How do I handle getting the silent treatment from my boyfriend?

When my boyfriend gets in a snit, he gives me the silent treatment for days. When I ask what is wrong, I get nothing: no reply, no phone call. If he does reply, it is something very sarcastic and hurtful. He never admits he is wrong and never apologizes.

Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH, CCTP, CCH
Lauren Ostrowski, MA, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH, CCTP, CCH
I tailor my therapeutic approach to each client's strengths and goals

This has to be very difficult to endure.

It's pretty common for members of a couple to have different ways of resolving conflict. Very often, one person wants to deal with the conflict right away or shortly thereafter and the other person wants to wait. One thing that sometimes works is to consider having a conversation when you are not upset with one another about taking some sort of timeout and setting a timeframe for something like "I cannot talk about this now, but we can talk about it in two hours."

My best guess is that your boyfriend is triggered by some previous relationship, either romantic or in childhood. If he is aware of something that he thinks or feels when you ask him to resolve conflict or to discuss it, it would be good to know what that is. It could even be that he's learned to handle conflict that way.

Something else you could try is to have a conversation where you each discuss what is acceptable for what is acceptable for each of you during an argument and what is not. These sorts of discussions can be very difficult and you may benefit from working through them with a mental health professional who has some experience working with couples.

As far as what you can do now, perhaps you can remind yourself that these things have worked out before, that you love him and believe that he loves you, or some other statements that are true for you. You may also consider finding ways to soothe yourself. For example, you may find that you like certain outdoor activities or reading a certain type of book or something else that gives you pleasure.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal, as if you want to hurt or kill yourself or someone else, or are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), call 911, or proceed to your local emergency room.

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