Being ignored is totally, unequivocally, undisputedly shit. We know, we’ve all been there. Here were going to talk about what to do when your partner is ignoring you – and, straight off the bat, don’t degrade yourself and harass him or her. What to do when you’re being ignored depends on why you’re being ignored…
Did you argue?
If you guys had a row, at least you know the trigger for the ignoring. However, it doesn’t automatically give you the reason. He might be mad at you for something you said or did. Or, as happened to me once, he might be embarrassed about his own behaviour. In both cases, it’s best to give him space and he’ll come back to you when he’s ready. In a way, he might be trying to preserve the relationship by removing himself before he says something that he doesn’t mean. You should also use the time to reflect upon what happened. Was the argument about something petty, but it was handled badly? Or, was it about something more significant, like having children? Is it something you’re willing to concede, or not?
Use the time to think for yourself and to talk to your friends and/or family. If they know you well, they will probably be thinking in your best interest more rationally than you are. Note, if you really hate being ignored (like I do), talk to your partner when you iron things out and ask them not to simply vanish. He needs to keep you informed of what’s going on – to simply tell you if he needs space to cool down, or otherwise.
Now, if you didn’t argue or have a disagreement, and you genuinely don’t know why your other half is ignoring you…
Are you sure he’s ignoring you?
I recommend reaching out politely, asking if everything is okay. This isn’t accusatory, like ‘Why are you ignoring me?’ and it’s likely to inflame the situation or to make your partner defensive. You might be relieved to receive something like ‘Sorry babe – talk later, work is mental’ or ‘Sorry I forgot to hit send! I thought you were ignoring me!’ In which case, no problems there.
Quick anecdote: within the first few months of getting together, my partner and I had a minor argument and, as I perceived it, he ignored me for a whole evening until the next day. His perception was TOTALLY different, and he was horrified when he contacted me the next day and I was upset about being ignored. In his family, it was normal for them to have a cooling off period, and he thought I was mad and didn’t want to speak to him, he didn’t want to inflame the situation etc..
I learned that in this situation, all I had to do was send him a nice message after a couple of hours and we’d both calmed down. Or, if he’s nearby, drop round and see him later on. Sometimes, a hug, a kiss and some food is all it takes.
On this note, I truly believe stubbornness to be a damaging trait where relationships are concerned. Being stubborn gets you nowhere – so forget it, go and find your lunatic partner, tell them they are a lunatic, but they’re also your lunatic, and do they want a Chinese tonight. Mmmm. There’s power in being bold, not in holding silence.
Is it habitual?
Okay – you haven’t argued, you’re sure he’s ignoring you, and he’s done it before. Three things spring to mind:
- The relationship is not for him. Have you guys been getting on well recently? Are things as exciting as they were before? Have you both been losing interest? Does he only contact you when he’s bored? Figure it out. My ex ignored me while on work trips and it was because he was bringing another woman along with him! Check out the ‘Signs he is Cheating’ blog here. If this is the case, and he’s just not into you: you WILL be worth more to somebody else. Breakups are easier when you initiate them and the sooner you do, the sooner you are free to find something better. Remember, actions speak louder than words!
- He’s being manipulative. You need to consider that this ignoring is being used as a power play, and that it is actually quite nasty. Pathological, even. Think about whether this is in line with his character. Is it designed to upset you and and make you doubt yourself, to make you worry and feel pathetic? If this routinely happens to you, then you really ought to think about whether you are in the right relationship.
- He’s got problems. These might be anything from financial, issues with family, his career, his mental health. How serious is your relationship, and would you expect him to divulge these things to you? If your partner has shown you nothing but love and affection, there might be bigger things going on in his life. Try and find out what’s going on by asking him gently, and letting him know you’re there for him. You need to decide whether the relationship is serious enough for you to invest time into supporting and helping him, or whether you feel otherwise.
Are you being ghosted?
Now, perhaps the worst of the lot.
‘Ghosting’ is when somebody completely disappears from your life without explanation. It doesn’t happen very often, but if you’re being ignored for longer periods of time then you need to be prepared for this eventuality. It depends how often you usually talk, but if you are serial WhatsAppers and suddenly you haven’t heard from him in a couple of weeks, it might be time to let it go and start healing yourself. If he reappears, you can make whatever decision you feel is right for you. It’s important that you start healing yourself now so that you can a) feel better, b) find someone better and c) make a rational decision if your (ex) partner reappears.
The most important person here is YOU. Yes, breakups are hard, and they hurt. But, you will feel better in time. On the other hand, if the ignoring doesn’t need to result in a break up, take steps to stop you from feeling the harshness of being ignored again.
Sometimes, the pain of being ignored is related to losing control. Are you sat at home or at work, losing your mind? A friend told me once when she was being ignored that she booked a flight that weekend. When he finally texted her, she replied ‘Just boarding a flight. Talk when I’m back.’ Brilliant!
Got any stories to share? Let us know in the comments!