How to Break Silence in a Relationship: 10 Simple Steps
In This Article
Humans are naturally social. Sharing feelings and thoughts can be liberating and validating. And most of these conversations happen with your closest people, especially your romantic or life partner.
Unfortunately, that can put tremendous pressure on each mate to find new and innovative ways to entertain the other person continuously. In reality, we sometimes want to simply be.
If this is an awkward quiet in a young union for which you’re attempting to discern how to break silence in a relationship, there are steps you can take together, like workshops to learn how to be more communicative.
But In reality, longer-term partnerships often realize a particular comfortable silence when you can sit in a room together, participating in individual activities enjoying each other’s company without saying a word. It all depends on how you translate the lack of conversation.
What does silence mean in a relationship?
The silence in relationships can have varied reasons, from “stonewalling” or giving the “silent treatment” to a partner when arguing to simply being comfortable with the partnership after spending time together for a significant number of years.
Stonewalling is toxic or harmful. There’s a need to seek counseling or leave the situation in a toxic atmosphere since one mate uses the tactic to control their partner. That creates stress and tension for a significant other and causes an overall unhealthy couplehood.
There are also moments when things are new that mates develop an awkward silence in a relationship, simply running out of things to say to each other. In these situations, the couple needs to work on their communication.
They’ve come beyond the “chit-chat” stage and are moving into more in-depth conversations. Each is still learning how to approach that with the other person. That is something they can practice together or even attend classes or counseling for guidance on working through this awkward phase.
Related Reading: Understanding The Role Of Silence In Relationships
Is silence okay in a relationship?
The silence between lovers can be perfectly natural. Some couples have been together for a long time, and it’s nothing for them to be in the same room for hours engaged in activities without saying a word for sometimes a few hours perfectly content.
That doesn’t mean they never have engaging conversations, merely that they are capable of entertaining themselves and enjoying good conversation with each other.
It’s all in how you interpret the silence. If you argue often and someone uses this method for a prolonged period to respond to the disagreement, that’s not okay, nor is it healthy.
However, if you choose to be silent to diffuse a situation where a mate is angry, and there’s entirely too much tension, preferring to let things cool down before you have the conversation, that is okay. It all depends on your particular situation.
If it is a negative situation, then learning how to break silence in a relationship is crucial to its survival.
What is the cause of silence in a relationship?
When a relationship goes silent, there can be numerous causes for the issue, like one person doesn’t want to involve themselves in the argument that’s about to take place. Sometimes it’s better to allow a partner to cool down before communicating so it can be done constructively.
New partnerships transitioning from the honeymoon phase into more of an exclusive commitment can go silent because they’re attempting to learn how to go from the giddy empty conversations when dating into more meaningful communication of a committed couple.
That leaves them awkward and unsure of how to approach any discussion. Some other causes suggested:
- Toxicity or an attempt to control the outcome of an argument with prolonged silence; inflicting emotional discomfort on a partner
- Going silent when a partner acts as though the situation is not serious
- Lack of communication skills
- Taking time to cool a temper
- Hoping to get some attention
The problem with attempting to gain attention from the silent treatment is if it works, the manipulation will continue all the time, so they get what they’re craving.
What needs to happen is sitting down, having a conversation, and explaining that the behavior is not the right way to go about getting your attention. Healthy communication with expressing a lack of attention will be much more productive.
How to utilize the power of silence after a breakup
After a breakup, there is a “no-contact” (unwritten) stipulation that couples are supposed to live by to help ease the stages of grief, especially if you’ve been together for a significant time. The power of silence allows for this healing to occur.
There is no need to understand how to break silence in a relationship if you don’t want to reconcile things with your partner. The silence can be a tool that you use to sever ties completely when you know that communication of any kind may make things appear
10 steps to break relationship silence
When contemplating how to break silence in a relationship, you need to determine the cause of the lack of communication. In many cases, it can result from an argument with each partner unsure of how to break the silence after a fight.
Sometimes, the meaning of silence in relationships could be to diffuse a temper during a disagreement. No one wants to communicate when someone is angry or aggressive. Partners aren’t listening in that state.
The problem is after cooling down, there’s disappointment in themselves for becoming so upset and uncertainty on how to break silence created. Let’s look at a few recommendations on how to combat silence when things become awkward.
1. Text a thoughtful message
Suppose you decide to figure out how to break the silence in a text after a fight. In that case, the digital world allows you to avoid an uncomfortable face-to-face interaction instead of breaking the ice by messaging.
While you want to avoid leading the conversation with romantic gestures since there was a significant disagreement, the idea is to express perhaps regret over what happened.
The notion is to simply initiate a conversation that can be followed up with an in-person meeting.
There might be some awkwardness when seeing each other, but you can relieve some of that by using funny things to say to break the silence. Humor is always an effective tool for making people feel comfortable.
2. Make a phone call
An even better effort when discerning how to break silence in a relationship is to call. Most people don’t attempt to speak with someone over the phone anymore.
That speaks volumes to a mate when they see your number on their phone. You have to understand, though, a partner might not pick up the line. In that situation, you can then resort to your text expressing to your significant other what break the silence meaning has for you.
A straightforward method for how to break silence in a relationship is to apologize whether you’re the reason why things have gone quiet or the disagreement or not. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone you’re sorry for the part you played for why you’re where you are now.
While it takes two for things to be good in a couplehood, two people create rough patches meaning it isn’t a competition who apologizes first.
If you want to learn about the perfect apology in three easy steps, watch this video:
4. Schedule a coffee date
A coffee date is simple and doesn’t force a long, drawn-out dinner. It instead allows a brief first encounter where you can each work through the initial awkwardness.
Then if you choose to move into a dinner date, or you can decide to take things slowly with more small interactions until you get through the worst of the hardship since that is what silence means in a relationship. You’re having trouble in an area of the partnership that needs working out.
5. Avoid reacting to toxicity.
When a silent treatment is prolonged and disrespectful, used as a tactic to control you, it borders on abuse and should receive no reaction.
Emotional abuse is toxic, unhealthy behavior from someone who either wants attention or some sort of response from you. You shouldn’t tolerate it, nor should you give a mate the satisfaction of a reaction. It makes it essential to learn how to break silence in a relationship.
When the person finally comes around, speak calmly and normally, advising the partner that “punishing” you with a silent treatment is not appropriate and will not be acceptable behavior if you’re to continue as a couple.
Read the book by Tom Brown entitled, “Breaking Toxic Soul Ties: Healing From Unhealthy and Controlling Relationships,” for guidance in this type of situation.
Related Reading: How to Recover From a Toxic Relationship: 15 Effective Ways
6. Give the other person space
After considering how to break silence in a relationship, one method that might be necessary is to give each other space apart, especially if things are becoming awkward in the home.
You might need time to think about why it’s gotten to this point to see how things would be if the other person weren’t in your life.
Often that’s all it takes to make couples want to break the silence and attempt healthy communication to work the issues out.
7. Workshops or classes
Suppose you’re having disagreements because you don’t know how to break silence in a relationship. In that case, the partnership could be transitioning from merely dating to a more significant commitment, and you’re experiencing growing pains. Check out some classes to help guide you through the process.
The primary issue is you likely haven’t had deep, intellectual conversations to this point and are uncertain how to take each other seriously enough yet since you’re coming from the honeymoon phase where everything was sugary and sweet.
Workshops will help you learn perhaps some conversation starters or teach you to better interact with each other on a more severe level.
8. Use the situation to create boundaries
Each argument or disagreement should result in a learning experience. That means there can genuinely be benefits of silence in a relationship because it can help the two of you set boundaries from that point moving forward.
Since most couples don’t enjoy going through a silent period, the result of that period can be that from that point, moving forward, open, honest communication is the only acceptable recourse when there’s a conflict.
If someone attempts to overstep those boundaries, the other person has a right to call them out on doing so at that very moment.
Related Reading: 15 Must-Have Healthy Boundaries In Marriage
9. Take control of the situation
When silence is not coming to a halt, and you become frustrated with ending it, take control of the situation.
Ask your partner to put away all the devices, disconnect from the phone laptop, turn everything off for roughly an hour in the evening so you can discuss the situation with no interruptions or distractions.
There should be no lingering feelings of anger or temper left, only the awkward silence, so communication, even if you need to carry it for the first little bit, should begin to flow
10. Consult with a counselor
When looking into ways how to break silence in a relationship after you’ve tried most techniques, it’s wise to look into professional couples counseling. Experts can help you see aspects of the situation you might overlook, plus they will move the conversation.
Related Reading: 6 Reasons to Get Professional Marriage Counseling Advice
Silence is not always an indication of a rough patch in a partnership. Sometimes it’s an indication of comfortability.
Still, suppose there are troubles, and you’re trying to figure out how to break silence in a relationship. In that case, the priority is opening the line of communication in whatever way you need to, even if it means sending a note with a friend or messaging via text.
When it becomes awkward and none of the methods are working, consult with a couple’s counselor, especially if the union is vital to the two of you. An expert in the industry will get a dialogue started and show you techniques to prevent silence from coming between you in the future.
Share this article on
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.