What Should I Do When My Partner Won’t Talk to Me?

A man looks on in frustration when his partner won’t talk to him

If your partner is avoidant, they may find it difficult to discuss issues with you, and end up shutting down. Here are some tips to make it easier to discuss conflict with your partner when they won’t talk to you.

Key takeaways:

  • Recognize the reasons your partner may be withdrawing from the conversation and honor their space.

  • Write your thoughts and feelings down so you can recall them easier when you and your partner are in a safe space to communicate again.

  • Know how to self-soothe and have a list of coping skills you can employ.

  • Most people tend to get louder when they feel unheard but yelling isn’t healthy and can be triggering.

  • When it’s time to talk, use active listening and allow your partner to express themselves fully without getting defensive.

  • Use “I” statements and take accountability for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

  • Focus on the solution and set goals for difficult conversations.

All relationships have conflict. Resolving it peacefully and healthily can create safety in a relationship. To cultivate a sense of safety, communication needs to be healthy.

If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you and your partner have likely fallen into repetitive roles in the relationship. Each partner has their go-to tools that they resort to in times of need. For some, especially those with avoidant personalities, that may look like shutting down. This usually leads to the other partner pursuing communication without reciprocation.

The pursuant party may find that the harder they try to communicate, the more the other partner withdraws. This cycle can be persistent and is often frustrating to all – especially when the pursuant partner cranks up the volume as they feel unheard. This can turn into a disastrous cycle and eventually partners may stop trying to connect, which can lead to other serious relationship issues. If your partner clams up during conflict, here are seven tips to navigate what to do when they won’t talk to you.

No communication IS communication

Recognize that your partner’s choice not to communicate with you at the moment is a form of communication. Think about why they may have withdrawn – is it possible they’re overwhelmed? Are you being overbearing or worse, are you becoming aggressive with your attempts to communicate? Regardless of what’s happening on your end, they are telling you that they need some space.

It’s fine to back off and let cooler heads prevail. Honor their need