Used by 85% of men: what is “stonewalling”, this annoying habit after an argument which can lead to a breakup ?

Used by 85% of men: what is “stonewalling”, this annoying habit after an argument which can lead to a breakup ?

Le 'stonewalling' consiste à éviter tout dialogue à la suite d'une dispute. valentinrussanov/Getty Images

In married life, it is common to ignore each other after an argument. We limit discussions, calls and small attentions, in order to show our dissatisfaction. We sort of sulk. But this icy attitude, now called "stonewalling", can lead to divorce in the long term.

After 'gophering', or even 'ghostlighting', which marked the world of dating, a new term has emerged its appearance: "stonewalling".

This English term literally translates to putting up a stone wall between you and your partner in order to avoid any dialogue. And as you can imagine, by ignoring your partner you end up hurting them. It then becomes difficult to communicate and preserve the harmony of the couple.

A defense mechanism adopted by 85% of men

But how to recognize the signs of stonewalling in your relationship ? First, there is what we call &quot ;silent treatment". You try to communicate with your partner about your daily life and he refuses to speak to you, or only pays lip service. Stonewalling also involves the look. For example, just say one sentence for your partner to roll their eyes. This can also manifest through physical avoidance, such as moving to another room when you arrive. Added to this is the disappearance of affectionate displays between the couple, and of little attentions.

If we generally end up breaking the silence and reconciling after several attempts, this toxic habit can lead to a breakup in the long term. According to the American psychologist John Gottman, an American professor of psychology specializing in couples, stonewalling is a major cause of breakups. Indeed, stonewalling would be one of the Four Knights of the Apocalypse, which designate the warning signs of divorce. He reports, based on his own research, that 85% of people adopting this defense mechanism are men.

"Men are consistently more likely to obstruct than women. They withdraw emotionally from confrontational discussions while women remain emotionally engaged", explains The Gottman Institute website. On the other hand, "when women obstruct, it portends divorce".

"The more we take on ourselves, the less we will last over time"

For psychologist Johanna Rozenblum, requested by Doctissimo, this silent punishment leaves after-effects in the couple: "The fact of walling oneself in silence has never borne fruit, neither for the person who will ruminate and stay in a loop on their emotions, which will increase their anger, nor for the relationship because silence acts like a time bomb" She adds: "The more we take on ourselves, the less we will last over time. But above all, to wall yourself in silence is to prevent yourself from finding a mutual solution taking into account the feelings of one and the other& quot;.

If your partner frequently uses this method, it is essential to take some time to reflect on your side. First, ask yourself why your partner is acting this way. Is it out of lack of affection or out of anger? Then, start a discussion in which you make him understand that his behavior has an impact and hurts you. Choose a quiet time to talk. And especially avoid late conversations, which can reduce attention due to fatigue. M

but if you adopt this silent attitude yourself, you must express your emotions and ask for time to think before engaging in a real discussion. And when you are finally ready, share your feelings calmly and respectfully, in order to open a constructive dialogue. You will see that breaking the silence will have more benefits than playing the silent treatment.

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