There are both positive and negative reasons why one person in a marriage chooses to stop speaking. It may be as simple as their communication style. For example, they may be the type of person who needs time alone to process their thoughts before they answer a question. When your spouse stops speaking to you during the divorce process, it could be due to a variety of different reasons.
In some cases, a person will use the silent treatment to make their spouse feel as though they’ve done something wrong in an effort to get them to eventually capitulate to their wishes out of a sense of guilt. This type of behavior is called passive aggressive, because instead of openly discussing the issue, they use emotional manipulation to get their way.
How you can still communicate
Avoidance is another tactic that may be at play if your spouse won’t speak to you during your divorce proceedings. Particularly if they are someone who finds it tremendously difficult to deal with their emotions, they may simply shut down and refuse to negotiate a compromise. Without your spouse’s input or agreement on the big issues, it’s hard to know what to do next.
The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to do this alone. Lean on your support network of family members, close friends and coworkers who can help you weather the tough times. And commit to calling a divorce attorney who is very likely to have dealt with more than one uncooperative spouse in the past. They can help guide you through the steps to take to move your divorce along despite the obstacles you are facing.
Advice from start to finish
So how do you know if your spouse has gone quiet for a good reason or a bad one? Commit to being a good communicator yourself, which means doing a better job listening more than speaking. And ask “what” questions rather than “why” questions.
For example, if your spouse clams up while discussing specific divorce scenarios, like shared custody, ask “What is bothering you about the agreement,” instead of “Why aren’t you working with me here?” Questions that start with “why” are more likely to make the respondent feel defensive. Whereas those that start with “what” tend to refer more to the issue at hand.
The Orange County divorce attorneys at Buncher Family Law have experience working with couples who have very different communication styles. We work diligently to serve as a neutral third party with the goal of finding common ground. We also offer a helpful blog covering topics like who initiates divorce and others that can help you learn about divorce-related issues that you may be experiencing.