How to deal with an emotionally shut down partner | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 16, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 16, 2019

How to deal with an emotionally shut down partner

Dealing with an emotionally shut down partner can be difficult and unnerving, particularly when you are very expressive but next to nothing is reciprocated. It feels terrible when you go out of your way to show how much you care but mostly end up being met with what seems like apathy and indifference. At times, this is a solvable problem and can be dealt with, but there are times one needs to prioritize self-care and walk away.

These are some very basic steps that one can take to deal with an emotionally shut down partner.

Letting them know

If you are hurt by something they did or said- or didn’t say or do, for that matter- you should let them know about your feelings right away. If you keep little sparks of pain buried in your heart, they might eventually be fueled into great flames which would hamper your mental peace to a great extent. There is only so much one can put up with and your partner should know about the actions and words of theirs that cause you pain so that they can work on them.

Knowing just how much to compromise

While compromises and sacrifices are important, there is a limit to them. If you think you are having to sacrifice a lot, that your feelings are being unheeded to, you should talk it out with your partner. Nobody is perfect and it is very important that they understand the need to be more understanding, expressive and accommodative.

Make them understand it is not healthy

Emotionally shut down people often display many other traits besides simply not acknowledging your efforts. When fights ensue, they usually try to evade them by changing the topic, leaving the issue unresolved. Make them understand how important confrontations are, how important it is for both of you to talk things out. Toxicity and negativity should be uprooted before they are watered and nurtured by further conflicts and problems- and yes, if your equilibrium is hampered because your partner refuses to acknowledge the problematic situation at hand, they are being toxic to you even if you refuse to admit it.

Understanding what caused them to shut down

Some people are emotionally shut down because they are dealing with problems of their own. Depression - or any other psychological issue- could be a major reason and if this is the case, they need help. Make them understand that they need to see a therapist. Depression is an illness and it should not be left untreated.

If they have shut down because of a problem or a misunderstanding, ask them to discuss it with you. Silence is never a solution to anything. If there are cracks in a relationship, they can be repaired if there is effort and understanding on each side.

Knowing when to walk away

There are times you can’t solve this problem no matter how much you try. Some people are emotionally shut down by nature and if it affects you and your mental peace, you should understand it is time you walked away. It is going to be painful, of course, but toxicity from a partner can go on to hamper your mental health and it needs to be prevented.


When he is not dealing with mood swings, Shounak Reza devours books and tea and longs for eras he has never lived in. You can contact him at


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