Lack of communication is one of the leading causes of divorce. Regardless of the nature of a couple’s problems, if they can continue talking about the problems they have a better chance of getting through the difficulties and even improving their relationship. However, if one or both partners are reluctant to find a way to resolve their problems, their chances of divorcing are greater.
What often happens is that one partner tries to bring up a sensitive issue for discussion, and the other clams up. This creates anxiety in the first partner, who then continues to get the other to “open up.” If the other remains unresponsive, the first partner makes further attempts to connect. This results in a pursuer/distancer pattern, in which one partner is trying to make the relationship work, but the other is moving further and further away, remaining unresponsive and stonewalling any attempts to address issues. While the silent partner may seem to be the controlling partner, underneath his or her stonewalling tactics there may be a good amount of fear — fear of what might happen if the issues were allowed to come to the surface through discussion. The stonewalling helps to keep issues buried and vulnerable feelings unspoken.
The couple grows further apart. Soon they begin to isolate themselves from couples they previously socialized with, and may develop their own separate social outlets. They stop kissing and showing other signs of affection, and may go for months without having sex. Each lives in his/her own separate world of hurt, frustration, hopelessness and loneliness.
And all of this happens because they never sat down and talked.