Reality Check: Going Radio Silent

One of the hardest parts of a separation or divorce can be the sudden lack of contact with someone who you have seen and spoken to, not to mention, loved, day in and day out for what might be many years.

At the beginning of my nightmare, when my husband launched his shock sabotage of our marriage and my life, I found it impossible to think that I would no longer have contact with him. This was the man who would text me all day while he was at work. That would cuddle me each night. The man that would cry when he went away on a business trip without me. It was hard to reconcile that this same man was suddenly cutting ties with me.

When the person we love breaks away from us and the initial separation begins, it is like a withdrawal process. We can feel desperate just to have the slightest bit of contact with that person, to have their attention back, to still feel a part of their life.

You may find yourself watching your phone, hoping that they will call, text, anything! Just so you know you are still somewhere in their thoughts. It can get to a stage where even negative or hurtful contact is still better than nothing at all. It is a very sad and very hard process, letting go of communication and getting to a place where you can replace it with ‘radio silence.’

Radio silence means no contact; no calls, no texts, no emails, no Facebook messages…no contact.

As hard as it is, you need to trust that radio silence is a safe place for you. It is a place that offers you time to heal and catch your breath, a place where you can maintain your dignity and a place that protects you from doing and saying things you may later regret.

I found radio silence really difficult to achieve in the beginning. I just wanted to keep texting my husband, especially to persuade him of the HUGE mistake he was making. I even sent him pictures of the happy times we had spent together. I think I found it so insane that he was giving up on our marriage, that I was trying to cajole him into coming to his senses. ‘Remember me! You love me! You need me! Remember our life!’ He didn’t care. He wanted out. He wanted to start a new life with the new person he was leaving me for.

After some time I began to realise that when I messaged him and told him of my feelings, what was in my heart, I was showing another layer of my soul and emotion to someone who didn’t care to see it. He didn’t deserve to see it. Very quickly my messages stopped. If we sent text messages about the home, the car, then that was necessary contact but it was very formal and that is the way it remains. All other contact was cut.

Now, some online forums and advice columns may tell you to go radio silent to spark curiosity in your partner, that the absence of contact with you will make their heart grow fonder. That they will miss you and get in touch with you. Please, please hear me…this is about YOU now. This isn’t about them, getting them back, making them miss you. The radio silence is all for you.

Use radio silence as a way to begin detaching from someone who has already detached from you. Use it as a way of distancing yourself from someone who has checked out. It will allow you the time to think for yourself, to process your thoughts and the reality you are in. It will help you to disentangle your opinions of the situation from what they are feeding you. It allows you to not be manipulated, to become your own entity again.

If a divorce ensues, they will have their own agenda which may not include your well-being. Radio silence creates that space where you can strengthen and start looking out for yourself. Radio silence will offer a form of safety as well, as things that are written in emails and texts have a way of surfacing later in the divorce process. Don’t give them ammunition against you.

Above all, if someone has left you, radio silence helps you keep those precious, important, delicate feelings to yourself and not waste them on someone who treated those feelings with such recklessness.

Radio silence, it’s hard, it’s necessary and it’s the first step towards you taking back control.



5 thoughts on “Reality Check: Going Radio Silent

  1. janieleeds says:

    Excellent! Yes, radio silent is hard to do, but very necessary. When you have kids though, it gets a little messier. Formality in all communication for me was key. As if it were a business deal and not the man I was married to for over 20 years. And it works…


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