When it comes to relationships, silence is not golden. While it may seem like a good idea to ice your partner out when you are frustrated or upset, at the end of the day, doing so regularly will only slowly destroy your relationship.
Many people use the silent treatment to get their partner to bend to their will. Some also may use it as a punishment of sorts. However, based on the research, many negative outcomes will unfold when we give our partners the silent treatment. One researcher, Christine E. Rittenour, published a study about the impact of silent treatment in relationships.
What she found was that adult children participants reported that their silent-treatment behaviors were related to negative self-esteem, and that their primary parent was often negatively related to that parent’s silent treatment.
Rittenour found that for relationships to be sustained, there was a need for partners to warmly and openly discuss their feelings, rather than icing their partner out.
Additionally, they found that silent treatment was often used as a means for one partner to convey their feelings to the other partner. In many ways, the silent treatment perpetrator simply wanted to make their partner feel how they were feeling. However, it is also a power dynamic that has the potential to destroy relationships.
Not only does it destroy the partner who is on the receiving end, but it also destroys the perpetrator. At the end of the day, holding things in will never benefit either partner. The only way to move through relationship issues is to talk them out. When you ice out your partner, you are robbing both yourself and your partner of finally finding a way through the conflict.