Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Acknowledging you're being difficult is a good first step
Georgia: In my first marriage, I was on the receiving end of The Silent Treatment, so I know firsthand how destructive and hurtful it can be. I am now in a happy marriage with a wonderful man, and I am starting to realize that he may now be the recipient of this.
I've had a really hard time at work and in my family life lately — several serious crises. There's also this one issue between us that we've talked to death and tried to resolve, but it's still just a big giant ball of hurt, and I find myself being quiet, moody, untalkative, withdrawn at home.
I know in my heart of hearts how unfair I'm being to him but I can't make myself stop it and lighten up! How do you make yourself snap out of a three-week-long bad mood?
Carolyn: I'm not sure you can — you've got to keep working the emotional knot, and that's going to take whatever time it takes.
But you can spare him the silent treatment during this time by stating clearly that you know you're being sullen and difficult, and that you don't want to be, so you're working really hard to try to get to the other side. Thank him for his patience, ask him for a little more, and make a conscious effort to continue with these updates as you go, or even just small gestures of affection.
If you're not sure how to start or what to say, just try to remember what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a partner's withdrawal — you really just want the person to throw you a crumb, to let you know it's okay. That's something you can do for your husband now.
Don't add a child in hopes of fixing problems in a marriage
Anonymous: I didn't know before we married how much TV my husband watches when he isn't at work. He will watch pretty much any sporting event, and, at the few times those aren't on, any rerun sitcom will suffice.
I respect that everyone is due their downtime, but this is so annoying to me. I am thinking of getting pregnant, with his blessing of course, just so we will have a child and he won't be able to zone out in front of the TV. Thoughts regarding more healthy solutions?
Carolyn: 1. Realize he will zone out in front of the TV with the baby/toddler/child/tween/teenager/etc.; and,
2. Tell him exactly how discouraged you are by being married to a television set.
If he doesn't respond by making some time for you, then please take a hard look at whether you're happy with other aspects of this marriage. Don't add a child and hope it gets better. That strategy has a failure rate that approaches 100 percent.
Va.: Re: Anonymous: "Tell him exactly how discouraged you are by being married to a television set."
Wait, my wife and I are in a long-standing three-way relationship with the TV. Frankly, it's more of an open relationship; we'll hook up with any TV that happens to be there wherever we are. Are we (trollops)?
Carolyn: You're all consenting adults and/or electronics; nothing to apologize for here.