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Letters From Listeners
Why Men Shut Down
Why Men Shut Down

Dr. Laura,

You asked today, "What are some things women do that automatically make their boyfriends and spouses shut down?"  This is an easy one to answer. Men shut down when they have given up.

They give up when their efforts to please are either ignored or trivialized.

They also give up when they are treated as bumbling idiots who have nothing useful to offer.

They give up when they feel used and abused.

I want to say "DUH!" to your question, but then I would be like one of those women.

Furthermore, regarding your introductory scenario in the Daily Dose of Tom and Lisa:

Meet Tom.  Tom is married to Lisa.  Lisa is very mad.  Why is she mad?  Because Tom did something Lisa didn't like.  Lisa comes up with about a dozen extremely subtle ways to hint at what Tom did wrong, but Tom, for the life of him, can't figure it out.  So, Tom shuts down.

This reminds me of a story my husband told me about how he was treated by such a woman. He, sensing something was wrong, asked her what was bothering her. The reply, "If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you."

And he got the silent treatment for days after that. Needless to say, that relationship lasted barely a year.


Tags: Dating, Marriage, Men's Point of View, Relationships
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