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Silent Treatment vs Cooling Off


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Old 29th September 2009, 8:38 PM   #1
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Silent Treatment vs Cooling Off

I'm curious to see what everyone's take on this is. At what point does cooling off turn into the silent treatment? Can you even tell the difference?

IMO, after 24 hours and a good full rest, if I haven't heard from my SO then it's no longer cooling off and it's now moved into the silent treatment. Is that too soon of a window?

I've always used a cooling off period during an argument or when things get heated as a way to filter what I might say next. The things you'd say you'd instantly regret. But withing a few hours I am usually calmed to the point where I'm ready to talk again. But the silent treatment, that's just spineless. Nobody likes to be ostracized.
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Old 29th September 2009, 8:59 PM   #2
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I don't know.. interesting post..

I have a girlfriend who sometimes cools off for two or three days before talking to him again for fear that she may say something she regrets..

She lives with him and is not mean or cruel to him during that time, just doesn't engage in converstation with him until she is in complete control of her feelings, if she wants to discuss the arguement she does, otherwise seh forgives and forgets after a few days...

I guess it just depends on the intentions of that person.. She always knows she is just trying to control herself and not bein cruel by ignoring him... and he knows this too..
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Old 29th September 2009, 9:14 PM   #3
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I don't know.. interesting post..

I have a girlfriend who sometimes cools off for two or three days before talking to him again for fear that she may say something she regrets..

She lives with him and is not mean or cruel to him during that time, just doesn't engage in converstation with him until she is in complete control of her feelings, if she wants to discuss the arguement she does, otherwise seh forgives and forgets after a few days...

I guess it just depends on the intentions of that person.. She always knows she is just trying to control herself and not bein cruel by ignoring him... and he knows this too..
Holy cow! 2-3 days? How can one person stay angry for that long unless it's something earth shattering. I have a hard time staying angry for 45 minutes. It's almost a flaw. I just want to deal with things now, get it cleared, and move into the future. Sometimes that causes me to want to push the other person too soon, but I'm working on that. But I tend to live by the mantra of not knowing what the next hour holds, so I try to make peace with people before it's too late. We all assume that we'll be on this planet for many years and that's not always the case. Usually the most grief stricken person at a funeral is the person who held onto a grudge for too long.

I bolded the part because actually, the silent treatment is a serious form of abuse. It's almost as mean if not meaner than physical abuse.
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Old 29th September 2009, 10:28 PM   #4
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I think it depends on the person, what the argument and what transpired during the argument. Not to mention, how serious the relationship is.
Honestly, if I truley loved the man, but was still pissed after 24 hours or so, I would call when I knew he wasn't home. I'd leave a message saying that exactly..."I love you, but I am still angry. I still need time to cool off."
If I didn't give a sh*t, I would call if and when I was damn good n ready too.
All couples fight, however; I think if an argument turns into a lengthy silent treatment, it's just cold and cruel.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 8:51 PM   #5
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So in your opinions, what's the best way to end or deal with getting the silent treatment? Say you've had no communication for over 4 days, so there is no way you can call it cooling off.

A lot of advice out there is to just match silence with silence. But that makes no sense. Matching silence with silence just doesn't seem to solve anything or make positive progress. I know you can't blow up at the silent givers, you can't let them know how frustrated you really are.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 9:01 PM   #6
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Over four days? Yeah that is a long time to cool off.

It's hard to give you advice on what to do with so little info about the discussion that prompted a cooling off/silent treatment period.

What I would do is see which part of the fight I contributed to and which parts I feel my partner is responsible for. Then I would approach that person with an apology for what I contributed and tell them I would like an apology for what I feel they contributed.

I used to be with a man who would never break the silence first after the figth, and never really take responsibility for anything. Fights= it takes two to tango. It made me made me adopt the silent treatment eventually because I wanted him to make the first move towards reconcialtion once, just once.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 9:24 PM   #7
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See, I've read various pages that say if you are receiving the silent treatment that you should never start with an apology. That doing so basically validates the giver of the silent treatment.

The thing is, there really wasn't a fight either so there's nothing to really say I'm sorry for. This girl has just sort of clammed up all of a sudden, well at least to me it seems all of a sudden. She just claims she's busy and work stress. The problem is that I'm not exactly swimming in free time. The difference is that I make the time, and she tries to find the time. I've never demanded instant response, but responses are nice. To be ignored by someone you really care about is incredibly hurtful and messes with your mind. It magnifies every one of your little insecurities.

It's funny though. I had a good grasp on giving others advice when it comes to this or helping friends through relationships. Then when I'm faced with it, logic and thinking goes out the window. It is as if my higher thinking section of my mind has turned into useless goo and I'm running on caveman instinct.

But at the same time, this isn't necessarily about my situation. I was trying to get a thread with a collection of various ideas and ways to deal with this. Because this is one of those situations that has an infinite number of solutions and no two people experience it the exact same way.

Last edited by WTRanger; 3rd October 2009 at 9:26 PM..
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Old 3rd October 2009, 10:30 PM   #8
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There is a very simple truth here. You care about her much more that she cares about you. That is what's really at play here - you can dress it up however you want to. This is also true with people that flake, it doesn't actually mean that those people have flakiness as their inherent personality trait, rather that you are not their priority. If you can accept that and still want to keep the friendship that's fine. But it looks like you are investing in a wrong person. the balance of her caring less than you only gets worse in time. If you allow this dynamic to continue, this girl will only progressively lose respect for you and thus treat you even worse.

Whatever you do, don't contact her. Wait for her to contact you and then be cool and distant. If it were me, I would ditch her all together but that's up to you to decide.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 11:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SadandConfusedWA View Post
There is a very simple truth here. You care about her much more that she cares about you. That is what's really at play here - you can dress it up however you want to. This is also true with people that flake, it doesn't actually mean that those people have flakiness as their inherent personality trait, rather that you are not their priority. If you can accept that and still want to keep the friendship that's fine. But it looks like you are investing in a wrong person. the balance of her caring less than you only gets worse in time. If you allow this dynamic to continue, this girl will only progressively lose respect for you and thus treat you even worse.

Whatever you do, don't contact her. Wait for her to contact you and then be cool and distant. If it were me, I would ditch her all together but that's up to you to decide.
I understand. But it's hard for me to just sit back and take it. Something has triggered this almost primal need to communicate, almost forcing it. Which is clearly not a good thing. I fully admit that I need to let go of things I cannot control. That is something I really need to work on. I've never been a fan of meeting silence with silence, it seems like playing a game.

She has issues that contribute to this. It's funny, early on she was really open to me about her past. She's got the mentality that everything will always let her down or fall through, and things have happened in her past that reinforce that. When we got into the serious parts of the relationship, that's when she started to clam up. You can almost say she used the EM tactic of opening up really early to get me to feel sorry for her and I hate to say it but it worked. The other really sad part is, this relationship is becoming a self-fulfilled prophecy for her. She says everything always falls through or people will always leave her and by her actions, or in-actions, this is exactly what will happen. She's making this happen! That's what's so dang frustrating for me. But if I force her to talk, then I'm too pushy and don't respect her wishes. If I don't say anything, then I don't care. It seems as if I'm screwed no matter what I do.

I know I'm no saint and I've got my issues. But this is the first time I've dealt with a relationship potentially ending in silence. I've got to say this is the dumbest, most frustrating, most cowardly, most anger-inducing way I have ever seen a relationship end. But the more I sit back and think about things, I realize that I need to cut this toxic aspect out of my life. I still wish even knowing that, it would make it easier to do. You know it's bad for you, but you have a hard time letting it go.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 11:40 PM   #10
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How pissed was he ?
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Old 3rd October 2009, 11:43 PM   #11
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If he was unusually pissed then he may be taking more time than normal as he hasn't found the right words or tone yet to resolve this..

Just a guess though...

The other option is that he might be tired of the game playing over fights and is trying to teach you a lesson.. maybe if you think you are broken up it may shake you up some..

Just another guess tough.. I don't really think you play games.. but he might..
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Old 4th October 2009, 2:15 AM   #12
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It's late, so there are many things I don't understand. First, why people keep assuming the person giving WTR the silent treatment is a he.

Second, WTR - if you didn't have a falling out, then why is any of this happening?
I don't know. I'm a girl and I'm a bit traditional when it comes to that. Maybe she isn't so much giving you the silent treatment as hoping you will reassure her by contacting her. (Yes, I've done that in the past). So stop dwelling on all the negative things going on, plan a fun date and call her up! No?
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Old 4th October 2009, 2:34 AM   #13
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It takes me minimum 3 hours, maximum 2 days. I am very VERY stubborn. I see me taking the first initial contact to come back as losing -- and therefore often need to be coaxed. Just how I am. I agree-- maybe if you talk to her first and even if she seems mad tell her you need to hash it out and she will hopefully eventually open up. Good luck!
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Old 4th October 2009, 12:15 PM   #14
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First things first. Stop the gender issues, this thread is not about them. For the record, I'm a guy and she's a girl. This issue of silent treatment or passive aggressive behavior is not limited to a gender. Humans do this. So the gender assignment issues stop here.

There really hasn't been a falling out in the way of a nasty argument, which makes this really hard to understand. Things are going on in her life which I think are triggering her insecurites about things always failing on her which is starting her to go into self protection mode. This shutting down by her triggers my own insecurities with communication and being ignored, which causes me to become aggressive and needy with those people. This time, I'm self aware of doing this and have kept a much lower profile than with past people, and I'm posting on here instead of lashing out at her. I do most of my flipping out in private or to a very trusted source.

So we are left with two people battling their own mental demons and insecurities in silence. Something has come up in her mind and she doesn't want to talk about it. There is an elephant in the room, I see it but she doesn't want to figure out a way to get it out of there.

The hard part is I know I need to let go of some of the control on her responses, I know I'm the only one responsible for my happiness, I know I need to stop focusing on the negatives. Once I get out in the world, that's where I always revert away from those things I need to work on. So, how can I push most of the focus away from her and back to working on myself? Just let things simmer down. Contact her, tell her that I understand things are crazy in her life but at the same time I do not appreciate the feeling of being ignored, and just let things go from here. If she decides to not respond to that, then I really need to answer my own question and really let go and see if she ever contacts me. But at that point, I guess I'll have to move on in silence which I really don't think is the best way.
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Old 4th October 2009, 12:26 PM   #15
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Gender issues? I wasn't bringing up gender issues. i was merely saying that I sometimes hold back when I feel insecure because I need reassurance. You're right I guess, it could go both ways. Clearly, right now, you want her to make a move.

But don't think I was advising from an agenda. Not my style.
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