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Killing him not-so-softly with your silence

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a relationship expert and an internationally respected psychologist, author and seminar leader. She has given life-changing guidance to couples for more than 20 years.

Check out Noelle’s relationship and marriage ...

Say no to the silent treatment

The Silent Treatment. Does it work for you? Could there be a better way to deal with conflicts in your relationship? Read on...

Frustrated couple


Deadly silent

Oh, we gals think we are so clever, so smart! So morally superior, as we respond to something our honey does with The Silent Treatment.

Not for us the yelling and screaming of dysfunctional relationships! Not that. No calling him names. No trashing his family origins or his manhood. Nuh-uh, never. That would be way beneath us. Instead, we zip our impeccably glossed lips. And wait.

Because we know, through our highly developed female senses, and with eons of female wisdom backing us up, that eventually he'll come around. Eventually he'll beg and plead "What did I do?!" "I don't know what I did, but whatever I did, I'm sorry!" which puts us in the catbird seat. We get to lord it over him as we tell him how awful he was to us, and here's how it can make it up.

Which all works very nicely until he's fed up with it, and either becomes inured to our Silent Treatment and amuses himself otherwise until we get over it, or... leaves.

Why the silent treatment doesn't work

Yes, that's right, ladies -- leaves. Maybe not leaves as in "divorce," but certainly "leaves" as in doesn't share his feelings or thoughts with us anymore, spends more time apart from us than with us, doesn't go out of his way to please us.

Why? Because he doesn't feel safe with us anymore. He doesn't know when he might get frozen out without notice. So he stops reaching out. And a warm intimate part of your marriage dies.

The solution?

Easy! Quit pulling the Silent Treatment! Better to say "That hurt!" or "I'm not comfortable when you…" or "I'm confused. What do you mean by…?" Learn good communication skills. And use them. You'll both benefit.

More communications tips for couples

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