Staying Connected In Conflict

Love AppliedHow Do I… Handle it When My Partner wants to Talk About Something and I’m Not Ready Yet?

It’s a classic problem. One partner wants to talk about an issue that’s on their mind and the other doesn’t. At least at that particular moment. What usually ends up happening is an uncomfortable situation where the Talker keeps pressing the UnTalker for a conversation because for them, the way to lower their anxiety about whatever is going on is to talk about it. The UnTalker handles things in a different way: percolating on something until they are clear about what’s going on.

So, what’s a good way to handle it?

If you’re the Talker, instead of:
“Hey, how come you won’t talk to me? Why are you so quiet? Don’t you know we need to talk?”

Try this:
“UnTalker, something’s been on my mind and I’d like to discuss it with you. Is now a good time for you to talk?

If the UnTalker says, “No, I really need my space right now.”

Talker says, “I can respect that. I don’t want to ignore this, however, when can we talk about this?” And then get a commitment from them for a time to talk.

UnTalker, it may be your usual habit to keep quiet about something until you’ve thought it through but realize that not saying anything can invite your Talker to make up a story about what they imagine to be wrong—which may have nothing to do with what’s actually going on! But once it’s formed, it may be hard for you to dissuade them. Better to say, “Hey, nothing is wrong with us, but there is something on my mind. Can you give me a little time to process it? That way, when we do talk about it I’ll be better prepared. I know this is important to you and I promise I will get back to you about it.” And then offer a hug.

Part of working through disagreements or conflicts in relationship is learning to stay connected even when you may be angry at something the other person did or did not do. CHOOSE PEACE! It’s not always easy, and is definitely a trial and error process. But doing so is Love Applied.



  1. Yep….this happens to me a lot. I want to talk so I can deal with things and get rid of the stories in my head. But my sweetheart just wants to push it under the rug and let it live there with the dust mites. I’ll try your advice next time. LOL. Thanks! Also, I am enjoying these, Melinda….think this material is strong! Keep going.

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