or family while you are away for business. She may be scared to leave her hometown where she feels safe with friends and family.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Article Info

Categories : Marriage

Recent edits by: shanice tunda, Inukshuk, matlaisr

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 12,995 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No