Expert advice

How to Deal With a Partner That Won’t Communicate: 10 Expert Tips

Last Updated:
January 29, 2024

The silent treatment, avoiding important discussions, or showing complete disconnect to the conversation; sound familiar? When your partner struggles with communication, it can create many problems and challenges in your relationship, causing you to feel frustrated, lonely, and often, completely disconnected. The good news is - all hope is not lost. With some empathy and patience, couples can often work together through common communication problems. 

In this article, Ritual experts explore how to deal with a partner who does not communicate, including strategies to consider and ways to bridge the communication gap. 

10 tips for dealing with a partner who won’t communicate 

#1 Get to the root cause 

Before addressing the issue, it’s important to consider the potential reasons behind your partner's lack of communication. There are so many factors that could be at play, both internal and external. Stress (both inside and outside of your relationship), past traumas, fear of confrontation, or a communication style learned from a caregiver can all impact communication in a relationship. 

How? Approach the situation with empathy. Seek to understand the circumstances that could be impacting your partner’s communication habits, rather than placing blame. 

#2 Encourage open dialogue 

An environment that encourages open communication is key to addressing any issues. Express your thoughts and concerns in a non-confrontational manner and invite your partner to do the same without feeling attacked. 

How? Use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory. Instead of saying “You never talk to me”, try “I feel disconnected when we don’t communicate, could we speak about what might be going on?”

#3 Be patient and respect their boundaries 

Remember, nearly every one of us will have a different communication style and your partner is no different! If your partner is naturally reserved, they may likely need more time to process their thoughts and emotions - be patient and allow them the space they need.

How? Avoid pressuring your partner to communicate on your timeline. Respect their pace and gently encourage them to share when they feel ready. 

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#4 Opt for the right time and place 

Timing and setting can be everything when it comes to successful communication! Avoid addressing serious concerns in the heat of the moment or during stressful situations. By selecting the right time and place, the likelihood of a constructive and open conversation will increase.

How? Choose a calm and neutral environment for conversations where you can both feel comfortable expressing yourself. This might be at home or during a walk in your local park.

#5 Don’t forget to actively listen 

Communication is a two-way street. When your partner does decide to share their thoughts and feelings, be an active listener. Focus on understanding their perspective and validating their feelings when they open up. 

How? Avoid interrupting or immediately offering solutions. Try paraphrasing what your partner has said to show that you are engaged and genuinely making an attempt to understand their point of view. 

#6 Speak with an expert 

If communication challenges persist despite your efforts, consider seeking professional help. A relationship therapist or expert can provide a neutral and supportive space for you both to express yourself. They can also offer valuable insights and tools to improve communication skills and make your relationship grow stronger. 

How? Spend time doing your research together and find an expert who will suit you both. If you and your partner would prefer affordable guidance that works around your schedule, consider online relationship guidance with Ritual.

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#7 Foster trust 

Communication problems can often stem from a lack of trust or a fear of vulnerability. Create an atmosphere where both you and your partner feel secure enough to share your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Trust is the foundation of open communication, once established it can pave the way for more meaningful connections. 

How? Work on building trust within your relationship by being consistent, reliable, and supportive. 

#8 Remember communication isn’t always vocal 

Communication is not limited to words alone; non-verbal cues play a significant role in conveying emotions. Sometimes, non-verbal cues can speak louder than words and provide valuable insights into your partner's emotional state.

How? Pay attention to your partner's body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Be mindful of your non-verbal communication to ensure it aligns with the message you want to convey. 

#9 Make your expectations clear 

Setting clear expectations regarding communication can help both partners understand each other's needs. Establishing a mutual understanding of communication preferences can reduce misunderstandings and create a more harmonious relationship.

How? Discuss how often you'd like to check in, what topics are important to cover, and how to navigate disagreements.

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#10 Work on your communication style 

While addressing a partner's communication challenges, it's essential to reflect on your communication style. Are you fostering an environment that encourages openness and vulnerability? Are you actively listening and validating your partner's feelings? By assessing your communication habits, you can contribute to a healthier dialogue within the relationship.

How? Practice self-reflection such as journaling and spending quality time with your thoughts. 

Ritual is on a mission to make good relationship care accessible to all. Our model was designed to remove barriers like cost, tight schedules, and partner participation. We do that with scientifically validated methods, supported by the most up-to-date research from the strongest names in the field.

Here’s how it works:

  • You will work with a trained professional who can offer a wide variety of evidence-based interventions.
  • In between your sessions, you will receive weekly videos with tried-and-tested knowledge and exercises focused on your specific needs and goals.
  • The sessions with your dedicated expert will help you integrate what you learned into everyday life.

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