What to do if your girlfriend is ignoring you

What should a man do about a girlfriend who is ignoring him? We interviewed experts asking them this question, below are their answers.

Mario Palacios, M.A. LMFT:

First make sure the communication happens when they are both sitting down, it is just the two of them, and there is a willingness to listen to each other. He expresses to her that the main reasons for sitting down and having a discussion is for both to be heard and validated.

Secondly, he needs to be able to express to her openly how her ignoring is making him feel. Using phrases like “I feel frustrated, angry, sad, hurt when you choose to ignore me” will keep the focus on him and he will be expressing how her actions/nonactions are affecting him. This will aid in preventing her from becoming defensive. If she is open to listening and validating how her behavior makes him feel, he can verbalize what he would like to get from her. For example, if she is upset about something he said/did encourage her to express how his actions affected her. This will lead to having a open dialogue between each other. The point of the conversation is that a form of resolvement happens between each other. 

Kristiana Benson, LMFT:

The best way to approach this concern (even if a man is hesitant) is to speak concisely regarding his feelings. It is easier to hear the feelings from the man who feels ignored if the concerns are presented in a manner that doesn’t equate a metaphorical “assault rifle” of criticism or passive aggressive comments at the person with whom he is in a relationship.

According to the work of renowned researcher and marital therapist, Dr. John Gottman, it is best to use a “softened start-up” when approaching difficult subject matters. Within this softened start-up, a person is encouraged to use “I feel” statements first, which can help reduce defense from the other party. After identifying how a person feels, the individual states the facts of what has occurred, without using interpretation. Lastly, the individual is encouraged to state what he needs and to be concise about this. Do not leave the recipient “mind guessing” what the speaker needs.

An example of this would be stated in this manner: “I’ve noticed that it has been 10 days since I have received any questions from you on how I am doing or initiation of connection between us. I feel sad that it seems like I am the one putting in the work in this relationship. I am asking if you could check in with me and inquire if we could get together or check in how I am doing.”

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