Do you find your partner intentionally shutting down whenever you bring up a serious issue for discussion? Do you find your partner getting intimidated during the ongoing argument, and conveniently switching the topic?
Perhaps you are a victim of stonewalling in your relationship!
In this article, you will know what stonewalling in relationships is and how it is detrimental to a relationship’s happiness and well-being.
What is stonewalling in relationships?
Communication is the key to a successful relationship. It is of utmost importance, particularly in relations that matter most.
If communication is hampered in a relationship, it escalates the pre-existing issues to a deeper level. Also, the intimacy in relationships goes for a toss when one of the partners resort to stonewalling.
So, what is stonewalling in a relationship?
Stonewalling is a behavior that can be described as the act of employing delaying strategies.
The person who stonewalls another avoids confrontation or simply refuses to acknowledge the other person’s concerns. Stonewalling can occur in a variety of relationships.
Some of the most common examples of this behavior can be seen in married couples, where one partner stonewalls the other. The partner who stonewalls the other may dismiss the other’s feelings or walk out in the middle of a dialogue.
Usually, in such circumstances, the discussion may end before any fruitful results can be achieved.
Stonewalling in a marriage
Marriage is a relationship that requires constant work and effort from both partners.
In most marriages, one partner may have to compromise more than the other in order to make situations work. However, if the efforts are always one-sided, feelings of resentment may take their toll on the couple.
Stonewalling is one of the four major types of behaviors identified and known to result in a failed marriage.
Men more commonly display this type of behavior compared to women, and that is why in most marriages, it is the husband who (intentionally or unintentionally) stonewalls the wife.
But, at the same time, it is essential to realize that anyone can be stonewalled in relationships, including men.
Many people stonewall their partners without realizing the effects their behavior has on their loved ones.
Here are some of the commonly used phrases while stonewalling in relationships:
I don’t want to talk right now
I’ve had enough
Don’t start all over again
End of discussion
Leave me alone
Go away! I don’t want to listen to anything right now.
To get a better understanding of how stonewalling psychology works, consider the following example –
John and Libby have been married for two years. During this period, they have had multiple arguments over several issues. John comes home late from work, and after he returns, he usually gets busy on his cell phone.
This behavior makes Libby unhappy and on various occasions, she has told John about how she feels.
Most of the time that she has tried to confront John, he gave no non-verbal cues about how he felt and behaved as if he had completely tuned Libby out.
In certain instances, he only showed his displeasure by leaving the room after telling Libby that he had had enough of these discussions and wanted to hear nothing more.
This is a classic example of the husband stonewalling his wife. Often, spouses do so in order to avoid conflict or simply because they don’t want to deal with the situations.
It is important to note that stonewalling is very different from taking a break.
When a person takes a break, they take out time to reflect on the situation and this usually brings beneficial results. Whereas, in stonewalling behavior, no such thought process is involved.
Effects of stonewalling
In many cases, where stonewalling in relationships is a regular feature, it has been recognized as a form of psychological abuse.
Stonewalling can leave ones partner feeling absolutely vulnerable.
The effects of stonewalling on any marital relationship are derogatory. Many times when a person stonewalls their spouse, the spouse experiences stress and anxiety.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.