Lessons on dealing with the silent treatment: Music Musing: Cold by Maroon 5
The lyrics below are from Cold by Maroon 5….
Are we taking time or a timeout?
I can’t take the in between
Asking me for space here in my house
You know how to fuck with me
Acting like we’re not together
After everything that we’ve been through
Sleeping up under the covers
How am I so far away from you?
Distant when we’re kissing
Feel so different
Baby tell me how did you get so
Cold enough to chill my bones
It feels like I don’t know you anymore
I don’t understand why you’re so cold to me
With every breath you breathe
I see there’s something going on
I don’t understand why you’re so cold, yeah
Thanks Adam Levine and crew for taking the time to write and sing a song that many people can relate to. Husbands often report experiencing the cold shoulder tactic. It is frustrating, we know. So if you’re left wondering why your lady is doing this and what you can do about it, we are here to try to help ya out.
So what is being cold or giving someone the cold shoulder you ask? Well, it’s deliberately ignoring someone. The person acting in a cold manner withdraws from the relationship and/or intentionally takes away something her spouse wants, her attention. Ladies often do this when they are upset with their spouse, and they are waiting for their husband to recognize they have been hurt by something he has or has not done.
The Cold Shoulder Treatment: A Scenario
Julie and Mark make plans to attend their youngest child’s soccer game together on Saturday afternoon. Julie is looking forward to it because Mark has had some work travel and time away from the family. She normally doesn’t mind Mark’s work travel, but her dad just found out he has to have additional medical testing done after some preliminary results came back positive. Julie is upset because her dad may have an serious medical concern and Mark has been unavailable to talk to her about it. Then Mark’s buddy calls him up and offers him tickets to the MLS that happens to be at the same time as their youngest son’s soccer game on Saturday. Mark tells Julie, “Hey, honey, so and so offered for me to go with him to the MLS game on Saturday. I told him I could so it’s on you to attend the game on Saturday. Oh and don’t forget it’s our week to bring snacks and a drink.”
So Julie gives Mark the glaring eye and leaves the room. She refuses to speak to him for the next two nights. Any time he tries to get her to talk, she just turns on walks away. The ladies reading this are thinking, how does Mark not know what he has done wrong her?? The guys reading this are thinking, how is Mark suppose to know what he has done wrong if Julie doesn’t tell him.
Problem Solving: Why is she giving me the cold shoulder?
Why does Julie give Mark the cold shoulder her? She is wanting Mark to recognize he’s done some perceived wrong or has hurt her somehow. When Mark notices her being beginning to act cold, he’s going to recognize the behavior by verbally saying, “Hey, I can see that you’re upset, and that’s why you’re withdrawing right now. I’m sorry.” Mark doesn’t have the slightest idea yet why he is apologizing, but that’s the first step. He recognizes her behavior as being cold and without putting blame on her, he just states he can see she is upset and he’s sorry.
Next, you’re going to ask her to help you out. You don’t want her upset. You love her and you want her to help define the problem so together you can think of solutions.
She will love if you are able to analyze the past couple of days and take note of things going well up until a certain point. So if you are Mark you may have noticed she was warm until you mentioned going to the MLS game instead of the kid’s soccer game. You start here…
“Honey bunny, I noticed you seemed upset after I mentioned going to the game with so and so? Normally, you’re cool with that sort of thing. Was it that or was there something else?” questions Mark. Good job, Mark! You’re on your way to figuring out why you’re getting the cold shoulder.
Let him out of the dog house… vulnerability is healthy!
Julie, “Yeah, Mark I’m upset because we had planned to go to our son’s game together on Saturday.” Julie throws up her hands and shakes her head. He begins to see her tear up. Now she feels cared for because he noticed her being upset so she can begin to show her real emotions.
Mark asks for more, “So you’re upset because we aren’t going to the game together on Saturday? So and so did offer tickets. I haven’t seen him in a few months and we’re going to talk about a potential client while there. Maybe I should have asked you first. I know I’ve had a bit of travel lately.”
Julie still gives short responses, “Yeah you should have. I haven’t even been able to talk to you.” She begins to cry.
He thinks of when her menstrual cycle should begin. Nope not this week, so he continues to listen. There must be more going on. “Julie, what else is going on?”
Critical thinking moment: Mark knows that Julie isn’t the type to engage in “silent treatment manipulation” or using the cold shoulder to get what she wants. His intuition also lets him know that this seems a little more than just being upset about the soccer game. Thinking like this about your spouse and understanding their behavior can be very helpful in a relationship. It can also help you when dealing with the silent treatment so you can analyze what’s going on.
Dealing with the silent treatment: Patience, empathy, and listening
“My dad got his preliminary test results back and now they need to send him for more. It doesn’t sound very good. I’m just upset about that. Plus, we haven’t been able to talk about it. The kids have been busy with school and sports. I was really looking forward to the car ride with you. That would have been our only real time to talk over the last couple of weeks. I’m feeling disappointed and yes, I wish you would have asked me first,” Julie explains.
“Thanks for explaining that,” Mark states. “Now it makes sense to me why you were ignoring me. You were feeling hurt. How about I call so and so and tell him I can’t go on Saturday. I want to go with you because that’s what I said I would do. We do need that time together because things have been busy.”
Julie says, “Thank you. And if you need to reschedule something with so and so to talk about that client how about next Tuesday when you’ve been home and while I’m talking so and so to practice?”
Guys just recognize the behavior, and think through dealing with the silent treatment. Then draw out of her what’s really going on. Hopefully you now understand a little bit more of why women act cold, how to recognize it, and what to do to communicate effectively so your relationships gets back to normal as soon as possible. You love one another, learn effective communication!