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TODD K. MOHINK, PA Glen Burnie & Columbia Family & Criminal Lawyer

How Stonewalling Can Harm Your Marriage


Marriages can be hard, especially when one person has a problem and the other person doesn’t want to deal with it. People may use a variety of tactics to shut down a conversation. One of them is called stonewalling.

Like the name suggests, when a person is stonewalling, they are putting up a wall, in a sense. They are blocking out the partner and making themselves emotionally unavailable. They may switch off during an argument, offering one- or two-word answers or even silence. Discussing a topic with them is impossible.

This defense mechanism is often something that people learn as a child. They may be afraid of conflict, so they shut down so they can maintain their security in a relationship. While the person engaging in it may not think they are doing anything wrong, the truth is that it causes a lot of anger and resentment. In some cases, it can even lead to divorce.

Want to keep your marriage intact? Learn to identify the signs of stonewalling and how you can manage it.

What Are the Signs?

There are three main signs of stonewalling to look for:

  • Your partner shuts down. If you’re talking to your partner but it seems as though they are ignoring you, you’re being stonewalled. They may avoid eye contact with you, look down, or even leave the room.
  • You get one-word answers. If your partner suddenly starts with one-word answers midway through the conversation, then they are stonewalling. “Yeah” and “uh-huh” may seem better than silence but it is still unproductive.
  • You feel distant from the other person. Sometimes taking a break to think about things can be a good idea, but continued distance can harm a relationship.

How to Handle It

If your partner is stonewalling you, you need to address it. It will not go away on its own and will only cause more problems.

  • Be gentle but clear with your partner. Don’t aggressively attack your partner. This will cause them to shut down even more. Be gentle but do be clear and direct. Don’t beat around the bush. Tell your partner you need them to communicate like an adult.
  • Pinpoint the problem. Why does your partner stonewall you? What is he or she feeling? By getting to the root of the problem, you can address it.
  • See a therapist. A therapist can help you both deal with this way of conflict management and maybe help you see something you overlooked.

Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today

Stonewalling is a tactic that many people use to avoid conflict but it can be harmful in a marriage. Problems don’t get solved and the other party gets more and more frustrated. This can eventually lead to divorce.

If you’re tired of trying to address your marriage’s problems with your spouse, it may be time to move on. Seek legal help from a Columbia divorce lawyer from The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling (410) 774-5987.


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