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Thread: How do you deal with a sulker?

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    Mellie
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    How do you deal with a sulker?

    I dunno whether it's because he can't see my point of view and doesn't want to argue, or if he uses sulking as a punishment to get his own way (definitely feels like the latter), but I really struggle with the silent treatment and wonder how other people deal with it. I'm pretty angry at the moment and my instinct is retaliation, e.g. if he sulks for two days, I'll sulk for four, but I know how childish that sounds. I just get so sick of it (doesn't happen very often, but when it does it drives me nuts). I'm sure he's just pushing my buttons.

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    Hermes
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    Children sulk. He needs to grow up.

    Just act with indifference the next time he tries this on. And, if it becomes ingrained pattern, then it is time to take a long hard look at the relatinship.

    H

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    DN

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    Much depends on what the arguments are about and how they are conducted. What one person sees as sulking another sees as needing time to get over it so as not to make a bad situation worse.

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    catfeeder
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    I would treat it the way I'd treat a child throwing a temper tantrum--ignore it.

    If you don't live with the guy, this is simple. Just don't call, don't write, and live your life. If he wants to speak with you again, he knows how to reach you. Uhm... if he doesn't? You've just spared yourself a breakup with an ego--so what's to lose, exactly?

    If you live with the guy, just carry on. If you're making a dinner, let him know when it's ready as you normally would, but fail to fix his plate and fail to notice if he doesn't eat. If you've got a question, ask it. If he doesn't respond, just sound cheerful and say, "Okay, well I'll just decide this for both of us, and I hope you'll like the outcome."

    If you interpret sulking as manipulative and respond to it with a wall of your own, you position yourself in a no-win standoff that can erode your relationship. If you operate normally and don't let it phase you, then you not only win, you leave the door open for him to normalize when he's done with his problem.

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    Hermes
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    he can't see my point of view and doesn't want to argue
    Very childish.

    H

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    Mellie
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    Thanks for your comments. I can see how ridiculous it is to give the cold shoulder in retaliation, but... I dunno. Whilst the nicey nicey route does seem to be the way to go, looking at it from another angle (my narked one, namely), I don't see this as great behaviour and I don't want to give any kind of positive endorsement of it.

    No, we don't live together. It's a very LDR. I think I'll just make a point of having as nice a time as possible and not sit here waiting for him to snap out of it (sounds so easy), or give that impression anyway. I'm tempted to call him on it though when he does dain to speak. I definitely see this as me being punished and I don't think it's good where one person tries to get the upper hand by making the other as miserable as possible. It wasn't an argument as such, but a difference of opinion - on something I was wearing. I know, I know. Doesn't sound great. It's an intercultural relationship and sometimes when these issues crop up, it can be very hard. For 99% of the time we get on brilliantly and love each other very much. We see eye to eye on most things. But when issues do crop up, this is how he deals with them. We've never had an argument as such - this is what happens instead. And no, I don't always or even usually back down. I'll compromise but I won't be steam rollered. He always goes off to his 'cave' then comes back again right as rain. Part of me thinks he's just cooling off, but the other says no.

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    catfeeder
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    If it's an LDR, then just leave it alone. What you interpret as sulking could be his definition of letting things cool off.

    I'll admit, I was really surprised to learn how often things can resolve themselves when I can back off and stop putting my hands into everything. When I pick things apart and keep them stirred, I cause more damage instead of allowing them to heal.

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    Gath
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    Quote Originally Posted by catfeeder [Register to see the link]
    If it's an LDR, then just leave it alone. What you interpret as sulking could be his definition of letting things cool off.

    I'll admit, I was really surprised to learn how often things can resolve themselves when I can back off and stop putting my hands into everything. When I pick things apart and keep them stirred, I cause more damage instead of allowing them to heal.
    I agree cat, there's plenty of times I'm angry about something, and if I let things lay for a bit, I realize it was a silly thing to get charged up about.

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