Why Men Give The Silent Treatment After A Breakup & How To Deal With It

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man looking out a window giving silent treatment
Heartbreak

There are many reasons why men give the silent treatment after a breakup.

There are times when the silent treatment is completely valid, and there are times when it's not. In the second case, the silent treatment is used as a tool for manipulation and control.

If somebody wants personal space from you, no matter how confusing and devastating it is, you have to accept it — especially if you ever hope for a conversation about getting back together in the future. 

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After a breakup, it makes sense that someone would need a little space, even if he was the one to initiate the breakup. This is why communicating your boundaries is so crucial. 

"When men are giving silent treatment after a breakup," says Hypnotherapist Keya Murthy, "they are dealing with the hurt on their own. This is their way of letting the other know 'I need a time out so I can heal.'" 

The best thing to say when someone is giving you the silent treatment? Nothing.

If he's doing it because he needs space, give him space. It's possible that once he's figured out what he's feeling, he'll reach out to you when he's ready.

If he's blocking you on social media and purposely cutting you out of his life to gain power over you, congratulations on breaking up with him.

Seriously, if someone's going out of their way to inflict emotional pain onto you, then they're definitely not worth your time. 

Why Men Give the Silent Treatment After a Breakup

1. He's trying to protect himself

Sometimes people are so terrified of being hurt — or hurt again — that they assume it’s best to shut down.

To them, it might feel easier to ignore you, rather than talk things through.

2. He's trying to make you feel emotional pain.

This is the worst reason for the silent treatment after a breakup.

For some, the silent treatment is a way to hurt you right back.

Don't let it get to you. Focus on yourself and soothing your wounds. 

3. He's trying to manipulate you.

Similar to the reason above, his silence could be a strategy to inflict pain.

If you're his ex, the silent treatment can leave you stressed and confused and cause you to spiral into anxiety. This leaves you vulnerable and desperate for his attention, which is exactly what he wants.

You might not always know when someone is using the silent treatment to manipulate you, so it's worth becoming familiar with the signs of emotional manipulation. If they are or were present in your relationship, it's likely that he's using the silent treatment as a weapon.

4. He's just trying to make some space for himself. 

Another option is that he's just trying to cool down. He may not be sure about what he's feeling and either doesn't want or doesn't know how to talk to you about it.

Are you sure that he's giving you the silent treatment, or did he ask to be left alone? According to Relationship Coach Keith Dent, those are two completely different situations.

"Asking for personal space is empowering and the highest form of communication because you are showing your partner that you have needs and if you love me and care for my personal well being then you will honor it," Dent explains.

The silent treatment, however, "shows your partner that you're not willing to engage and basically will take what you need which ultimately could damage the relationship in the long-term."

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How to Deal with the Silent Treatment

"When someone is giving you the silent treatment it is best to leave them alone and let them do the healing on their own terms, in their own time and space," Murthy explains.

1. Spend time with family and friends.

The key here is not about bottling up your emotions. 

It's about learning who to express your frustrations to.

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Obviously, your ex is off-limits. Your friends and family, the people you can trust the most, will give you the green light to let it all out. 

2. Make sure you leave the house.

Wallowing in self-pity all day is not going to help you get over it, friend.

Make sure you have some outdoor time. Run some errands and meet up with your friends.

Get your mind off of it. 

3. Stop looking at his social media

It's not helping you, just hurting you.

The more time you spend looking at your phone for answers, the more confused and stressed you'll be. 

4. Stop contacting him.

The more you try to break the ice, the more it's going to break you psychologically and push him away.

"If you have a common friend you can call and check in if you still care," says Murthy. "When someone says 'nothing' it means they do not have words right now to respond to your queries."

Let it be. No matter how justified you are in your anger, you can't force a response out of him. 

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Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture.