Communication is never easy, especially when it’s necessary.  And if the person (or people) you are trying hardest to communicate with simply won’t respond, it’s even harder still.   When they won’t talk back, it’s a no win situation, and can often leave you with just no place to go.    So what are you left with when this happens?

Let’s first explore why people won’t respond, especially in the case of relationships.

Is your partner possibly very worried about something and just doesn’t want to or know how to share this with you?  Perhaps they are concerned about your reaction or scared of hurting you.

Maybe the end of the relationship already arrived, and one of you missed the fact that that train departed, and they’re trying to be clear after all other attepts to say so fell on deaf ears.  Perhaps in this instance the Lawyers are also advising non-com tactics.  Ouch.  That’s a particularly tricky one, and the only way forward with this can simply be just to step right back, give it time for wounds to heal, and do your best to rise above the shots firing at you from outside sources.

Another reason might be that the person you are trying hardest to communicate with just lacks the skills to converse their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone ask instructions to get to the bathroom.   In this instance, getting someone to open up and really say something meaningful can be incredibly frustrating.  So why not go back to the start, back up a few steps and consider this first:  what was it like before?  Before… back when you first got together, and fell into each other’s arms.  Was there conversation or simply a physical connection?  What was the conversation like?   Was it different after sex, before sex, or about the same?

If there was limited conversation at the start, then why expect more later?   Perhaps the lack of communication skills were always there, but you just didn’t notice because you were distracted by other physical things, or told yourself it didn’t matter, because “hey, our bodies say all we need to say to each other.”     

I have a good friend who is just entering a new relationship, where they spend a lot more time talking with each other than making out.  Even when horizontal!  They geniunely love to talk, explore words, experiences stories, and get to know each other – until deep into the night!   I tell you, she looks exhausted from all that …er … talking!  I’ve always been a talker – even as a small child you couldn’t shut me up according to my family – and in relationships that’s always been a primary motivator for me.  “Does he talk, and does he let me talk too?” (And a very brief word here about narcissists, who might show some wonderful communication skills at the start and then make everything all about them once you’re hooked into the relationship and can make it very difficult deliberately to have real and honest conversations later – it has to be mentioned, but let’s not get sidetracked.)

Some People Just Can’t Talk About Important Things

For some people there are pasts issues, including abuse, abandonment, and mental health issues that mean talking about their feelings is just very.very.hard!    These are the ones who need the most gentle nurturing to get them to open up and share their deepest feelings.  But maybe there are other ways you can break down some of the barriers.     

The Five Languages of Love, by Gary Chapman, is a book that I believe has radically revolutionised relationships in the past few years.  Essentially he says that we all have different ways of giving and recieving love, and that maybe we need to learn each other’s primary language of love and speak that more often, so that we don’t end up feeling like we’re literally talking in foreign languages with each other.  Hand gestures might get you through the train station in some countries and even help you to navigate your way to the bathroom or through a menu list, but you’re still going to need to learn Russian if you want to marry a Russian, right?

The languages are, touch and affection, words and affirmation, giving and recieving of gifts, acts of service, and quality time.   For example, if you’re someone who really needs to feel loved by having someone do things for you, (take out the trash, or build you a new deck) then you need to also show love to them by doing things for them in return, because they feel loving and loved this way  first. If on the other hand you need to hear the words ‘I love you, and to say them back, in order to feel loved and loving, then your partner needs to understand this is how you function too.   Finding some way to meet in the middle is important.

Pour Some Extra Love Into Your Own Communiction Style

So, what’s the best thing to do when they won’t talk back?  Learn to identify what your partner’s primary language of love is first and find a way to show them they are loved, then try explaining the concept of the languages of love, and see if that is helpful.   Go back to how they first demonstrated their communication skills, or lack of and try to work with that style a little more.  If you are a writer, or are confident of your ability to articulate your wants, needs, desires, or fears on paper, then write a beautiful, heartfelt love letter… and that means really pour some warm love into it.

And if it turns out your partner is simply not invested in your future together and unwilling to meet you on any platform to stay on the journey together, then perhaps you’ll have to consider that that train has departed and maybe you’re better off catching another one.    Please also consider some outside help or counselling if its serious and your relationship is worth saving.


#curatingconversations  #horizontalhappiness