Spouse Won’t Talk to You? Here are Some Tips for Marriage Communication Help

February 14, 2011 · Print This Article

One of the most frustrating marriage problems for couples tends to be communication within the marriage. Couples sometimes feel they need marriage communication help or marriage counseling to get back on track with one another. And although marriage counseling may be the right solution, I would like to offer some advice to consider trying first.

Typically, communication problems for wives stem from when their spouse has difficulty confiding and sharing. Comments like “my husband won’t talk to me” are a common symptom of communication problems within a marriage. These comments are also indicators that getting help to work through the problems could be important to consider.

It doesn’t matter if it is a major or minor topic, many women share during marriage counseling and therapy sessions that they feel extremely anxious and alone when their husbands have difficulty in providing the level of communication needed. After years of experiencing rejection, wives sometimes report feeling abandoned, and in the worst of situations, believe they need help for a broken marriage.

Intimate marriages where both partners feel a strong and close communication connection and are able to confide in one another, frequently have two processes at work. The first is gentleness and the second is acceptance. Intimate marriages have an “emotional intimacy barometer.” In most of these marriages, the wife is the monitor of the emotional intimacy levels. This is a wonderful, intuitive gift for knowing when the emotional distance between two people is too much and often leads to the wife attempting to draw the husband to be closer emotionally. The wife often brings something to her husband in an attempt to reconnect and open communication. When her attempt is met with acceptance, love, and open arms by her husband, the balance of closeness and distance begins to be restored. When her attempt at improving communication within the marriage is met with rejection by her husband, ignoring, or even belligerence, closeness continues to erode and intimacy embarks upon a slow death. A broken marriage can sometimes be the end result.

My advice is first for the men reading this: Meet your spouse’s needs for communication, ANY kind of discussion, with responsiveness. Instead of lecturing or providing all the reasons why something is the way it is, or the pros and cons of it, give your spouse a compliment and focus on her strengths. Appreciate that she is coming to you, confiding in you, sharing…communicating. Let her know you hear her.  It can be something like “Thanks for bringing this up” or “I am really glad I have you to pay attention to these things.”  Next, find something in what she is saying that makes sense and you agree with.  Ask for more of her thoughts on the matter. I guarantee she has lots to say on the issue. Value her and all that she brings to the table!

Advice for wives: Timing of the communication is everything! How you say it is as important as when you say it!  Gently approach your spouse and ask if it is a good time to talk about something important. Don’t accept ignoring! If this happens, simply state, “After X” or “in 10 minutes” I want to get your opinion and thoughts on Y. Be specific with the topic and stay with one topic – gently. Believe me when I tell you that husbands can get easily overwhelmed and can have a difficult time tracking multiple topics. Stay with one topic and only one topic. That will be enough for your spouse to digest at one time.  And, the same expressions of appreciation apply, but in a way that embraces communication, such as “I really appreciate you listening to me. It makes me love you and be more attracted to you every time you do it. Thanks.”

These communication tips won’t solve every marriage problem. However, I encourage you to give them a try for at least three to six months. No less. If there is a setback in communication, think about how you can make it better next time rather than what your spouse needs to do different. And, if it does not go so well, be the first to extend an olive branch and say “I am sorry for…Can we try again?”

You are always welcome to call our team of highly-trained professionals at Stein Counseling and Consulting if you ever feel that you and your spouse could benefit from unbiased and impartial marriage counseling. We have helped many married couples eliminate the feelings of living in a broken marriage. Some marriage counseling successes can be:

  • Increase intimacy and closeness in a relationship
  • Build a culture of praise and appreciation
  • Increase teamwork in a marriage
  • Solve challenging problems of communication, sexual relationships, finances, co-parenting, household chores, fun and recreation, in-laws, religious differences, and intimacy

Communication problems are normal and seeking advice from someone with experience can oftentimes be the right solution to getting a marriage back on track. Call us…we would be happy to help.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Comments

49 Responses to “Spouse Won’t Talk to You? Here are Some Tips for Marriage Communication Help”

  1. marriage communication on March 1st, 2012 6:21 pm

    What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable knowledge regarding unexpected feelings.

  2. Amanda on May 25th, 2012 2:44 am

    My fiancé won’t talk to me about our relationship and I’m ready to call it quite because he shows no emotion towards me when I speak of leaving. We have a 1 year old son together and he doesn’t help me with anything regarding him. He doesn’t feed him, bath him, put him to bed, he rarely ever plays with him. When I ask him if he wants this relationship to work, if he loves me and is willing to work on things, his replies Are either ” that’s a stupid question” or “sure”. When I ask if he would rather be single and have me leave he tells me to do what makes me happy. He refuses to sit down and open up to me about anything and it’s killing me inside. No deep down I don’t want to leave him but he won’t even tell me what he wants. When I ask what he wants he replies with “I don’t have an answer for you”. What is that supposed to mean? What am I doin wrong? Please please help me. I just want to be happy. Thank you.

  3. tstein on June 15th, 2012 10:19 pm

    Hi Amanda
    What a difficult situation. I can sense the resentment building with each day that passes and the feelings of neglect that you are experiencing. Often, the first two years post baby is when a couple experiences significant relationship dissatisfaction…everything changes and when it used to be just the two people in bed – there are now three. And, the male has a difficult time being – well, replaced as the most important relationship in his partner’s life. Based on what I read, you really in your heart of hearts want to know if he delights in you as well as your desire to be closer and work together – enjoying these moments of raising your son together and for him to be a haven of safety and base of security for your son. Some men are reluctant to talk about the relationship because the often experience feeling overwhelmed during these discussions and experience a flight or fight response. They also may stonewall their partner – (withdraw or give no feedback that they are “present” in the conversation). This usually makes the partner, particularly the female, feeling very anxious – much as you are now. Men sometimes need very clear directions – much like telling the dog to “sit.” Often, men also like to experience they are the knight who can rescue their partner, although they often struggle to do this emotionally. Here is what I suggest. Next time you are feeling anxious or insecure, be gentle with your approach and say something like, “Can I talk to you? I am feeling really anxious inside and just need to hear that we are going to make it through, that we are committed to each other, and then I just need a big hug until I am done with the hug first. Can you do that for me?” Many men will jump at this because they now know exactly how to offer the comfort that their partner most needs. But, you mustn’t judge his motives – “you are only doing this because….” or it will backfire and cause a fight. Just accept that he is doing this because he loves you and wants to make you happy. On the other hand, if he has difficulty responding to that type of direction, there may be more going on and finding a qualified, relationship therapist will be just what you might need.

  4. Carol miller on June 19th, 2012 5:23 am

    I am a 58 year old woman. My husband is 60. We’ll be married 40 years this July 2012. He has always liked hunting and fishing to the point of being obsessive about it. Like he can’t get enough. He is very passive. Wants to be liked by everyone. Everything and everybody else comes first. He won’t communicate about anything. Then he starts kissing on me at night, and I’m supposed to want sex. I am so angry and resentful. We haven’t had sex for about 4 months. I had a complete hysterectomy 8 years ago and my desire for sex isn’t there to start with. So anything that happens, I have to force myself. Then it’s painful. We can ride in the car and never speak two words. In the beginning I tried the hunting fishing thing with him. But he never knows when to quit. If the fishing is good you keep fishing. If you’re not catching anything, you stay until you do. If he’s at home he’s on the phone talking to his buddies about hunting or fishing. Depending on the time of year. Or if he sits with me to watch tv, he falls asleep. We have three kids. They are all grown and on their own. I threw myself into them when they was little, and he was hardly ever around. I want things to be better, but I don’t know what to do. He was like this before we got married, I was only 18, and very stupid.

  5. Kim on July 16th, 2012 1:50 am

    My husband and I have been together for 15 years. The past 5-6 years have been difficult. My husband and I always fight about the same things. Every 1-2 weeks my husband gets mad, it’s always something to do with the kids. Either they don’t listen to him, I spoil them too much, or they are disrespectful. We have really good kids3 girls ages 17, 12, and 2, 2 are teens and sometimes are a little lazy and make smart comments. The problem is, when something happens that upsets my husband, he just stops talking to everyone, and basically pouts until I finally say enough. I will have a big argument and tell him to stop ignoring everyone, tell him how much I love him, and after this he is great for 1-2 weeks till it happens again. I’m just tired. I feel the things he gets upset about are so pety, and he acts like a child, but I don’t want to leave over this. I want to keep the family together, but don’t know how to stop this cycle. When he’s mad he ignores me, acts like I’m not important, and won’t do anything for me. When he’s finished being mad, he acts as though he loves me so much, does everything for me, and treats the kids great. What should I do to stop this cycle? Should I talk to him when he’s not mad about the good 2 weeks mad 1 week mad cycle? I just feel tired of the same thing, I can’t even enjoy our marriage when he’s happy because I’m trying to do everything not to make him upset again. I just never know what will upset him, but am sure after 1 week or so he will find something to be upset about.

  6. Kristin on August 10th, 2012 1:39 am

    I have a big problem, I’ve been with my husband for 9 years, & we’ve been married for 4. We have no communication at all, and the only emotion he ever shows anymore is hatred, we have a 2 year old little girl together, and she can even tell things are different! I have tried everything but when I try to talk to him he ignores me then when he finally listens he blows up and starts yelling over nothing, I feel so alone and like our love has completely abandoned us. He won’t do anything with me and our daughter, we are always doing things alone, and we just can’t get along anymore because he is so hateful. He dosent care what he says to hurt me. We Literally say maybe 10 words to each other on a Dailey basis! I really would appreciate your help! :(

  7. tstein on September 18th, 2012 12:44 am

    I sense you despair and desperation! This is a very difficult situation. You describe a situation that is very volatile and you don’t know what to expect from one minute to the next. To make matters worse, your daughter is being exposed to the toxin and research is very clear about the effects of unregulated anger/rage on a child. It can lead to behavioral symptoms of ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and/or depression, even in young children. Often when spouses describe what you are describing, it may be a case of depression. Often in males, depression shows up as anger/irritability, withdrawal and isolation, giving up pleasurable activities, increased drinking/pornography use/other, and a “going their own way.” They often blame their partner for all the problems.
    Also, marriage satisfaction often reaches new lows the second year following the birth of a child. Often, the man now has to adjust to his needs coming last. Some men make this adjustment while others have a difficult time adjusting.
    The best I can offer is to get in with a good counselor to talk this over or contact us to schedule a time with one of our counselors via skype or other. You will need some support to get through this as it may take setting some strong boundaries if your pleas continue to fall on deaf ears.
    T

  8. crystal on October 4th, 2012 4:58 pm

    My husband and I have been married for 5 1/2 years now. He use to always look at me with that special ”I love you” look. Now it’s gone. I see disappointment. He use to always say ”I love you” before leaving even if we argued. Now he doesn’t. Lately all he has are complaints about me and what I do. We have a son who is 4&I just feel so alone. Like I’m living with a stranger who doesn’t love me anymore. He never talks to me about important issues. In turn this lack of intimacy had led to lack of sexual intimacy on my part. I’m not withholding but I’m not jumping with excitement so he gets upset and won’t have sex with me. That seems completely odd for a male. He has excuse after excuse to get counseling. I’m at the end of my ropes. What else is left to do

  9. Arica on October 17th, 2012 12:24 am

    My husband and I have been fighting almost everyday. He decided to leave me but I begged him to stay for our 2yr old daughter and try and work it out. He stayed but we can’t seem to say anything right to each other without getting mad. He also has to young children from a previous marriage. He is blaming me for not being in their life even though he has never really been there for them. He says it’s not fair that he is there for our daughter and not his other two. I don’t keep him from his kids they come every other weekend and I’m the one taking care of all three children. The only thing he does is play with them. I don’t know how to make things better. He refuses to go to counseling. Please help before he leaves for good!!

  10. Garfila on October 19th, 2012 12:32 am

    Of course as with most stories there’s a lot more to this but to keep it as short as possible & address the main issues, here’s my situation: After 7yrs together (6yrs being married) my husband came home from work, said he had to go somewhere overnight for work which he’s never done before, packed a suitcase, looked me straight in the eyes & said “I love you”, kissed me & my son, then left. For months he was very distant & most of the time he acted, treated me & looked at me with such intense hate. It turns out he was actually running away to go live with another woman he worked with & was having an affair with for almost 2 months!! I didnt know this untill about 1-2months after he left & found out from cell phone records. He never called, wouldn’t answer my calls until I threatened to call his work & family because at this point I didn’t know what had happened to him! The few times we did talk I could never get an answer to why he left, just that he was staying with a guy from work & he said “No” when I asked if he was with another woman. He was gone for about 3mths & with this woman for 5mths before he came crawling back wanted to “come home” & I reluctantly said yes, you can sleep on the couch”. It was the 1st time in months I could actually have a conversation without him avoiding me & ask all the questions I had, event though most of the answers that 1st night were lies. Well that was 4yrs ago & even though (as far as I know) there hasn’t been anymore cheating, I’m still dealing with the pain of it & he refuses to open up about it or anything else I bring up that I feel needs to be addressed. The communication got so much better the 1st yr we were back together and then it all slowly went back to the way it was, maybe even worse then before & I’m not sure why. As of the last 2+yrs, everything seems normal & he acts normal & we get along fine as long as… I don’t want to talk about Any of our problems! He refuses to participate in dealing with & changing anything in our marriage & we have 3 children & 1 on the way. I no longer have a job & no where to go. I feel so trapped in everyway that that means. I can’t either play along, pretend everything’s fine & try to block out all of my true thoughts & emotions, continue to try & talk to him about our issues & going counseling which will anger him, we’ll fight/argue & then I’ll get pissed off that always leaves a lot of tension between us or I can leave things the way they are & continue to be deeply depressed & suffer in silence, which I’ve had just about enough of! I just don’t know what I can do as only 1 half of this relationship to make things better for myself since he won’t be apart of anything. Without the option of leaving, I Need to do something to get myself out of this constant state of feeling so alone & depressed! Unfortunately it’s very difficult for me to consistently seek outside therapy since I have little kids, no babysitters & no one seems to have nights, weekends, either to far away or doesn’t take my insurance.
    I apologize this was sooo long!

  11. tstein on November 5th, 2012 2:40 am

    Good Evening Crystal
    As I was reading your post, the song “You Lost that Loving Feeling” was playing over in my mind. Usually, marriages that are suffering from losing the loving feelings at 5.5 years is primarily due to poor communication habits and a loss of fondness and admiration in the marriage. We know from research that there are 4 horseman in marriage communication – criticism, defensiveness, withdrawal, and contempt. Even happy stable marriages have the first three but not as frequent as couples who divorce and contempt is predictive of divorce. The antidotes to these are gently starting a conversation, complaining without criticizing, being open to influence, showing interest during a discussion (head nods, other tracking) and finally, fondness and admiration. I suggest putting the relationship talk on hold for now – believe it or not, talking about it can only make things worse!! Instead, I suggest a 180 approach: Decide for the next three months that you are doing to only find ways to compliment him, express delight in him, and when you need something done – let him know kindly – asking for help as if you would be asking a stranger for help. He won’t know what hit him!! If he neglects to help you for whatever reason, gently remind him as such, “When I asked you for your help yesterday, I really appreciated you said you would. It means a lot to me. I know you have been busy and will get to it soon. Thanks again.” Do that over and over until it is done. Do not add any more to it. This will allow his own guilt to rise inside him and motivate him to get it done. Re: the sexual issues – when a male thinks his wife is not delighting in him he often feels rejected and most husbands in my office state “I want my wife to want me” which translated means, “I want to see the reflection in her eyes that I am her superman – that she delights in me for just being me – that my presence warms her heart.” There is an old resource out called “Changing Your Man without Him knowing it” by Michelle Weiner Davis, find it, read it, and use it. I have seen when wives can do this, their husbands are capable of great changes! I am praying for you.

    T

  12. tstein on November 5th, 2012 2:51 am

    Arica
    I sense quite a bit of resentment as I read your post. What I am about to say is difficult, but most fathers who have custody every other weekend are the “play dads.” That is frequently how fathers relate and spend time with their children. It is often intimate bonding time from the father’s perspective and the childrens’sperspective and mutually enjoyable for both. He seems to be feeling resentment as well being at the point of leaving. Given the dire straits you are in, seek out a good counselor in your area who is trained in solution focused therapy and values the sanctity of marriage and go by yourself. A therapist with this approach will work with you to find solutions and work hard with you to save your marriage. Call a number of therapists and ask them specifically, “Do you have specific training in solution focused therapy? Do you believe in saving marriages? Tell me your thoughts on when a couple should divorce?” Also, look for someone who has the letters MFT in their title. I only suggest this because in the counseling world, that means they have training in marriage and family therapy. While there are many counselors, such as myself, who do not have MFT in my title but I have sought out much additional training to specialize in marriage work, given this is a blog, it is a suggestion that increases the probability of finding a therapist with the training I suggest (they are know as Marriage and Family Therapists).

    I pray you find a good therapist for your situation in the name of Jesus…
    T

  13. tstein on November 5th, 2012 3:25 am

    Garfila
    You are a strong woman! I admire your persistence! Yet, as I read between the lines, it seems as if the possibility was there, you would leave the marriage. Affairs become perpetual problem in a marriage that need continual salve and soothing throughout the life of the marriage or the marriage runs the risk of bleeding out over time. What I am about to say is going to be difficult for you to read but – I wonder how the resentment you feel is playing out in your communication towards him and how he is experiencing you? It reads as if the walls are up and you are continuing to protect your vulnerabilities – which is understandable after what happened. Your situation is complex, but resources that might help is divorcebusting.com – they have an online community and coaches who can help as well as any of Michelle’s books. I wish I had more for you at this time, but those feelings of abandonment you experienced and continue to experience are so strong, that you need much more than I can give through a blog. I pray that God heal your heart, your marriage, and mold you and your husband into the man and woman He intended you to be in your marriage.
    T

  14. tstein on November 5th, 2012 3:34 am

    Carol
    I am reminded how much “boys will be boys” but you deserve so much more. Congrats on the 40 years and sorry it has taken me as long as that to reply. You are a very giving woman and feel extremely taken for granted and neglected. I think a firm discussion is in order about needing more – but be specific and don’t, DON’T criticize. State what you want specifically in positive terms, “I want to go out for dinner twice a week together OR I want to talk for 30 minutes about something important to me and you to listen and be interested what I am saying – even if you have to pretend OR I want to spend a weekend together next weekend at ___ and when we are there I want us to ______.” These type of statements go a long way. I would also let him know something like, “I want to have sex with you again and I plan on it, but I need my batteries charged, and until they are charged, it will be difficult for me to love you in that way. So, I propose to charge my batteries we ______ IE, have date night once a week, watch a movie on the tv and sit with each other, etc (follow rule 1 – state what you want positively). Don’t worry about the sex for now, it is ok to set limits but in the meantime, get Michelle Weiner Davis’s book ‘The Sex Starved Marriage.” It is really good. I pray that God give you the marriage that He planned and you feel cherished by your husband through the power of the Holy Spirit given to us by Jesus.
    T

  15. tstein on November 5th, 2012 3:47 am

    Kim
    Most of the time, when males withdraw, at least initially, they are trying to sooth themselves so they avoid doing or saying hurtful things, however; when it goes on, then it is often their feelings are still hurt. I have to be truthful, I think you are handling this situation great. You are going to sooth and comfort him when he needs comforting and it is WORKING! I am suspect that there are other stresses he is not bringing to you for comfort and it is building up until this cycle happens OR he is having more mild stressors and bringing them to you for comfort but there is a miscommunication. At the same time, I hear that you have needs for comfort from him that seem to not be met as well. An important thing here is to somehow separate yourself from his withdraw. When a husband withdraws, the wife often feels very anxious and abandoned and like “they are not important.” A risk factor is that male disengagement and withdraw can lead to mutual withdraw and once a wife disengages, the marriage enters a danger zone – which reads as if you are flirting with this zone. I think it is a great idea to talk to him about it. If he denies, it, track it, but be objective – list only the facts and then approach him in the spirit of compromise and changing it!! Tracking the behavior is good as well as you may be describing some symptoms of depression – irritability, withdrawal; so I think you have some good ideas!
    T

  16. Julie on November 21st, 2012 11:38 am

    I just got married 2 months ago and I have been with my newly husband for 6+years. I found that he has so much things to talk to his friends but me. I have asked him why don’t you talk to me? His reply always is I told you the main thing which only 1 or 2 things. And he likes to go out with a lot of friends together, hardly go out just 2 of us. Once I have asked why don’t we go for dinner just us. He replied that you will ask a lot of questions which I did not ask during dinner last time. I don’t understand that he can accept that not talk but I can’t ask question. I found before married he was more loving and caring person, after marrige he has changed to another man that I can’t feel his love when he is sober; I feel he loves me only after his drinking. Can anyone tell me why? And sex life is not as good as before also. Most of the time don’t feel love. We still have the rest of the life to go, and how to deal with it?

  17. tstein on December 6th, 2012 1:00 am

    Julie
    I hear your suffering. What a difficult situation. At the point you are at in the relationship, most problems and reasons why couples divorce is communication. I am not certain about the alcohol and the role it plays in the marriage, but it can be debilitating to a relations should it qualify for alcohol abuse or dependency. Regarding the communication – the primary toxins of criticism, defensiveness, withdraw. and contempt can ruin any relationship!! Men really struggle when it comes to “communication.” Often when they are asked a lot of questions, they take it as an interrogation of sorts, even though the wife is only wanting to connect, bond and be intimate in this manner. Women have often discovered that the way to get their men talking is to make statements before questions, for example: “Why don’t we go for dinner, just us?” when made into a statement with a question is this, “I want for you and I to go to dinner together this week. What night works best for you, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday?” (three choices is always best!) The second example is rather than “why don’t you talk to me” which is actually a criticism, to be specific with what you want to talk about, for example “I want to talk to you about the new blinds we need in the living room and I can’t decide on a color and need you to tell me which you like better – the red or the blue.” I can tell you he will respond with one of three answers, either Red, Blue or I don’t care.
    I dont’ care means he really does not care about the color and often has nothing to do with the relationship. It is an insensitive moment as men don’t realize that their wives crave their input and want to have a discussion about the colors and the pros and cons of each color and how it will match the furniture, etc…this is often very overwhelming to a male and when they are overwhelmed – men withdraw and are quiet, which makes the wife more anxious and ask more questions!! So, rule of thumb when talking to your spouse – short, sweet and too the point. Less is more with men!!!
    Practice, practice, practice….!!
    T

  18. penny on January 29th, 2013 7:46 am

    this advice only works if your husband will talk to you. the only way i can even sometimes get my husband to listen to anything pressing i have to say is to write a letter and most of the time he refuses to read it and he will NEVER talk about what was written.

  19. Reese on April 14th, 2013 12:46 am

    I believe my husband has Aspergers, he doesn’t talk to me or our older son. He is always moody quite and rigid. Never says i love you and shows no empathy or appreciation for what I do. I hate being married to him and feel so trapped. We have 3 children together the youngest is 1. I feel that if I leave I will ruin my children’s life breaking up their home. But I am so miserably, we are in marriage counseling but it doesn’t help much, Asperger’s syndrome can not be cured. I am resentful that he chose me and married me and had kids with me, if he could not meet the basic requirements of being a husband than he should have not pursued this relationship I feel like he has destroyed our life’s even though its not his thought. I hate my life right now, I am so alone all my family are back in the UK and I’m the only one in the US. I feel so trapped I don’t know what to do, he shows absolutely zero affection for me even when I’m ill or crying he says and does nothing. He is so damaged.

  20. Lillian on May 2nd, 2013 1:11 pm

    I am 63, and have been married for 12 years. This is my first marriage, and my husband’s third. We have four adult daughters between us – I had a daughter in a short relationship, and we didn’t ever marry. I was on my own for 20 years before marrying my husband, and I love him very much.
    My husband has been diagnosed with PTSD, as a result of the Vietnam war. He is now aged 72. We have had counselling individually and together, and overall, I am sure we have made good progress – but at times I feel none of the problems have really gone.
    He no longer drinks, but at times become depressed and becomes irritable and withdraw.
    At these times, I bear the main brunt of his negativity. He will be very warm and friendly with other people, but as soon as we get into the car, he makes it clear he does not want to have even a one minute conversation with me.
    At times we go for days without a real exchange or even a cup of tea together. He immerses himself in TV, computer and seems much happier in the company of other men.
    We had an active sex life for the year before we were married, but have had virtually no sex since. This was very hard for me to come to terms with, he pretended the problem was physical, but later acknowledged he did have perfectly good sexual function, and has simply refused to discuss this area. I have had no choice but to accept he “doesn’t like sex”.
    I only start feeling really hurt and down about this when he also won’t talk to me, sit with me, smile at me or go anywhere, even out for a coffee with me.
    When I get hurt and ask for a hug he pushes me away, or on the last occasion when I asked for it to go a bit longer (ie more than about 10 seconds, he said, “Gawd!”)
    At times like this I am very easily hurt.
    I only keep going through meditation and prayer.
    Can you please e-mail me when your reply is written, thanks, God bless you, Lillian

  21. Mark on May 6th, 2013 3:51 pm

    My wife and I haven’t spoken in 4 days. Really, it’s me that’s avoiding her. We got into a dust up because she is unhappy with my current weight, and she can’t control her urge to be mean. She even said if I don’t lose some, she will leave me. Now, granted I’ve put on some lbs. we’ve been together 10 years, and met when I was in the army. I could stand to lose it, and I’m not opposed to trying, but… I feel as though to threaten to leave for that reason… What kinda monster does that? We have a small child, less than 2yrs old. I don’t want to leave, but I don’t know how I can continue with her. Intimacy has always been a issue. Before the weight sex occurred once every month or so, we haven’t made love since before my daughters birth now. (She is 17 months). She says its just not important to her, and/or my weight is a turn off. I’m just tired of feeling like a roommate as opposed to her lover. Idk… I’m not one for counseling…. My father swears it destroyed his marriage to my mother…. Idk… I’m stuck. :-(

  22. tstein on May 8th, 2013 2:59 pm

    Reese
    I hear your loneliness in the marriage. One of the worst experiences a spouse has is to be with someone but feel completely disconnected and alone. However, I also sense a lot of blame for this towards your spouse. Remember, you also choose him. When couples “lose that loving feeling” they often look back and rewrite the marriage story in their minds..symptoms overlooked, insensitiveness that are now large problems, and other “signs” that pointed to RUN. Diagnosing your spouse will not help the situation either as it makes the problem incurable. I do like that you are thinking about how can I accept what I cannot change. Typically, this situation calls for drastic change. It means stop looking to your spouse to change and begin to focus on finding the joys in life that make you happy – meaning make some new friends, take up a new hobby, exercise, etc. I know you are looking for comfort from him right now and not getting it. While there are lots of explanations for his behavior, the issue comes down to what can begin to do to reset the negativity in the marriage and build up some positivity as I imagine it can’t be good for him either. I would also suggest to keep talking to you counselor about things not changing and if it continues, you may want to discuss receiving a new referral from your counselor to someone else. Hang in there. Divorce is a worse option…

  23. tstein on May 9th, 2013 8:13 pm

    Hi Libby
    Sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds very lonely. Wives feel very rejected and anxious when their husband won’t talk to them. Husbands often think their wives want to talk too much and withdraw. The key here is not to push. You undoubtedly have been very patient and are longing for connection with him. He seems to have a lower threshold for intimacy and you have a higher threshold – in other words, his relationship battery gets charged with little contact and little time together while yours get charged through higher contact and higher time together. I would caution you against interpreting – “he seems happier in the company of men” – which the logical conclusion is “he is not happy with me.” While he may be different in the company of men, most men I know are very different around other men, as are most women. Spouses express frustration frequently that their spouse “treats strangers and friends better than me.” This of course, is true as couples often take their spouse for granted and “let their hair down” at home instead of remembering to be kind with each other and follow the stranger rule – “treat your spouse as kind as you would a stranger.” I will pray for you and your spouse. In the meantime, there a two books that may be a good start – Divorce Remedy and The Sex Starved Wife – both by Michele Weiner Davis. We are also now offering skype coaching/therapy if you are interested.
    In Prayers,
    Ted

  24. tstein on May 9th, 2013 8:21 pm

    Hi Mark
    Wives spend the early part of the marriage keeping tabs on the emotional intimacy in the relationship and when there more closeness is needed, they often complain to their husbands. Following months or years of complaining, these can turn to criticisms. In a strange way, she is communicating she cares about your health and well being. Wives can also take a lack of sexual intimacy very, very much to heart, believing their spouse finds them unattractive anymore. She wants to be turned on by you again, much like in the early years, but is struggling to communicate this kindly to you for some reason. I suggest you get in shape for you – and not for her. You wil reap the benefits of feeling better and feel better about yourself. Don’t look to her for praise or delight about the new you! Do it for you and your health. It will take away some of the sting of her criticisms, which of course, are not motivators. Think of it this way, she is saying she wants you to be her “manly man” again and feel safe and protected. For some reason, that is how she experiences feelings of safety and protection. Don’t tell her anymore you will do it or she is right – just do it! You can do it and improve your marriage at the same time. Start today!
    T

  25. tstein on May 9th, 2013 8:28 pm

    Hi Penny
    Sorry to hear your spouse is so withdrawn. Feel free to post a bit more to see if there might be something helpful.
    T

  26. chyanna on August 1st, 2013 10:31 pm

    My husband and I have been together for four years and we have two kids and early on in the relationship I’ve notice a lack if communication but it didnt bother me as much but when we had our kids that’s when the communication just pretty much stopped. We talk about money the kids and our problems but once he hears something he doesn’t like he calls it quits and just shuts down. He plays videogames and just gets lost in them which leaves me to take care of the kids laundry dinner cleaning and pretty much everything. So not only am I getting ignored but I’m stressed for all the resoniblity that I get absolute no help with so its just a constant aggravation with him. He could spend anywhere from 8 to 10 hours a day on the computer and then I’m tired at like 930pm to 1000pm and he’s napping or doing nothing (not to mention he doesnt get up till 1 to 2 pm so of course he’s not tired) but he stays on his laptop until 3 to 4 am. So any help would be nice just advice anything

  27. sonia on August 22nd, 2013 1:05 pm

    l am 32 years old.Been married for 2 yrs and 11 months to my husband no kids as if now but he has three children from two other relationships. He told me that things between him and his exes were completely done. l asked this before l accepted his proposal.Prior to being married to my husband l was in a very toxic relationship.When l met my husband he was every thing my ex was not…he was different caring,attentive,loving,always holding hands….the list goes on.Whenever he would travel he would leave me with his phone and l really felt good that he could trust me that way. l even never used to check his phone at all. However one trip he left it with me and l was idle somehow l ended up checking his phone records and there was a message from this woman saying she loves him….when l asked him he said a friend of his sometimes receives messages on that phone silly me l believed it.

    Sometime passed and l started to see changes, him hanging out with his friends a lot and coming back really late most of these friends are not good company and over time he has fallen out with them.My real suspicions started some time when he got back home at 5.30am and he got a call from his ex..with whom he has one kid she kept calling and he refused to answer so l asked him to answer when he did it was a brief 30 second convo and then she called back this time l asked to pick then she just became vulgur and said“she was tired of being f**d during the day she wanted to see him” she was on speaker phone to this he responded hurshly and then hang up….l got very sick feeling at the pit of my stomach something was definately wrong.

    To cut the long story short..there have been other women his his life whose communication l have intercepted on his computer and phone two of whom l confronted because they were people with in my circles and at both instances he stopped talking to me.The first time he was really cross asking why l did what l did and l was tired of him lying to me that these girls were just friends and that he just flirts with them…in any case..what kind of answer is that…did he have no sense of shame saying he just flirts? Any way after the most recent woman l confronted as usual he had denied but the communication said otherwise.My words to her were…simple.“Thank you for wrecking my marriage you have won!”

    She of course told my hubby who came back at midnight as usual and asked why l confronted her to which l responded..l am fighting for my marriage.Since that night, he has refused to eat anything l cook,he sleeps on the couch, And will not talk to me. l asked him to go to counseling he first said yes then said no.Today is day three of silence.Life is too short to always be fighting battles…is there hope in this relationship or should l move on?How can l get him to talk?

    worried,Sonia

  28. Alex on September 2nd, 2013 2:36 pm

    My fiancé is being mean. We have a 5 month old daughter and for the past month he’s just been distant and mean. When I try to talk to him he just gets mad and rolls his eyes, shakes his, head or acts annoyed. I’ve tried reaching out to him in many different ways all being calm and its the same reaction. I love him and I want this to work. Sometimes he says I’m sorry but I don’t think he really understands how much it hurts when he is so distant and mean and won’t talk to me about what’s wrong or what’s going on. The other day I asked him if he wanted to go on a walk with our daughter and he said ‘fine’ then when we’re walking he asked why am I walking so fast and I said I’m just walking normal. I wasn’t upset or anything and he said everything you do is normal and whatever I do is wrong or too slow or too fast. I don’t understand that? I asked him why he said that when all I did was answer his question. Whenever I tell him it hurts my feelings when he’s mean he doesn’t say anything. I don’t know what to do. When I try to talk to him he’s either mean or won’t talk to me.

  29. Amy on September 3rd, 2013 6:32 pm

    We have been married 45+ years and for me a wife it has been horrible, lonely and depressing. I married to young and all I had was a high school education. We had sex once it was very clumsy but it was sex, that was our wedding night and since then everything has went down hill. he hated sex and thought it was disgusting to the point of throwing up. Then he set terms he said he would never have sex again with me or anyone else ever again, he didn’t want me to talk or touch him, leave him a note if I wanted anything fixed. Then he moved to the basement and to leave him alone, he wanted space. Then he volunteered to work midnights and asked to work all holidays. His work was helpful with his request. In all this time I went to college just to get out of the house and graduated, but unable to find a job! A couple years ago I lost all my female parts and that left me with no desire of any kind. So I don’t really care anymore, I lived all these years what the heck is a few more.

  30. tstein on October 16th, 2013 4:29 pm

    Amy
    I hear your suffering. I am so sorry about all of the horrible losses you have experienced – from rejection, emotional and physical intimacy, to your body. I also admire your strength to persevere!! You kept your commitment at great cost to you but kept moving forward. You found the strength to move forward when you went to college and you can find it again! Continue to find “you” in all the loss and suffering. Continue to find “you” and continue to seek those small daily pleasures that bring you joy. Savor those and they will grow!! I am a Christian so I will also do what I can – pray for you.
    T

  31. tstein on October 16th, 2013 4:36 pm

    Alex
    Thanks for reaching out. Following the birth of a child, fathers begin to feel rejected as often the child now consumes most of the mothers time and attention. They often don’t know how to handle the rejection and it shows up as you describe. I am not certain how you start the discussion but a key is gentleness, for example “I have been missing our time together. Can we….?” or “I know you have been feeling left out….I miss us too…Maybe we can…”
    The walk is a good example of him expressing a mix of history of feeling rejected and wanting to be close to you. He was basically saying without being emotionally vulnerable “I want to be close to you and walk together.” Of course, men don’t talk like that so it came out as “You are walking too fast.” Many wives (and husbands) key into a spouses words and tone. I encourage then to look deeper into their spouses heart and what they are really trying to say!! Truth is, you both are missing each other. You both need each other. He needs your love and expressions of love most when he deserves them the least!!
    T

  32. Niecy on October 18th, 2013 3:42 am

    So i have been married for two years yay but my only problem with this man is he always get mad over the simpliest things and stays mad for the whole day. I don’t do anything and I think it’s because I’m always trying to please him a be a great wife I am 7 years younger but who cares about age I just don’t understand when I’m mad he try’s everything to make me smile and I do but when he’s mad he is like a freaking 3 year old throwing a fit…… Bt I love him and he’s not like that everyday but I think he dose it to get his way…

  33. Angelina on November 9th, 2013 4:00 am

    My husband has been ignoring me for a couple days now. But to make a very long story…sort of short…here we go. My brother in law, his brother, got arrested and we took all of our savings to get him out. Never mentioned about paying us back, come to find out, husband didn’t consult me and just told him he didn’t need to pay back, when I figured it out, I confronted him and told him the brother ABSOLUTELY had to pay back. It has been 1 year and 4 months and not a word. I went to my brother in law’s house, e-mailed him a copy of the check I used (from my personal account) to pay for his lawyer fees, and told him I just wanted him to have it, you know (so he would know it was time to start paying back).
    Then, I have Crohns’ Disease, and I was hospitalized for 30 days, and while in the hospital, I find out that my brother in law said I was “like a dog without a collar, that my husband shouldn’t let me run like a wild animal and control me”. I was absolutely miserable, on top of my long stay, sickness, depression and frankly, near death experience, I got really mad. My husband got mad, but not so much as to take a stand.
    And here is where the problem really starts…I wasn’t working, we don’t make much money, we got bills like everyone else…and my medicines are ridiculous and I have no insurance. When I asked him to talk to his brother to get some money for my medicines, he said NO, he said he would work more and we would figure it out. Thankfully, the insurance of the state paid for my medicines and that was not an issue.
    I have been trying so hard to get my husband to stop babying his brother…he has done this many times to my husband before I even met him, and also, when we were dating..asking for money and not paying back. He just got married 24 hours ago and didn’t even invite, call, or say anything…not that I care at this point..but to his own brother, he didn’t say anything…and he was part of our wedding party. Just blows me away that he didn’t say anything, didn’t offer support while I was at the hospital, didn’t offer any money (not that he has any..deadbeat!). Didn’t even call my husband on his birthday!
    Now… I have been trying to talk to my husband about this for 6 months, and he just sighs really loudly…I don’t think my husband has any coping skills, he wants to ignore trouble, so, it will go away.
    I was trying this week and told him that I would take his brother to court if necessary because I just won’t let him get away with out savings and he said “I am starting to hate you bc you are always causing trouble with everyone, and he is my brother!” And he left me by myself down at the laundry room, as if I were completely wrong. He is wrong and there is no question…I may be hard headed sometimes, but this is clear to anyone, anywhere..that it is just wrong. He is making me dislike him a bit too much for not standing up too his brother…and now I feel like our 2 year old marriage is on the line. I will take his brother to court bc I just refuse to let him walk all over me, especially bc I can, it was my check, with my name, so, nothing anyone can do about it I choose to go to court. His brother has never thanked us properly, has ignored us…never showed any gratitude and the day after I e-mailed him the check 3 months ago, he turned completely against us, as if what I had told him was completely absurd, that this money was not ours.
    My brother in law got arrested 16 hours after his daughter was born..if it weren’t for us, he wouldn’t see his daughter for years, he was going to be deported.
    Now…tell me, please…honestly, am I wrong? Is my husband denying his responsibilities to face the problem? I would love to know what I have done wrong to provoke such hatred from him. I would think that he would be on my side…but I am apparently dead wrong on this and I have tried but I cannot get this out of my heart or my mind and I will end up losing my marriage over this. Please, help me.
    Thank you and God bless.

  34. tstein on November 11th, 2013 1:20 am

    Angelina
    Thank you for sharing. I admire you for getting additional thoughts on a difficult situation at best. You are very, very hurt and feeling alone in this and I imagine, any discussion with your spouse just feels like it adds “insult to injury.” You describe your husband as having always been the “cushion” for his brother since before you were married and have been trying to change this only to be met every step of the way with resistance. As you attempt to get your husband to “see clearly”, it only appears to create more solidarity and loyalty to the brother in law, further enmeshing their relationship and making you the proverbial “bad guy.” I am unclear as to why your spouse feels a need to continue to be the rescuer for his brother’s problems – but it does seem enabling (I am guessing your spouse is the older brother & I would wonder about a history of alcoholism/abuse in his family of origin). He is very, very loyal to his brother at great cost – to your marriage. Clearly, there is a lot more meaning behind the issue of repayment. Right now, you view your brother in law as being in debt and repayment is due while your spouse seems to view it more as a “gift.” While I cannot comment on right vs wrong, what I can address is that what you are doing is not delivering the results you want! You want your husband to come to you and say, “Honey, I agree with you that my brother has taken advantage of my good nature, caused us great divide, and I have been enabling it for a long time. I don’t know what I was thinking and I couldn’t see how selfish he really is! Thanks for being such a great wife and helping me see clearly. We need to collect the money he owes us, I will tell him under no uncertain terms is he to disrespect you or us, and from now on, he will have to suffer the consequences of his actions!” Wouldn’t that be nice Angelia!!!

    Instead, when you approach him, he digs in for another fight and defends his position. You certainly can set your limits and draw boundaries, which is healthy. While there is no easy solution, it will require taking a new position from YOU and approaching him differently on the issue. Sometimes I suggest spouses do something completely nutty! Next time, approach him on this issue from his position. “I think I have been seeing things all wrong. I have really been missing the mark. You are very, very loyal to your and you clearly love him dearly, It must not be easy for you to watch him continually suffer and suffer over over and over again. You have such a generous heart and you think it is important to keep giving to him whenever he needs it. You really want your brother to know that you have his back. I admire that about you. That is such a rare trait today to have someone who has your back all the time and is so loyal, they would do anything – even giving the shirt of their back. I just wanted to know how much I admire that quality about you.”

    Then, say nothing. Let this settle in. It will rewire his brain. Stay with this position on this issue as long as you can. Don’t be sarcastic with it. This is called “Yield to WIN.” You are not giving in on your position, but rather understanding your spouses position as he sees it. Let this marinate for a while. In the meantime, you can do what you need to do regarding the money. Just maintain this position with your spouse. It should begin to soften his heart towards you. As long as he is fighting and angry with you, there will never been any conflict with his brother. It will help the healing and maybe, just maybe, begin to cut the umbilical cord between your spouse and his brother in law. If you need additional help, we do offer phone/video coaching sessions. If not, get with a marriage therapist who values marriage and is trained in solution focused therapy.

  35. tstein on November 11th, 2013 3:49 am

    Niecy
    Thanks for posting. I am uncertain what you mean by the “simplest things?” You might be right as to the why he is “throwing a fit.” Often, I need more information to reply but I am going to make some assumptions. One of them is when he gets mad, he initially reacts really strong and then probably withdraws. And, my assumption is when he withdraws, is when you might try to talk to him. We know from research that when someone gets that upset, it takes about 20 minutes to calm back down. So, I would suggest next time he gets mad, give yourself permission to not talk anymore and take a break. Wait 20 to 30 minutes and don’t approach him. In fact, feel free to wait longer until he approaches you. If you note that he seems irritable frequently, it could be a sign of a bigger issue – male depression.
    T

  36. tstein on November 11th, 2013 4:06 am

    Sonia
    I am sorry for your suffering. When spouses are confronted about an affair, anything other than the truth is an attempt to shift the blame and focus away from the issue at hand. They often blame and get angry at the partner for snooping. When you ask about hope, right now it seems as if you are the one committed to making the marriage work while your spouse remains contemplative. Counseling can help you. Marriage therapy cannot be helpful when one spouse continues to have an affair, meaning it can’t make the marriage better. While some therapists will do marriage therapy while one spouse is having an affair, I am not one of them. It is just too difficult and the spouse having the affair uses any problems in the marriage as an excuse rather than making a good faith effort at making the marriage better. It can help partners decide whether or not to terminate the marriage. I suggest finding a good counselor for yourself to help you through this most difficult time. I have worked with the non-adulterous spouse while the other spouse is having an affair to make the marriage better and work to draw their spouse back from the dark side. It takes a lot of support, patience, faith, and forgiveness.
    T

  37. tstein on November 11th, 2013 4:26 am

    Hi Chyanna
    Most problems at the point you are married does lie in communication. Often, the problems lie in one of the following areas: (1) the initial approach and bid for connection (2) using criticisms, withdrawing, contempt, or defensiveness (3) lack of expressed appreciations or (4) tackling too many problems at once. My guess is when you say he “hears something he does not like he shuts down” is a criticism as that is consistent with what I see in my office. Then he retreats and there is most likely no repair for the initial issue and you still need help. Next time this happens, wait about 20 minutes, then re-approach and GENTLY say, “I am really missing you and need some help. I need for you to…” and tell him specifically what tasks you would like him to do. After he does it, be certain to let him know how much you appreciate his help. I joke that husbands respond well do tactics similar to obedience training for dogs: stay short and sweet with commands and reward/praise when they do something right. Works 90% of the time!! Avoid nagging and complaining (although justified) as much as you can. You will motivate him more in this manner than criticizing him for never helping!
    T

  38. Katie on November 15th, 2013 6:19 pm

    My husband and I are 25. Married at 23. We were perfect until I grew up.. Handled bills, groceries, cooking, cleaning, working 40 hours per week. He liked to drink his problems away and I wanted to talk. Wasn’t happening. Here we are 2 years later and it’s worse. He refuses to talk to me about anything of importance and has been unfaithful a few times promising it would never happen again and he would change. Again, empty promises. I am in a masters program for social work as well as working at a residential treatment center. Even I can’t help our situation. Lost and confused..

  39. tstein on November 16th, 2013 4:42 am

    Hi Katie
    I am sorry to hear about your situation, especially only two years into the marriage. Interesting description about “growing up” as we know from research that a males frontal lobe (executive system = sober second thought system) does not fully develop until 25 to 27 years of age and females sooner. I have a hunch that things weren’t always so perfect but you were in stage one of marriage which is “passion prevails” when a couple is passionate and the feel good chemicals are on override in the brain. This then leads to the inevitable crash and stage two which is “what was I thinking?!”. You are clearly questioning his commitment to the marriage and describe him as still living the single life in many ways. I strongly would encourage you to seek couples counseling as these are major problems only a short time into the marriage. You clearly are strong, committed and know what you want and expect in your marriage. Keep those expectations! If he refuses to go, seek a competent marriage therapist on your own and they can help you come up with a plan to get him to join you. Be certain to check out our article on choosing a therapist. T

  40. selina on December 27th, 2013 6:47 am

    my husband and i have been together for 10 years and married for 4. He was previously married and still takes care of his ex wife,they have no kids together but share custody of their 2 dogs. What i dont understand is that everytime the ex calls he wont divulge the contents of the call. Whenever he sends groceries to her he sometimes take our kids with him and she acts all lovey dovey with him kissing him infront of my kids knowing fully well that they will tell me. When i confront my husband he said she caught him off guard and she was doing it to get to me. That she did! What’s worse is my husband being angry with me for not trusting him and making our kids to spy on him. I mean its like i cant catch a break. I have since stopped him from taking my kids to his ex’s place. He holds that against me everytime we fight. I really need help with this because it is ruining my marriage. I just dont get it. Why is he so defensive over this matter? Pls help me understand,

  41. tstein on December 30th, 2013 2:38 am

    Hi Selina
    I understand your frustration. It feels to you as if he is keeping secrets from you and makes you wonder why would he want to protect this area of his life from you! You are not feeling very reassured by him through this and of course, are trying to be the “bigger person” but this is like a thorn in your side. There are two reasons I can think of for his behavior. 1) He feels like you don’t trust him and when you ask him questions, he feels interrogated and withdraws OR 2) there may still be a connection between the two of them and he is having a hard time setting limits on the relationship. From what you write, it sounds like number 1 is more likely. He wants to know that you trust him and that he loves you and he would never do anything to jeopardize the relationship. Sometime when women ask men questions showing interest, the men take it as an interrogation. Changing the frame of the picture on how YOU approach this is important. His upset about not letting him take the kids suggest he has nothing to hide in his mind. Giving him context of your questions first is important. “Honey, I love you and trust you more than anything. When I am asking you questions about what you and (ex) talk about, I want you to know it is me only wanting to know about what is going on in your life as your friend, as if I am asking about what you and Larry talk about. I know you may not want to share, but I can tell you when you do share the details of the conversations, it makes me feel more safe and secure in our marriage. I hope you will consider sharing more of the details when I ask because when I feel safe and secure in our relationship, it makes all the difference for you and for me. I trust you.” Something like that…of course, some men get lost after the first five words! If that is your spouse, then a better way may be to communicate that you trust him no matter what is through what you do and don’t say. For example, instead of asking questions about the relationship between them, focus on him and how he always does the right thing, and what you appreciate about it..for example “Honey, I know I have been peppering you a lot with questions all the time and I know that you must feel like I am interrogating you and don’t trust you. But I have to tell you, I actually really admire you. I admire that you keep your word with her, take her groceries and help her. I admire that because that tells me the kind of heart you have and those are the things I love about you! You are a good man!” This will catch him off guard and is the proverbial, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Be sure to keep that up each time he visits or talks with her and you might find he just might open up more without you having to ask.
    In prayers.
    T

  42. Sarah on January 8th, 2014 6:11 pm

    My husband and I are both 27. He is works in IT full-time, and I’m a SAHM (although I’m in the process of applying for a telecommuting job). We met (and shortly after, married) when we were in the military, 8 years ago. We made a “mistake” by not really getting to KNOW each other, but in the grand scheme of things, at this point, that’s basically irrelevant. We have 2 sons (5 and 7) and we have done a good job with raising them. I don’t doubt that he Ioves me, and despite everything, I truly love him. In the first half of our marriage, he was very hot and cold. There were a few suicide threats, to which I handled with concern and love, and lots of rage took out on apartment walls (never in front of our children). He was buckling under pressure for the issues we were facing in our marriage (porn, video games, household responsibilities, etc.). He came from childhood abuse (alcoholic stepfather and father, with an enabling and “helpless” mother). My parents fought like everyone else, but I’m happy with my childhood. I should state that I am firmly against divorce. He isn’t physically abusive and never has been. But emotionally… Let’s just say that I have adapted with a new layer of thick skin. Although our children are clearly affected, regardless, he doesn’t act horribly when they’re present and he’s never been abusive to them. I am an optimist, but also, a realist. This last half of our marriage has been tough… He got an iPad and iPhone for his last job (2 years ago) and he has gotten lost in the gaming community. He has clans, guilds, chat apps, tons of different email addresses, headsets, bosses on a timer, the full nine yards. A few years ago, it was Xbox and WoW. He rarely has anything to do with me, unless he’s interested at bedtime, which for him is late. I calculated his “hours” spent on the game to be the equivalent of another full-time job. So no time for me, and no time for our sons. We eat dinner together every night and I demand that he stops what he’s doing to tuck in our boys for bed, but after work and “the game”. The only time he seems interested is when we go to bed, which I embrace and do my part. But that’s just not enough and my needs of genuine intimacy are not being met. I feel isolated at home with no means of a second vehicle, and abandoned by the person that I have put so much forgiveness, love, compassion, and faith into. I am very good at communicating, but he’s not reciprocal. We’ve tried counseling twice, but we can’t afford it and I believe that it was inadequate care, to be honest. I’ve explained, asked, rewarded, praised, and then some. He is inconsistent with his behavior and isolated. The couple of friends and family members that I’ve discussed this with, and that know him, say that they can’t believe that I’ve stayed as long as I have. I know I’m slightly delusional and must have a screw loose somewhere, but I won’t give up on my marriage. I think of Ruth from the bible and my faith gives me strength. Now, that’s all fine and dandy, but how do I/we improve without relying strictly on God touching his soul? I just don’t want to be miserable forever, there must be a turning point somewhere…

  43. tstein on January 17th, 2014 1:43 am

    Sarah
    My heart goes out to you during your suffering in silence. Our modern day technology has become an intimacy killer. It is also very, very addicting and stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, which is why many who spend countless hours gaming or on their IGear get lost in it. They can experience physiological changes in their brain! Individuals like your spouse who make changes (give up time in the games) become depressed and irritable because they go through withdrawals and no longer get the stimulation they once experienced in the fantasy worlds and quickly relapse. You describe a long history of his having difficulty soothing himself emotionally. He is substituting false relationships for real ones and will wake up one day and realize all he has lost. I think your situation may call for drastic action and a frank line in the sand. It is time to start making some changes. The first step is to do the unexpected. Be clear that it is no longer ok that he spend so much time on games and he needs to set some limits on it – that you did not sign up for this but understand the enjoyment he receives. Be clear with the amount of time that is acceptable to you. Don’t criticize though…state specifically want you want in positive terms, “I know how much you like gaming and I am glad you have a hobby and I want you to be able to play it. I also want to spend time with you. I miss you. I love you. I want you to know that for me, it is only ok that you spend X hours a day playing. After that, I expect us to spend time together and would like your help doing X, Y, Z. I know this will be a challenge for you to give up some time so I want you to know how much I appreciate you making the time for me. I know this will be a shock to your system so let’s plan on starting this not today, but tomorrow.” Additionally, let him know that during some of these times he is gaming, you are going to start enjoying life again and he will be responsible for the kids. Begin scheduling regular time away with your girlfriends or other fun activities. Just because he is lost in this world does not mean you have to be miserable. Join a Bible study, start working out, etc… I also recommend you getting with a good counselor..it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of – just be certain they are marriage friendly even through the most difficult times as these.
    In Prayers
    Ted

  44. Sarah on January 30th, 2014 8:40 pm

    My husband and I have 2 kids under the age of 5, whenever I try to communicate how I feel about something has a few different reactions none of which make me feel like he loves me or even cares about my feelings! One reaction I get is I get ignored and I can get ignored for week by try to discuss my feelings. Or he’ll just get in the car and leave I never know where or for how long. Or he’ll sit there and repeat the word “yep” before I even say anything. The other day was a new one he laughed in my face. His also forced see onto me in the middle of the night when I’m asleep, most nights if I wake up I don’t even fight it but some nights I do and that’s another reason for getting ignored. I think this has more started over the last year due to me falling out of love with him because of his behavior to me. I don’t in any way feel connected with him anymore. His never been the one in the wrong it always comes back to being my fault somehow so I’ve never received an apology just excuses and blame. His hidden money from me we received for tax cause he was currently ignoring me then a month later when he told me about it he lied to my face saying he just got it, i found out cause I seen a bank statement when i confronted him it was my fault because of trying to communicate and he thought I would spend it all! Another time when I went out with friends because I was sick of being ignored he took all our money out of the account and locked and I hadn’t realize until after I’d fueled up the car when I tried to call him I still got ignored I had to get a friend to come pay for it. Yet again it was my fault cause I went out and was going to spend it all! Yet again no apology and followed by further ignoring. Never getting an explanation never communicating. Lately it’s just getting worse he snaps at the kids more often and he made one of my son’s friends cry and doesn’t think he handled the situation badly at all when I found out it wasn’t even this poor kids fault! When I married him I thought he was a nice man but now all I see is a monster! Nobody else sees this they all thinks his a great person but that’s because his always got time for them and is more then happy to help them I just wish he’d be more willing towards me.

  45. Yolande on February 1st, 2014 10:18 pm

    Hi there, ive been married for almost 18 years now and out of all those years have only been happy 2 or them. My husband works away most of the time and when he is home we do not communicate, to me it feels as if he just wants this perfect marraige when he never ever has to deal with any problems at all. things bother me and i want to talk,,,when he doesnt want to talk i get angry,,,which is 98% of the time in our married life time. I seriously need and crave for his love and attention. Omg i just really need him to talk and help me to figure things out in our lives. We have 2 sons and Not even once has he backed me up with disciplining our sons. i have always had to be the bad one in the parent situations and he has been the one that is more of a friend than a father. This is so very frustrating to me…My eldest son and i do not get along as we are astranged from each other and we seriously cant take each other….yes i know its sounding bad,,,,,well let me tell you it feels much worse than what it sounds. I feel that if my husband backed me up with the disciplining of the kids then i would have been much closer to him and my eldest son. but i feel resentment towards both of them….i cry so much i feel so bad and need to talk so much with my husband that i have actually become bitter,,,,,and he seems to not give a damn. Please oh please i need so much help as i feel as though im going insane. Regards Yolande

  46. Maeve on February 15th, 2014 3:01 am

    My husband and I have been married nearly 6 years–we are both mid-30′s. I got pregnant within a couple weeks of us meeting. We now have 4 children. He has cheated on me in the past, and we even separated for a bit when our youngest was only 2-months old. It’s been “rocky,” but we do really love each other. Recently, we’ve actually been in sync, and are in a place financially where we have enough money that it doesn’t cause fights! However, I have now done something stupid, and it’s breaking my heart. I’ve been feeling unattractive lately–I’ve gone from a size 4 to an 8 (early peri-menopause), and honestly, I haven’t been taking care of myself as much as I should. I’ve always been really confident, but lately, I’ve been really down. Comments that were always seen as teasing before have been really hurting my feelings (we’ve always had a trash-talking thing–it’s something that we bond over and use in lieu “lovey dovey”). There have been medical issues on both sides (my stupidly early hormonal changes, and a back injury for him), so it’s put some stress on us. Anyway, the other night, I was feeling low, so I searched for some online validation (a “cheating” site). I never had any intention of taking it further than anonymous flirty chatting (and I didn’t). However, the next morning, he saw my search history (he wasn’t snooping – I just never thought to hide it). I told him I was just flirting and it didn’t mean anything, but now he hasn’t spoken to me in days (since the initial questioning). He thinks I was trying to have an actual affair. It’s stupid, and I know I was just looking for a “quick fix” for my self-esteem issues: what I need to do is work on myself (more exercise, sleep, and making time for me–less drinking and being lazy). But I’m scared. I honestly don’t know if I should try to wait him out or try and force him to talk to me (leading to a big argument). Can you help?

  47. tstein on February 15th, 2014 10:13 pm

    Maeve
    My heart goes out to you. The internet make it easy for many people to seek validation and attention outside of the marriage. To get right to the point, I think it is great you are thinking about the healthy ways to feel good about yourself and take back your life in an active way. He has heard you tell him that it was a mistake. Give him his space to process it and let him know your plan to do the healthy things and then start doing them. If you talk about it, just let him know that “I just wanted to again let you know how sorry I am. We will make it through this. I know you are suffering. I love you and am not going to talk about it anymore unless you want or need to. I hope you will come to forgive me for this.”

    And then let it go. You have done what you needed to do. He may need some comfort and reassurance and offer it when he needs it. Otherwise, you have done what you needed to do. Then, start doing those things that are healthy so he can see you mean what you say and so you can start feeling better about yourself. Don’t expect him to be delighted when you start doing the healthy things though as he may see it as threatening (IE, getting yourself ready to leave). At that time, it is simple – reminding him that “You are the only one for me. I know I made a mistake and you are scared now. I am committed to you and us. Again, I hope you will forgive me when you are ready.”
    In Prayers.
    T

  48. tstein on February 15th, 2014 10:22 pm

    Yolande
    You are not going insane! We know from research that when a husband is not making himself available to talk to the wife and listen, that it creates a lot of anxiety and distress for the wife! Your pleas and cries have fallen on deaf ears and you are feeling really alone and vulnerable. On the other hand, you have been married a long time and that is great! It makes sense to me that both of you want things to go well as he works away most of the time. Of course, when he returns, you miss him and want to talk to him about what has been happening and how you feel to reconnect with him. I suggest staying away from “problem talk” for a few weeks when he returns home. Just talk to him about all that has been going well for you. After a couple of weeks of this, then lead with at least four things that have gone well before bringing up only ONE problem. It must be brought up gently as well, “Can I talk to you about one and only one thing that has been bothering me? What I need from you when I do this is……(just listen and understand, advice and a solution, or comfort). He is most not likely receiving the bids for connection when you want to confide in him with all of the negative things that have been happening and is shutting down. So, time for something different. When you approach him gently and tell him specifically what you need from him as above, it will be helpful to him. Again, this is only after resetting the negativity for a few weeks. I am suggesting this because it is important for you to understand how he may be receiving you (putting yourself in his shoes).
    In Prayers
    T

  49. tstein on February 15th, 2014 10:27 pm

    Sarah
    The problems you describe are very, very disturbing. You are describing what I would consider power and control tactics/behaviors of a husband in a marriage, where the husband is not open to influence from his wife. These are very, very serious problems. I can only imagine your suffering right now. Regrettably, what you described requires more than I can post in a blog. I simply urge you to find a competent counselor in your area.
    In Prayers
    T

Got something to say?





Make an appointment Information Request Form