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What Is Stonewalling in a Relationship?
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What Is Stonewalling in a Relationship?

What Is Stonewalling in a Relationship?

30.04.2020

Romantic relationships never run smoothly. Maintaining a healthy relationship can be very tricky. After all, to perform this task, both partners have to pay a lot of effort, be patient, and constantly work on their communication. Both partners need to learn to act as a team and must resolve their problems together. Even at the earliest stages of a romantic relationship, partners inevitably encounter various problems, no matter how strongly they love each other. But how can you possibly build a healthy relationship if your significant other always refuse to cooperate or even have serious conversations with you?

The effect of such a behavior can be very devastating for a romantic relationship. When a partner behaves in such a way, it is next to impossible to maintain a relationship with him or her. Such behavior is called stonewalling. Being stonewalled always feels terrible. Usually, partners stonewall each other unintentionally, but there are also cases when one partner abuses the other one with it. This is because stonewalling and narcissism are very closely related. Today, we on Sweetydate are going to discuss this issue, will help you see the first signs of this problem, and give you a couple of tips on how to resolve it and avoid it in the future.

effects of stonewallingStonewalling Definition

So, what is stonewalling? To define stonewalling, it just enough to say that it is when one partner always avoids having discussions on issues in a relationship. He or she never gets involved in problem-solving and never wants to cooperate with his or her partner. Also, since stonewalling is a favorite abuse technique in the arsenal of a narcissist, your partner may not hear your concerns at all. Those people can easily deflect your attempts to discuss some significant problems by saying that you are exaggerating a problem and make a big deal out of nothingness.

If you have encountered stonewalling in your relationship, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is not healthy. You see, sometimes, stonewalling can be occasionally used by both partners as a coping or defense mechanism, and it becomes harmful only when one of the partners or even both of them overuse it. It is important to understand that occasionally both partners need to have a break after heated arguments. If your relationship is healthy, you both will understand that your argument has reached this point, and you will be respectful about your and your partner's need to cool-off for some time.

According to our stonewalling definition, it becomes truly dangerous only when one of the partners uses it to manipulate the other one. For example, a toxic partner may try to use stonewalling emotional abuse to provoke you and make you lose control. This technique works as long as long a victim feels the need to win the argument back. In this case, a toxic partner will maintain ignoring you. Surely, this can't be good not only for your relationship but also for your physical and emotional health, but we will talk about this later.

The Main Signs of Unhealthy Stonewalling

Before experts of https://sweetydate.com/ talking about ways to stop stonewalling in a relationship, it is crucial to understand whether you actually have this problem or not. As we have already said, the negative effects of stonewalling appear only when a partner intentionally or unintentionally overuses it in a relationship. Thus, solutions to this problem are going to be different. In the case, when you both, from time to time, apply it to take a pause and to cool your heads during your passionate quarrels, then that's okay. However, things drastically change, when stonewalling in marriage, or a relationship becomes unhealthy. So, here are the main signs of unhealthy stonewalling.

1. Your partner never responds when you ask him or her

In a healthy relationship, both partners are always open to each other and are ready to have a serious conversation. Of course, they may get angry or upset during it, but the main idea is that they are always ready to face problems in their relationship. If you are dating a stonewaller, then you can expect him or her to fully ignore or evade communication with you. This person may give you one-word answers to all your questions and will never share additional details with you. Less bold stonewallers will mumble or even try to change the subject.

stonewalling abuse2. He or she pretends to be too busy to have a serious conversation

According to various studies of stonewalling psychology, stonewallers are ready to do everything to avoid arguments and even simple conversations with their partners. Thus, he or she will try to pretend that they are surrounded by things that are much more important than you are to make you feel irrelevant and disrespected. A toxic partner will pretend to be way too busy to engage in a conversation with you. In this case, he or she aims to create a hierarchy of superiority that is not going to favor you. With time, you will have a feeling that your needs are irrelevant, and you are only bothering your partner with your concerns.

3. He or she always points on your shortcomings and faults

When you are dealing with a stonewalling in a relationship, most people believe that they only need to overcome their partners' resistance to start a conversation, and then everything will be okay. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. You see, a toxic partner doesn't share your intentions to fix your relationship because he or she feels good in your relationship as it is. Thus, even when you manage to start a conversation with him or her, they will only point on your shortcomings and faults. This is their favorite tool to make their partners feel powerless and weak to keep them down.

4. Never listens to your point of view and refuses to compromise

Not without a good reason stonewalling is very closely connected to narcissism. You see, stonewalls above anything else value themselves. Consequently, they will never listen to your point of view because they can't accept the fact that you have one. A stonewaller, at any cost, will try to pretend that he or she is the victim of your jealousy, aggression, and clinginess. Instead of trying to find a compromise, they will try to blame you for every single problem that they have in their lives. As a result, your problems will grow exponentially. Eventually, this will ruin your relationship, and you will face a very painful breakup.

5. You have no connection and can’t rely on your partner

It is obvious that, even in the healthiest relationships, partners face problems, but the things are different when you are dating a normal romantic partner and a toxic one. In the first case, when you have problems, you always know that your partner will always be there for you. Maybe, he or she will emotionally overreact on some problem, and may even get angry, but he or she will always support you. This is because you both have the same goal - to build a healthy relationship together. In the second case, you will never feel confident in your partner. The reason for this is that he or she has their own goals and never supports or helps you resolve your problems.

Is Stonewalling a Kind of Abuse?

By now, it is clear that, even though, stonewalling has its place in a healthy romantic relationship, it should never be overused in a relationship. Furthermore, stonewalling is harmful both to relationships and individuals. But does it mean that it is abusive? At this point, it is crucial to understand that not all stonewallers purposively aim to harm their romantic partners. Sometimes, they don't even understand that they actually cause emotional pain by doing or not doing something. Thus, there is a huge difference between those who stonewall their partners with and without malicious intent.

So, some people intentionally try to belittle and devaluate their partners. In this case, stonewalling is only one of many mechanisms in their arsenal. They apply it because they hate to give it. Stonewalling definitely not the worst example of abuse, but it is crucial to understand that it has very limited space in a healthy relationship. Plus, a toxic partner who intentionally wants to abuse you, will use many other tools to achieve their goals and fully control you.

Effects of Stonewalling in a Relationship

When talking about possible harm from stonewalling, we often hear that in the long-term perspective, the effects of stonewalling abuses in a relationship are very devastating. But what are those effects? Psychologists told sweetydate.com that stonewalling affects a romantic relationship on several levels, and here we are going to share with you some of the most devastating effects of stonewalling in a relationship.

stonewalling in marriage1. Makes you feel unloved or abandoned

The most frequently met stonewalling example is when one partner commands the other one to leave him or her alone or shows that he or she doesn't care by saying, "Do whatever you want." By saying such things and acting cold, it is very easy to make your partner feel utterly helpless and disconnected. People under such pressure begin to believe that their partners are not interested in them and don't care about their relationship. This also may lead to doubts, anger, and anxiety.

2. It makes both partners depressed and dissatisfied with their relationship

Normally, people build relationships on their ability to work together on solutions to their problems and compromises. This ability decreases and eventually fully disappears when one partner begins to stonewall the other in a relationship. When this happens, they both begin to feel less satisfied with their relationship. Which leads to breakups and long depressions.

3. Intimacy disappears

Without a single doubt, it is very hard to feel intimate and love a romantic partner if he or she pretends that you are not in the room. The lack of emotional connection, rather sooner than later, will affect the intimacy between two partners. In the majority of cases, couples who overuse stonewalling tend to have many unresolved problems that affect their intimacy.

4. Partners are more likely to use and abuse drugs or alcohol

When people can't deal with stress with their coping mechanisms and can't ask their romantic partners for help, they begin to search for other ways to deal with stresses. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol seem to be very good at dealing with stress in the short term. However, a few people can stop until it is too late.

5. Snowballing problems and painful breakups

As you already know, stonewalling occurs when people don't want to pay an effort to deal with their problems. In such an event, these problems tend to accumulate. With time, those problems will destroy a relationship leaving partners to suffer through a very hard and painful breakup.

How to Deal with Stonewalling

Unfortunately, it is not just enough to understand that stonewalling is harmful and that you have this problem in your relationship. So, how to deal with stonewalling? Dealing with this issue can be very hard, especially if your partner does this intentionally. However, there are still general recommendations that can help you deal with stonewalling in a romantic relationship.

1. You both are responsible for this problem

Your first task is to acknowledge that you are not the only one responsible for this problem. A relationship is a two-sided process. Thus, you can resolve all your problems only together. Therefore, you will resolve this problem with stonewalling only if you both are willing to do this. If your partner intentionally does this, then you may have no other options but to break up.

2. Show empathy

It is crucial to show empathy in a relationship. This will help you gain a better understanding of your partner. Plus, you will show him or her that you know what they feel, and you accept both them and their feelings and emotions. This is the first step towards resolving this problem.

3. Avoid anger

Anger is a very destructive feeling. In the worst case, you give your toxic partner what he or she wants. But if your partner is willing to work on this problem, your anger will be very counterproductive.

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