Ladies, you get mad at him. So you stop talking to him to punish him. If you’re familiar with “the silent treatment” — either as the instigator or the receiver — you are not alone. It is the most common pattern of conflict in relationships, and it causes the most damage. Silence may be golden, but the silent treatment can ruin a relationship, according to Paul Schrodt, a professor of communication studies at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He arrived at this conclusion after leading a team in a meta-analysis of 74 studies that included more than 14,000 participants. The research showed that couples who engage in the demand-withdraw pattern do experience lower relationship satisfaction, less intimacy and poorer communication. And the damage can be not only emotional with feelings of anxiety and aggression, but also physical with such symptoms as urinary, bowel or erectile dysfunction. The takeaway: Start talking through your problems instead of maintaining a haughty silence.