One of the most highly researched things in the field of psychology is why and…
What ruins a perfectly good relationship? Well, it’s stonewalling in a relationship. What is stonewalling? How can you get it out of your union?
In relationships, effective communication is essential but hard to achieve. Being able to talk is one thing, but really communicating with someone is completely different. And stonewalling in a relationship can kill a relationship faster than a cheating partner.
We all get tired of communicating or arguing at times. But, refusing to communicate *stonewalling* on a regular basis can turn into something much more serious. To be honest, while writing this article, I realized that I even stonewall my partner when we argue sometimes.
And from someone who’s stonewalled their partner, it’s nothing that can sustain the relationship. When you stonewall your partner, you refuse to communicate with them and shut yourself off of the conversation. Not only does it show your partner you feel uncomfortable discussing hard topics, but it also shows you struggle with handling conflict.
It’s a hard situation to be in for you and your partner. Your partner is looking for someone to talk about their issues with, and they chose you as their partner. Which means they expect you to be able to discuss problems and sort through conflict with them.
14 things to do when there’s stonewalling in a relationship
So, if there’s stonewalling in your relationship, here’s what you need to do. Time to break down those walls.
#1 What is stonewalling? Stonewalling in a relationship is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when one person in the relationship withdraws from the conversation, shutting down and becoming unresponsive. Basically, it’s like talking to an actual wall. There’s no reciprocation or resolution to the conflict because one partner isn’t taking the necessary step forward.
#2 It will end a relationship. Though stonewalling may not sound like a huge problem, it’s right up there with cheating. No joke. When it comes to predicting whether a couple will last or not, if there’s stonewalling in a relationship, it’s one of the four major signs of a break-up. Stonewalling cannot sustain a relationship because there’s no conflict resolution.
#3 Both women and men are guilty. When it comes to who does the stonewalling, both women and men are guilty of it. Though, sorry fellas, men are more likely to stonewall their partners. This is because women typically have stronger communication skills and are more connected to their emotions, rather than men. But, women stonewall as well!
#4 Why do people stonewall? You may be the one doing the stonewalling, but don’t understand why this is your reaction. Well, when someone stonewalls, they’re avoiding conflict to calm themselves down.
But, it could also be a reaction from not being able to cope with one’s feelings, making them shut down and withdraw. Of course, no one wants to feel uncomfortable, and stonewalling can be a consequence of that.
#5 The stonewaller needs to reflect. Whoever is doing the stonewalling in the relationship, needs to do some major reflection. If not, they will destroy their relationship – it’ll only be a matter of time until the other person can’t take it anymore. The first thing that needs to happen is to identify the behavior. Whether it’s you or your partner, the person needs to know that they stonewall.
#6 Talk to your partner about it. Once you *or your partner* reflect, sit down together and discuss it. That’s the only way you can take the steps to change the behavior. Sit down together and discuss how you both feel before, during, and after, the stonewalling happens. It’ll give you and your partner the chance to see things from each other’s point of view.
#7 Recognize you need a break. If you’re stonewalling, stop. That sounds too easy, right? It is a bit tricky to just stop. So, what the stonewaller needs to do is talk to their partner and explain that if an argument does occur, they’ll take a break before they stonewall.
Sometimes, the person just needs a little time to calm themselves down when they’re overwhelmed with emotion. Choose a word, and when you say that word in the argument, it means you take a break.
#8 The stonewaller needs to work on this issue. This is an internal issue; you don’t stonewall because of your partner. Stonewalling is an internal conflict, and something that can only be worked on by the person who’s doing the stonewalling. While you’re working on your stonewalling behavior, your partner needs to work on self-care because they’re not the “fixer.”
#9 Practice empathy. Conflict involves you and another person. The only way to work through the conflict is to look at the situation from their point of view, and vice versa.
If you can’t look at the situation through your partner’s eyes, you won’t be able to solve the conflict. Take a step back and listen to your partner talk about their side of the story. Listen to them and try to understand.
#10 Accept criticism and feedback. Personally, I stonewall when I know I’m the one who’s in the wrong. But this isn’t the time when you need to pullback. Instead, that’s the moment when you need to accept criticism and feedback. Acknowledge your involvement in the problem and your partner’s perspective.
#11 Take time to reply. When you’re arguing with your partner, you don’t need to reply quickly. Take your time to think about how they’re feeling and what you’re going to say back. This may help you refrain from stonewalling them. You don’t need to have a quick comeback; speak from the heart.
#12 How does your partner feel? You should be doing routine check-ups with your partner after a conflict occurred. How did the situation make them feel? Did you stonewall during the conflict? How can you work towards having more constructive conversations? There are two people in a relationship, so check in with your partner and see how they’re feeling.
#13 Practice self-kindness. Whether you’re the stonewaller or the partner of a stonewaller, you need to practice self-kindness. As a partner of the stonewaller, you’re not responsible for their behavior. As the stonewaller, yes, you need to work on your behavior, but throughout the process, be kind to yourself. This isn’t a race.
#14 Seek help. This isn’t an easy process to go through as the stonewaller or the partner of a stonewaller. I personally sought therapy for my behavior because I struggled to find the right tools to work through it. Going to a therapist can help you make those connections and give you the tools you need to understand your internal conflict and improve yourself as a person.
If you experience stonewalling in a relationship, this is something that needs to change. If not, it’ll rip apart your relationship.