Turning off the ignore button
I’ve never figured out yet why people refer to silence as being golden. When someone switches on that ignore button and tunes you out; it has to be one of life’s greatest frustrations. In the old days they referred to it as sending you to Coventry; a form of punishment when you’d done something wrong. Shutting a person out in a relationship is hurtful to that person. Especially when they ask what’s wrong and get the reply, “Nothing.” It’s obvious to all and sundry that something is wrong. Nobody shuts out another for no reason and refusing to discuss it or communicate about it puts strain on the relationship.
While a woman might give the silent treatment for a while, it’s not as often as a man. When a man decides he’s no longer communicating, he does his impersonation of a brick wall. One you can’t go over, under, around or through. He gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘silent partner.’ For a woman this is scream-material, when whatever you do you get nothing back.
In my experience, men go into silent mode and put you on ignore for a reason. It could be that he’s genuinely not interested in what you have to say. He’s honest enough not to feign an interest in the particular shade of pink bow your friend bought for her pet poodle’s collar. You have to learn to distinguish between what he’s interested in and what he’s not. You might be regaling him with a long tale about what transpired at your lunch meeting with friends and he’ll interrupt you by saying, “Get to the point.” If what you’re telling him has nothing to do with him or your relationship, there’s a good chance you won’t care to know all the intimate details. Learn to read his body language. If he is starting to tune out then change the subject to something that he’d be interested in.
Men generally like to avoid conflict. They will often tell you what they think you want to hear to keep the peace. If they have to turn on the ignore button and go into silent mode, they’ll do it if it avoids an argument or a fight. If this is the case, then you need to examine how you react when he doesn’t agree with you, and if you actually listen to what he has to say and his point of view. You might need to curb your tongue in disagreements and work on developing the skills needed to become a good listener. A good way to work through a disagreement is to sit opposite each other with your kneecaps touching. Each person has a chance to speak and the other is not allowed to interrupt and may only speak when the partner has finished. You are not allowed to make accusatory remarks. Begin your sentences with ‘I statements.’ “I feel angry when…”
If you constantly interrupt him when he speaks, nag continuously, complain about everything or go off on some tangent that he forgets what it was you were actually talking about; then that will also be enough reason for him to zip his lips and focus on the show he is watching on television. When you see him starting to zone out then you need to change tack. Good communication is a two-way street. Reading body language should tell you why he is reaching for that ignore button, and to get him talking again you might need to adjust your own behaviour.
Excerpt from How to Say No to Sex and other Survival Tips for the Suddenly Single