The Reigning King of the Silent Treatment Has Finally Met His Match

Cell phoneThere’s beautiful, almost spring-like weather here in the District, but I’m only half enjoying it. I’m in the middle of a horrendous beef with The Man and you know how a bump in the ol’ relationship can throw a dank cloud over even the most Disney-like day. My AM soundtrack started out with a lot of Fergie and Beyonce — my girl power, eff-it-and-rock-out-anyhow songmakers. I got up, went for a walk, and vowed to be a brickhouse next time he laid his foolish eyes on me.

But after hours of his legendary silent treatment, I’ve been reduced to a sappy, phone-checking mess whose shelved the music of the morning for the more emotive stylings of Teedra Moses and Jill Scott, who somehow intuit what I need to hear to know that it’s not just me going through a certain situation. Still, songs aren’t a distraction from what I already know: he’s not going to text and he’s not going to call first.


So now I’m smack dab in the middle of that funky space — you know the one when you’re re-reading and psychoanalyzing five little ol’ texts from three days ago just because it was the last time you communicated with him. That’s where I’m at.

The silent treatment is the most maddening anti-communication tactic ever enlisted. Love isn’t supposed to make it easy to block someone out or throw them away. Love is supposed to stand up and fight for your unique preciousness. Guys, it seems, can push past any sentimentality and go emotionally blank in the amount of time it takes me to absorb a calorie. The word “disposable” comes immediately to mind. In fact, it’s come up quite a bit in the course of our conversations. Back when we were having conversations, of course.  

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and glanced at the time. 3:45 a.m. Before I willed myself to doze off, I had purposefully tucked my phone under a pillow so I’d stop compulsively checking for communication from him. I caught myself trying one time too many to telepathically intimidate the little red message light to start blinking, but when I gave in and peeked, I swiftly got my feelings hurt. No unread texts. No missed calls. No emails. From him, anyway. Nobody was thinking about me but Groupon.

I remember when I used to wake up to “good morning, baby” texts and go to sleep to “just thinking about you” songs sent as links from YouTube. There were plans in the works for a wedding and more babies and a house with a sunroom and a man cave for him in the basement. Years of planning and praying and hoping and loving is all in the wind.

Sometimes people change and they need to move on. The ebbs and flows of life mature some folks past the point of being able to tolerate the foolishness they once accepted as part of their partner’s package. There are, for every person, loveable things and not-so-great flaws but you can’t strip out one for the other so you voluntarily take the good with the bad and hope that the bad never overrides the good. Sometimes, though, people just give up, get lazy in their loving, and want components of a relationship to be easy. Email has made communication efficient, microwaves have made cooking faster, but there are just some things that can’t be slashed, cut, or time-compressed. Building a lasting, loving, solid, healthy, happy, joy-filled romance is one of those things.
Well, I’m on my twelfth Jill Scott song now. I don’t know how she’s feeling about the prospects of new love right now but I can tell you that Janelle is a recovering romantic who is officially telling Cupid to kick rocks. I used to love hard, ask questions later. Be tolerant. Patient. Nurturing even. But when he got done with me, he didn’t extend any of that time-valuing courtesy. He dumped my tail. Quick.  

Just for GP, I checked my phone again. Still no call. So after I leave this beautiful park bench with the sun beaming on my skin and seeping into my spirit, I’m letting my faraway celebrity bestie sing me her story and, in the process, empathize with mine. And if homeboy is strong enough to dish out the silent treatment with the fierceness, then by golly, he’s met his doggone match.

Is the silent treatment ever effective?

Image via Ron Bennetts/Flickr

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