Experts and couples that have stood the test of time agree that communication is key if you want to make a relationship work and last. But what happens when words fail to solve problems? Are there situations in which the ‘silent treatment’ could be a good solution? Sometimes, knowing how to ignore your husband just in the right proportion might teach him a lesson, get his attention and open the necessary communication channel toward reconciliation.
This article will focus on those situations in which the silent treatment might turn into a positive course. We will also provide some tips on how to put it into practice without endangering your marriage.
Is it a good idea to ignore your husband to teach him a lesson?
Sometimes, we hurt the people we love the most without even realizing it. If your husband has hurt you unintentionally and seems to be unaware of the caused damage, giving him the silent treatment is a good indicator that there is something bothering you and you expect him to take action.
Creating emotional distance will help your husband understand how you really feel and might motivate him to make things right again.
On the contrary, if your husband has intentionally hurt you, giving him the silent treatment is preferable to confronting him directly. This strategy will allow you to cool down, think things thoroughly, and regain control over the situation. Sometimes, silence really is gold.
However, you should make sure not to take things to an extreme. Because, in the end, the purpose of the silent treatment is to convince your husband to do some self-reflection and identify those words or actions that hurt you so badly. Keep in mind that the cold shoulder treatment might have a boomerang effect. You are running the risk of worsening things:
- It might add stress on your children and family members.
- If your husband doesn’t manage to identify what exactly has hurt you, there might be misunderstandings with serious consequences (e.g. he might think you no longer love him and you are considering getting a divorce).
- Out of pure ego, your husband might feel the need to ignore you back.
- He might think you are trying to manipulate him, thus making things even worse.
So make sure to use the silent treatment in a healthy dosage.
Tips on how to put the silent treatment into practice
- Act as if he wasn’t there
Just pretend he was invisible. If he tries to talk to you, go to another room. Walk past him as if he were Oliver Jackson-Cohen in ‘The Invisible Man’. Ignoring his phone calls might also be a good strategy. Unless, of course, you know that there might be an emergency (which often happens when kids are involved).
- Use monosyllabic answers whenever possible
Of course, there are situations that cannot be ignored and require an answer from your part. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot use cold answers such as ‘Ok’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, etc. Your answers should be as brief as possible, without further explanations or the desire to engage in a conversation. ‘Off to work. Be back at 3’ should suffice.
- Make him miss spending time with you
Dedicate as much time as possible to yourself and make plans that do not involve him: go running, have dinner with friends, go to the movies, keep yourself busy around the house, etc. Just make sure to make it obvious to him that you can have fun on your own as well. Uploading pictures of your fun adventures on social media definitely helps. He will soon start missing spending time with you and might even make him feel a little bit jealous. That should motivate him to do some introspection.
- Put some physical distance between you
You can avoid making eye contact, sitting next to him, holding hands, hugging, or kissing. When there is love, it is difficult not to get close to your beloved one. But it’s all for the sake of a valuable lesson!
- Don’t answer his messages
Of course, if it is not something important that requires immediate action. Has he just sent you a message on Whatsapp asking how you are doing? Read the message and take your time to reply…or just ignore his message. That should teach him not to take your attention and time for granted and make him wonder what he did wrong. Since you are at it, make sure to ignore him on social media too.
- Play the ego-centric role for a couple of days
What goes together like a horse and carriage? Yes, you are right: marriage. If, until now, you were making plans for two, it’s time to rearrange your priorities and focus on yourself. Focus on those things that make you mentally and physically happy and that do not involve him. For instance, re-read your favorite book, watch your favorite movie, go to the spa, etc. No one can resist a person exuding happiness and auto-sufficiency. That will definitely get your husband’s attention and motivate him to work things out.
- Be patient and give him time to act at his own pace
Sometimes, men find it somewhat difficult to take the first step. You must be patient and give him all your attention when he is ready to talk to you. In the end, problems can only be solved through open communication. And it is a sign that he has learned the lesson.
If the silent treatment doesn’t seem to work as expected and you feel ready to talk things out, you can always take the first step and let him know exactly how you feel and how you think the problem might be solved. If he loves you, he won’t hesitate to work things out. Keep in mind that the silent treatment only works if there is love.
Even though the silent treatment might sometimes motivate your husband to analyze his own behavior and fix the mistakes he has made, you must keep in mind that there is another method you should try out first: open communication. Openly sharing your feelings with your husband might be the best medicine for your problems.
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