Friday, July 30, 2010

He refuses to communicate.

Question: My boyfriend and I had a big fight a week ago, and since then he's not been returning my email or phone calls and it's driving me crazy. How can you communicate with someone who refuses to communicate? Do I need to go round there and confront him?

Answer: The word "confront" makes me wonder if you'd be going round there to "give him a piece of your mind" - in other words to try and get him to see the error of his ways, to see what he's doing wrong. I don't have much faith that this approach would give you what you're wanting, which I'm guessing is some satisfying communication about what happened recently, and renewed connection and clarity about your relationship.

I recommend sitting down with a friend who can hear you out without taking sides. Get very clear not just on what you're thinking, but on how you feel and what you want from your next conversation with him, and what that will give you if you get it.

For example, if you're angry and thinking you want an apology, get clear what that will give you. Do you want an apology because it will give you trust that your boyfriend cares, or that he understands what was painful for you in your recent fight.

When you feel ready, and again working with a friend, you can take the radical step of trying to guess what your boyfriend might be wanting right now, what that will give him, and how he's feeling. I think this is radical because it's counter-intuitive to try this, and perhaps hard to trust the value of it, and yet for me it's a sign of great care about another person.

For example, is he perhaps feeling anger or pain about things said in the fight, and wanting respect for his point of view? Does he want this respect because it allows him to be relaxed and to trust people when he gets respect? You're just guessing, but do any of these guesses help you to connect more with the love you feel for him? The point of the guessing is to connect with the human being, rather than getting caught up in who's right and who's wrong.

Repeat this process until you feel like you've really connected to what you want, and really felt some shift in terms of seeing the humanity of your boyfriend. When you next try to reach him, talk about what you got in touch with about yourself, no blame or criticism, just honesty about what you're wanting, and what that will give you. And ask him if the things you're guessing about him are accurate. Show him that you're interested.