Relationship Advice When Your Partner Gives You the Cold Shoulder

Just about any and all love relationships have their ups and downs.

It’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a relationship “slump” and a warning sign that you need to take a close look at what’s going on and consider some changes.

When you feel like your partner is giving you the cold shoulder what does it mean? Is he or she merely going through a difficult time that has nothing to do with you or has something about your relationship– or you– upset your mate?

We advise that even a relationship “slump” needs to be acknowledged. But especially when you notice signs that your love is closing down to you– giving you the cold shoulder– it’s time for you to wake up, pay attention and do what you can to turn things around.

The bottom line is that any amount of emotional distance can mean disconnection. When you ignore the “slump” or cold shoulder, that disconnection can grow and worsen.

Jackie and Ann have enjoyed a great relationship for 3 years now. Keeping their lesbian relationship a secret because of Ann’s fears about losing her job as a school teacher has been a challenge, but when they started dating Jackie knew this was important to Ann.

Lately, Ann has noticed a chill from Jackie. At first Ann dismissed Jackie’s cold shoulder, but the distance between them seems to be growing. Their house, which used to be filled with love and laughter, is now mostly silent and uncomfortable.

Check in with yourself.

When you sense that your love is giving you the cold shoulder, take some time to go within. Before you approach your partner with worries or fearful questions, check in to see how you’ve been feeling.

Sometimes we can transfer to our mate what we’re actually feeling and have not yet acknowledged.

Ann remembers the last time she felt distance between herself and Jackie. At that time, she felt certain that she’d made Jackie angry but couldn’t figure out why.

After an emotional escalation and subsequent argument, Ann finally realized that she was the one who was feeling out of sorts and then attributing that feeling onto Jackie.

On that occasion, Jackie was actually feeling good about their relationship– until Ann began to accuse her of being angry when she wasn’t.

There are times when it IS truly all about you. Be clear about what you are feeling now and the emotions that were present for you before you noticed your love’s “cold shoulder.”

If you realize that you are the one who feels angry, irritated or upset, then explore what triggered those emotions for you. If your partner played a role in you feeling triggered, ask yourself if there is something that you two could each do differently in the future.

Avoid blaming your partner for “making” you feel a particular way.

When you take responsibility for your own feelings and reactions, then you can decide how to improve not only your mood, but also your connection with your love. From this place of non-blame, you can make requests of your love.

Ask for information.

If, after going within, you decide that your partner really is acting irregularly toward you and truly seems to be giving you the cold shoulder, choose what you want to do next.

Take a symbolic step back from the situation and any stories you may be telling yourself in an attempt to understand your mate’s behavior. Formulate within your mind what you want to happen and what will help you get there.

After checking in with herself, Ann feels sure that Jackie is giving her the cold shoulder– this is much different than the previous occasion.

Keeping in mind that, ultimately, what she wants is to enjoy a close, loving connection with Jackie, Ann decides to approach Jackie and try to turn the situation around.

Learning more about what your partner is feeling right now is important to moving beyond the cold shoulder and toward the connection you want.

However, be clear within your own mind and with the words you choose that it is information that you want and then be ready to listen.

Don’t approach your mate with accusations or even observations about what you think is going on for him or her. Instead, ask your love to share with you how he or she is feeling at this time—in general and about your relationship.

When Ann asks Jackie for information, she is surprised to learn how dissatisfied Jackie is about their initial agreement to keep their relationship a secret.

Jackie shares that she feels like Ann is not as committed to their relationship and perhaps is even embarrassed by it. After opening up to Ann, Jackie visibly relaxes.

While Ann and Jackie still have a difficult situation to deal with and choices to make that may not be easy, their connection has actually improved.

You might not want to hear what your partner has to say when he or she opens up about the cold shoulder. But, this new sense of openness can help you two make decisions and changes together as a couple which can ultimately draw you closer.

For more information about how to communicate with your partner when it’s tough, visit


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