Why Do Men Stonewall?

For the last several years running, the most popular post on our Psychology of Men blog has been “Why Do Men Stonewall?”

Stonewalling is withdrawing and refusing to respond. So what can you do about?

Does this sound familiar?

Your husband is so distant, and you don’t understand why. Most of the time, he doesn’t even respond to you, and trying to communicate with him is like talking to a brick wall.

Download your free Quick Start Guide.

  • When you ask him what’s wrong, he mumbles “nothing” … or just ignores you. If you press him to talk to you, he gets angry.
  • The only time he pays attention to you is when he wants something from you: it’s usually sex. But you’re not interested anymore.
  • You used to be so close to each other. You’ve tried absolutely everything you can think of to get close again, but nothing’s working. You wonder if he even loves you anymore.

You feel like giving up.

Did you ever wonder why so many women have the very same complaints about men? There’s a reason, and it’s probably not what you’re thinking!

Most of us have been terribly misinformed about men. In fact, we’ve been lied to, and we don’t even realize it. I’m on a mission to change that – to help women learn what I’ve learned in my own relationships, through many years of focused study, and in working with distressed couples in my private practice in Southern California.

Over the years, I’ve heard women complain over and over again about one of the biggest challenges they face in their relationships with men: the lack of communication. Most women work very hard to create a loving home and/or environment, but the men they love often don’t respond to them the way they’d like. Whether it’s trying to get a man to listen or getting him to talk, failed attempts to communicate with him may leave you feeling …

abandoned, blown off, dismissed, frustrated, isolated, shut out, lonely, undesirable, pushed away, unloved, rejected, unwanted

Even so, women are no quitters! They keep trying and trying – to give and to get attention – but their partners frequently withdraw more and more with each attempt to break through the wall. Their men offer monosyllabic responses at best, and anger at worst.

For women, communication is everything.

In fact, women thrive on conversation. Is it any wonder we want to have real, meaningful conversations with the men we love? We want to share our secrets and our hopes and dreams, as well as the intimate and emotional details of our day with those who are closest to us. When something’s bothering us, we want to talk about it. We don’t necessarily want it fixed, but we NEED to talk about it.

Why don’t men seem to get that?

It’s particularly puzzling when you realize that men need many of the very same things women do when it comes to intimate communication. In fact, Dr. John Gottman’s marital research over the past three decades clearly shows us that both men and women need to get a positive response – a response that says “tell me more” – from their mate about 86% of the time.

So what can we do?

We have a lot to learn about men and intimate communication.

So let’s begin with understanding why men stonewall in the first place.

Then if you have any questions, let me know. Remember, I’m here to help.