Your man’s response might be a predictable one. For example, if you say, “Honey, I need to talk to with you about last night,” you might already know that he will respond by remaining silent and completely ignoring your comment even though you're certain he heard it. Men are most likely to withdraw at the hint of an impending conflict, according to psychologist Shawn T. Smith in the Psychology Today article, “Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It.” Since silence isn’t golden when it’s maddening, learn how to respond to your man's lack of response.
Get to the Point
Men view the purpose of communication differently than women. During their social development, men are taught that communication should be goal-oriented, according counselor Richard Drobnick in the PsychCentral article, “Six Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently.” Discussing the mechanics of a car engine is considered manly – discussing the mechanics of a relationship is not. In other words, men talk to make a point or solve a problem with a plan and purpose in mind. Unlike women, men do not view communication as a tool for exploring feelings, sharing negative feelings and enhancing intimacy with a partner.
The Cave Getaway
Men retreat into a psychological, and if available, a physical “man cave” when under duress, notes Richard Drobnickin his PsychCentral article. By diverting his attention to other activities such as watching a game on television or visiting the golf course, a man minimizes his stress. In fact, men may be physically wired to shut down during stress. When researchers asked men and women to look at pictures of facial expressions, men demonstrated less brain response to fearful and angry facial expressions than women, reports Rick Nauret, associate professor at Rocky Mountain University, in the PsychCentral article, “Men Respond to Stress by Shutting Down.”
He Can Do It
Men need to feel that they are competent and capable problem-solvers, so they may withdraw when given directives instead of suggestions. The role of an acknowledged expert is a role that men embrace with enthusiasm and glee. In other words, a man likes to feel that he can effectively wrangle his problems, and yours. When you provide feedback that criticizes his problem-solving finesse, your man may withdraw because he feels angry, hurt and unappreciated for his talents, notes psychologist Shawn T. Smith.
No Blaming, Please
While you can’t undo what a man was taught in childhood, and you can’t rewire his brain, you can decrease the likelihood that he will withdraw, according to author Christian Carter in the Self Growth article, “Why Men Withdraw, and What to Do About It.” Don’t allow your anxiety about your relationship to culminate into a verbal tirade. Talk to your man in positive tone without accusations or criticisms. Remember to consider his perspective -- and resist the temptation to get caught up in venting your concerns without genuinely listening to your man’s issues.
- PsychCentral: Response to Stress Is Gender Specific
- PsychCentral: Why You Can't Get Your Husband to Talk
- Psychology Today: Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It (Part Two)
- Psychology Today: When He (or She) Just Doesn't Want to Talk About It
- Discovery: Ten Ways Men and Women Communicate Differently