Chances are, if there is stonewalling in your relationship, your partner cares more than you realize. If your partner is stonewalling you, you may feel yourself escalating to try to get a reaction from him. My advice: slow down. I know – you are frustrated, angry, maybe desperate and scared – you just want to get a reaction from him. But let me tell you, in more cases than not, if you continue to escalate and make a lot of noise, it’s going to keep him further blocked off from you. Take a step back and see what happens. I’m not guaranteeing that there will be any magic, but try another approach and see if he will come out of his shell.
If YOU are a stonewaller, I challenge you to take a step back and try something else. Instead of letting your wall go up, or instead of letting it go up all the way, see if you can show a sign to your partner that you do care, you are just feeling ________ fill in the blank (overwhelmed? Attacked? Hopeless? Accused? Something else?) Letting your partner know that your wall is just something you need right now to keep cool is great, it is much better hearing that from someone than getting a blank look or no response whatsoever.
Now you can at least identify these “four horsemen of the apocalypse” and hopefully slay these monsters if they appear in your relationship. Just because you may be experiencing them doesn’t mean you’re headed for divorce. You’re obviously interested in making things better, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, so carry on and stop the criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.
3.) Turning away
This is kind of like stonewalling, and is pretty self-explanatory. If your partner comes to you, particularly when trying to connect with you, and you turn away, this is not a good sign. Even if you are upset or angry, it is best to let your partner know than to turn away. Being ignored is hurtful and painful. Instead, try to turn toward your partner.
Perhaps your partner turns away from you. Again, just because you are getting no response from him, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. Please try to remember that – it is so painful to be ignored and feel invisible or like you don’t matter. It’s most likely not that your partner doesn’t care, but that he is feeling overwhelmed himself and doesn’t know what to do. Perhaps he feels he can’t get it right with you and figures it’s best to say nothing at all. Sometimes those who turn away are actually trying to preserve the relationship by preventing an all out blow out. It’s hard to say exactly what’s going on, but rest assured, something is happening other than your partner just not caring.
4.) Turning against