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I've got myself a sulker... what to do?!

(139 Posts)
24Ls Thu 05-Oct-17 21:28:30

Hi everyone! Currently needing a bit of perspective/help on how to deal with a major sulker!

We have been together for almost 3 years - currently in the process of saving for a house (we have saved but just need a final mortgage meeting before we can get the ball rolling) and are very much happy... 95% of the time.

My partner seems to have sulks at the exact same time every few months. I can predict exactly when they will come and feel myself start to dread them. They go on for a few days and then he snaps straight back to normal as though nothing ever happened.

The current one has resulted in me coming home to stay at my parents as I can't be in the house with him when he's so low and miserable. He will wake up in the morning and not acknowledge me and leave the house with just a 'bye'. Usually he would give me a kiss, ask about my day and say 'love you' as he left. He stomps about and slams doors, and makes it blatantly obvious he's in the same room as me but won't acknowledge me at all. When I try and start a discussion he just grunts or gives a single word and then back to stone cold silence.

I should add for the rest of the year we're absolutely great - we share a lot of mutual interests but spend our time apart (me with the gym, him with the gym/pub), we go travelling a lot together and have no arguments, just minor disagreements that resolve within the same hour. We aren't a couple that struggle to communicate, but during these few days a year there is no getting anything out of him.

I just want to know if anyone else experiences this with their partner and what they do to combat it?! I'm sick to death of having days every few months where I feel I have to remove myself from his life as we life as two strangers.

Chocolou Thu 05-Oct-17 21:32:22

No advice sorry op. I've got one too. Not as bad as yours but it drives me mad. His mood controls the whole house. I try and ignore him now and keep things normal for our ds. Just like you would treat a toddler I guess.

I'd love some answers too but I can't really disagree/raise criticisms with him as he goes into a bigger sulk!!

Ellisandra Thu 05-Oct-17 21:33:14

Well, you don't struggle to communicate.
So what has he said about the reason for his childish and mean sulks, and how they upset you, and what he said about what he is going to do to stop it?

If you haven't had that conversation, why are you thinking of tying yourself into a house with him?

Ellisandra Thu 05-Oct-17 21:33:59

Chocolou I think that's really sad that you are just accepting that as your life sad

TheLongRider Thu 05-Oct-17 21:34:06

This situation is not going to get better.

Does he ever acknowledge the sulks, can you discuss them with him after he's had one? If you say you can predict them, is there a common trigger?

Does he ever show any remorse or insight?

If you can't discuss the sulks, I would be reconsidering any future with him.

bouyou Thu 05-Oct-17 21:37:07

Isn’t it called stonewalling?

Someone here recently realised she just didn’t care anymore. I think the relationship broke down.

Poshindevon Thu 05-Oct-17 21:37:40

OP sorry to ask the obvious but you dont say if you have discussed the sulking with him and will he not ask why you left him for a few dsys.
Very strange behaviour.

TurnipCake Thu 05-Oct-17 21:38:50

Save your money and DTMFA

Ruddygreattiger2016 Thu 05-Oct-17 21:39:57


Chocolou I think that's really sad that you are just accepting that as your life sad


Loopytiles Thu 05-Oct-17 21:40:38

THis behaviour would get worse if you had DC IMO.

24Ls Thu 05-Oct-17 21:41:32

Ellisandra He claims it's the stresses of his work - he teaches and his sulks always fall at the exact same time, about 2/3 weeks into a term. He's acknowledged this and has said on multiple occasions he doesn't like his job, I've offered to help him find something else but he's reluctant as he always berates himself and says other jobs wouldn't want him

TheLongRider His work is a huge trigger... I know as soon as he goes back to work that I can expect a sulk within the next 3 weeks and they always happen. I've told him how frustrating it is that he takes this out on me, but once he gets down he projects everything out on everyone around him and there's no talking to him.

PickAChew Thu 05-Oct-17 21:42:20

Don't buy a house with him.

Youcanttaketheskyfromme Thu 05-Oct-17 21:42:48

Well I'd ask him what the fuck he's playing at.

Does he not notice you going to your mums ?

I'm also baffled as to how you can predict this behaviour. Is there a reason behind it in your view ?

EggysMom Thu 05-Oct-17 21:42:52

Well WHY does he do this? There has to be a trigger, nobody sulks for no reason.

When I first moved in with DP, he was a mega-sulker (days long) but has mellowed as we became accustomed to living together and learnt each other's boundaries and triggers. Now he'll sulk for an hour or two at most.

Youcanttaketheskyfromme Thu 05-Oct-17 21:43:55

Cross post.
Basically he either seeks medical help (if it is a medical issue which I doubt but perhaps it's mental health related)

Or he fucks off.

Love51 Thu 05-Oct-17 21:44:26

My DH used to struggle at 2 points each year, relating to a bereavement. Once we had established a pattern and discussed it, it got better. I knew it would be a time he needed some space, and that it wasn't about me, and he became able to voice his needs like a grown up. If I plan anything for those 2 times I would run it by him more than usual, but it doesn't really affect us any more, although he still obviously feels sad on the specific days.
This only worked because he actually talked to me. If he had refused to acknowledge it, things would have been harder.

24Ls Thu 05-Oct-17 21:44:31

Sorry I posted as a bit of a rush - I just dumped my brain onto the keyboard! I have discussed this behaviour with him and he acknowledges where I come from, but has said he just can't help himself when he gets into a slump... I have toyed with the idea it could be some form of depression etc but he's very closed off with other people. It's hard enough getting him to go to A&E with a broken limb nevermind telling him to go spill his heart out to a stranger.

AnyFucker Thu 05-Oct-17 21:45:15

How can you be bothered ?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 05-Oct-17 21:45:50

Does he feel bad that he has taken it out on you? How does he apologise? What steps has he suggested he could take to make sure he doesn't ever do it again?

Let me guess. You've made all the suggestions? He's batted them all away? You are supposed to suck it up?

Double up on your contraception. Babies create huge stress. He'd be like this most of the time if you had a baby.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 05-Oct-17 21:45:55

Sulking is not simply about being silent; its another way of controlling you. Its also another form of emotional abuse.

Sulking is generally thought of as something which children do rather than adults, but it is a major blight on many adult lives. A sulk is a reaction to feelings of being rejected where, instead of getting openly angry or talking about the problem, the sulker retaliates with moody silences or monosyllabic replies designed as a punishment. It is closely associated with envy and a desire to destroy the contentment of the other person, in this case you.

Having some idea about your partner’s motivations and actions does not mean you have to excuse all future outbursts or continually try to avoid upsetting them. It can, however, help you consider how you respond. Many people in your situation say they’ve tried everything to ‘get through’ to a partner when they withdraw. How do you usually act when they freeze you out. Do you:

try and jolly them out of it
pay them lots of positive attention
give them a lot of sympathy
try and spoil them (e.g. by cooking their favourite meal)
repeatedly attempt to be affectionate
try to get their attention by being abusive or aggressive
asking others to intervene on your behalf (including children if you have them)
wait until they start talking and then pay them back with some silent treatment of your own

What happens when they come out of their cold shouldering phase? Do you discuss it and if so how? Are you left being/feeling blamed, or do they take responsibility and promise not to do it again? Is the not-talking not talked about, or do you give them a lot of affection and tell them you’re glad to ‘have them back’?

I would seriously reconsider your future with this man because this is who he is and he is not for changing. The responsibility for any freezing out ultimately is his and your focus should be on your needs, confidence and reactions.

The object of the sulk is to force the other person to make the first attempt at patching things up so that the sulker can then reject them, thus extracting revenge. After what is considered an acceptable period of time, depending upon the gravity of the perceived misdemeanour, the sulker accepts reparation.

BelleandBeast Thu 05-Oct-17 21:46:13

I wouldn't be with somebody who behaved like's hugely selfish and disrespectful.

Tell him to get some help, get out of teaching, or out of your life.

A lifetime of this ? No, don't.

timeisnotaline Thu 05-Oct-17 21:48:43

Perhaps next term you could just move to your mums at the start of the term - tell him you can't stand waiting for you to be this nasty sulking person for days, so call me when you are done with your sulking, I'm not waiting around for it to start.
Because you should not put up with that crap!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 05-Oct-17 21:49:08

He says he can't help himself from hurting you. He has taken no steps at all to change that.

You did the right thing moving out. Stay out.

There's no way back from such a horrible disregard for your well-being.

24Ls Thu 05-Oct-17 21:51:09

AttillaTheMeerkat Thank you that post is hugely helpful!

The first time or two I got the cold shoulder I tried endlessly to start conversations etc, all the textbook stuff! I've realised now that that's pointless and turned more to the 'two can play that game' approach. I take time for myself, go and see my friends, take a night with my parents, take up a few extra gym classes etc and remove myself from the situation.

DP doesn't blame during or after his sulks. He shuts down during and will listen and respond when I tell him how it makes me feel afterwards. I don't do this during as I don't want to stoke the fire.

24Ls Thu 05-Oct-17 21:53:09

EggysMom What was the turning point in your relationship? Was there a big sulk and a resolution or just a steady learning curve as you became accustomed?

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