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Silent treatment and communication issues...

Community Member

My wife and I are married for 18 years. Since the beginning of the marriage, we have had a problem with conflict and communication because she does not like to talk about problems (she is from Singapore) and she likes to use Silent Treatment.
At the beginning of the marriage, these things were not so bad. Her Silent Treatment was pretty short and we were quite busy. Moved twice between two continents, job, our son, house and therefore relationship problems were never really a topic.
Since 5 years, we are more established and now these problems are getting worse. I under her silent treatment, which can take up to 5 days. I was always patience, have tried to approach her, but she was often cold as ice.

So, I started researching and found that she may have narcissistic tendencies. I think she's pretty dominant in our relationship. After another silent treatment episode (6 months ago), I told her that I would not pursue or approach her anymore during these episodes.

Then I did some more research and today I think I may be too weak, as I have never learned to fight for my interests, needs, etc., and that's the reason why she seems so overpowering. Admittedly, my love for her has changed and today I see her differently. I have also changed, trying to be more assertive and I feel better now. But often I react more aggressively than I want.

She has been very unsettled since those 6 months. Tells me often I would not love her anymore and she is quickly irritated and more aggressive, too. I think that we are totally in a circle and really do not know how we get out of it. Often the mood at home is toxic and cynical.

When I look at our relationship I become quite sad and I feel helpless.

Any ideas?

2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Silence is, like many "tools" is abuse, a weapon designed to punish.

I had an ex wife that would use silence for up to 3-4 weeks long usually just by didagreeing with her or raising my voice through frustration of ill treatment from her.

Use google to read these threads.

Beyondblue Topic the definition of abuse

And here is a thread on breaking the deadlock, but your wife would need to change her ways

Beyondblue Topic relationship strife, the peace pipe.

silence is impossible to fix as that person is violating the marriage and is not negotiable. You can seek counseling by contacting "Relationships Australia". If she refuses to go then attend by yourself to see if you can learn new coping skills.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Duesentrieb,

I don't really have too many ideas as I'm no relationship expert, but what I can tell you is that I have had a similar experience ...... and I wish I could tell you it's been happily resolved, but unfortunately it was not. What I mean by that is that I am now divorced.

However, what I think was part of the issue was that my (now ex) husband and I spoke different 'love languages'. There is a book and other online information about the different languages of love and how some people prefer to use words of encouragement, other people prefer giving gifts, and still others prefer to be like a helper by performing tasks for their loved one. I like using words of encouragement, and he liked performing tasks, but he was not really a talker at all.

The other part of the issue though, is that to this day, I believe he is either on the Autism Spectrum or has a condition/syndrome called Alexithymia. I did try to discuss this with him several times, and we even went to counselling on a number of occasions, but, like I said, he was not good at communication so it often felt like a very one-sided effort.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and my ex husband is not a bad guy. He just didn't seem to have the ability to communicate in a way that I needed.

What I would like to encourage you to do is research. Find out as much as you can if there is something that can be done that will benefit both of you, and help to open up and maybe change the way to communicate and understand each other. Do all that you can that is within your power to help and/or change the way things are now. And if things don't improve and it all turns to sh*t, then at least you will know you have given it your best.

Try and keep an open mind though too, and if talking about things is not her style, then perhaps try to be open to other ways of her expressing herself. Maybe she could write you a letter about how she's feeling and why?

Whatever happens, I do hope you and your partner can turn things around and get back to loving and enjoying each other.

Oh, and before I go, I do now have a new partner and am very happy with him! 🙂

All the best.