Interrupting any form of communication is a way that many couples deal with conflict, but experts agree it’s a really bad idea and it has no place in a healthy relationship. If your partner refuses to communicate after an argument, here’s how you should handle the situation.

It’s not easy to deal with the silent treatment, but with the right advice you can make it a lot less hurtful. Discover the right way to react to it and find out how to talk to your partner about retiring it from your relationship altogether.

Don’t Let It Get to You

The reasons your man gives you the silent treatment can vary. Sometimes it’s used as a way to hold back anger and avoid a huge arguments, other times it’s a punishment that’s supposed to be really hurtful. Regardless of the reason, it’s not something you can control, so the only solution is staying in a positive place and avoid letting yourself get affected by it. Try listening to your favorite music or exercising in order to focus on something else.

Avoid Returning It

No matter how you choose to deal with the silent treatment, it’s very important to do whatever you can to eliminate it from your relationship. The very first step for that is never using it yourself. If you need to cool off or some space, tell your partner in a calm and warm voice that you’d really appreciate a little time with your thoughts. If you use it as a weapon against your partner, the same way he uses it against you, there’s only one loser: your relationship.

Stay Upbeat

This type of behavior is often selfish and immature and knowing that can help you deal with it better. Just like you’d let a child cool off, let your partner have his silly whim, while you stay upbeat. If you allow yourself to wallow in sadness, you’re only giving him what he wants.

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Don’t Try to Make Your Partner Talk Back

One of the worst things you can do when you have to deal with the silent treatment is try to end it and allow your frustration to get the better of you. Don’t make any attempt to get him to talk back. If you need an answer to an important question, simply formulate it as a sentence. If he disagrees, he’ll say something or he’ll deal with your decision.

Be Positive When Communication Resumes

Staying positive while you’re being subjected to this unpleasant habit is very important because you have to be in a good place once communication channels are opened again. Don’t be sarcastic or patronizing when he finally decides to talk to you, or you’ll push him away or start another argument.

Try to Discuss the Issue at the Right Time

The best time to deal with the silent treatment and get rid of it for good is a few days after the last time you were subjected to it. Once the conflict has been resolved, and you’re both relaxed, tell your partner how intentionally hurtful it feels. If he’s apologetic about it, try to discuss alternative ways of conflict resolution, solutions which don’t feel like emotional abuse or abandonment.

Find Out Why It’s Happening

The most common reason for the silent treatment is your partner’s attempt to punish you. However, other reasons can lead to it too. Ask about the real reason in a gentle and calm manner. If your partner uses it as a tool to calm down when he’s really angry, explore alternative solutions together.

Be Open About How It Makes You Feel

While it’s important to put up a positive front when you have to deal with the silent treatment, be truly honest about the effects it has on you when you can have a calm conversation with your man. Once he understands it feels like he’s pushing you away, he might stop for good.

See also: How to Get Out of a Toxic Relationship

Don’t Allow It to Become a Tool for Manipulation

If your partner returns to it again and again despite promises it will stop, then it’s clear he’s using it to manipulate or skew relationship compromises in his direction. Don’t let him get away with that.

If It Continues, Face the Fact That It’s Emotional Abuse

When you know your partner makes you deal with the silent treatment as a punishment, you might need to accept that he’s emotionally abusive and reassess your relationship completely.