When One Partner Won’t Talk


Sometimes in a relationship there are really two kinds of people. There is the one who has to talk about everything. And there is the other who can’t talk about anything.

It does not astound me that all couples look like this. Even though it would be great if we could just talk with our partner if we are the talkers, the non-talkers probably wish they could just remain silent too.

Our Background Informs How We Handle Issues

It is a quandary, but there are reasons that people stay silent. Oftentimes we are taken back to how we grew up. If you lived in a home where feelings were not expressed and you saw your parents never showing any kind of emotion, then that is your model.

If you grew up with parents who yelled at each other, then this is your model. You learned to say what was bothering you and maybe you screamed it too. That’s how I grew up. My mother raised us alone and she often grew frustrated with what was happening in the home, especially if me and my siblings were fighting.

Mom would yell at us. We would yell at each other. We grew up yelling. I didn’t even know this was not acceptable behavior until I was in the outside world and got fired from one of my first jobs because I yelled at my supervisor.

You Can Learn New, Helpful Habits Over Time

It didn’t even phase me. I just wondered about it. It took me a lot of years to modify my yelling. Thankfully I don’t yell anymore.

But that’s another story. So, who did I partner with? Someone who does not talk about their feelings. I throw them up all the time and he says very little. So, I understand when people can’t say things.

It happens in a lot of relationships. What can people who want to talk to their mate do about this? Really nothing, except to not judge the one who is silent. Clearly, when one is silent, they learned that that was the only way to have emotions. Keep them inside. Don’t show them to anyone. Stay silent for as long as you need to.

Patience and Support Help Your Partner Establish New Habits

So, if you are the one who has to talk, see your wonderful mate as still trapped in an old habit. They have probably used this pattern so many times it is like second nature to them. They are not staying silent to make you mad. Please see this. It is just something they were trained to do.

So, to break the habit, the person who is silent must want to do something different. If that is not the case and you are the talker, at least you can do something if you accept that their habit is not about you.

And Your Compassion Helps Them Heal

If you can, you might be able to feel a great amount of compassion for them. And that is the healing agent that they need to improve. When they are silent, say to them from across the room, not in front of them, “I am here for you. I am staying with you. I will not leave you. I love you.”

And if you can say those words from the heart and not expect a response, your beloved will feel what they have never felt and that is your empathy, your concern and your love. This is their healing, and it might take many, many times for you to see change. But here is what I know, it works. It worked on me from my person, how he accepted me and my old habits, so now I pass it along.


Get a Little Help with Opening Up

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to communicate more openly by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you and your partner better articulate how you both feel and help both of you feel less anxious or worried about sharing your feelings. Give it a read.

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Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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