Ask Lynn: Why Won’t He Talk To Me?

Our columnist tells a woman how to handle her new guy, who’s good at giving the silent treatment.

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
My new boyfriend has serious communication issues. The other night we were having a nice, uneventful evening, and then, out the blue he got up and left without saying goodbye—and wouldn’t answer my calls for the rest of the night! Afterward, we talked about how you should tell the other person what has
For the moment, you’re doing the right thing. You tried talking about it…
made you upset, and it has been 100% better for the past week. However, I am concerned that this passive-aggressive behavior will continue and ruin our relationship. What should I do? I have had passive-aggressive boyfriends before, and the silent treatment makes me crazy!
– Deafened by Silence

Dear Deafened,
Leaving without saying goodbye? Hello! I’d say that’s a communication issue. Coupled with the crazy unfounded silent treatment, I’d also say it’s a manners issue and, perhaps above all, a maturity issue. You didn’t mention anything about High School Musical 3 or spell yr entire email like u wr texting yr bff, so I’ll assume you guys are not in seventh grade. So yeah, this is a problem.

For the moment, you’re doing the right thing. You tried talking about it; you acknowledge some improvement. And you are on alert that it’s a problem that could continue.

What you don’t mention is something that many people do when they write about problems with their partners: What they like or even love about the other person. To be fair, maybe you were in a hurry when you wrote, or maybe you were too
If “he’s great, but,” then give him a bunch of chances.
steamed at the moment to elaborate on all his fantastic qualities. Still, the lack of the “He’s great” half of “He’s great, but…” gives me pause.

If I’m totally off-base there, then good. If “he’s great, but,” then give him a bunch of chances. A bunch, but not a ton. See if he can make some improvements to his communication style, and then decide if his behavior is something worth living with in order to get all the other amazing, wonderful things he offers.

But otherwise, Deafened, don’t be willfully blind. If there’s not a whole lot to write home (or to me) about between silent treatments, then you should —unlike him — say goodbye. There is someone out there who will, you know, speak to you. It’s not a lot to ask. And since this has been a bit of a pattern for you, if you do find yourself single again, make sure you stop having passive-aggressive boyfriends. Ask yourself why you have this pattern. And — unlike him — actually answer. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll find someone who’ll whisper, even shout, the sweet nothings you definitely deserve to hear.

Lynn Harris ( is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (, of the award-winning website — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times,,, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via Your question may be answered in a future column.
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