Emotional Abandonment: My Spouse is Emotionally Distant

Image credit: Freeimages.com
Image credit: Freeimages.com

Your spouse may be there in your home physically (at least sometimes) but how about emotionally? Do you feel like you are on your own without a marital partner emotionally? Do you feel like emotionally there is a barbed wire fence separating you, and your spouse from getting closer together?

That’s NOT why you married the person who you once thought was the “love of your life.” But now you find that your spouse is closed off emotionally to you and you feel emotionally abandoned because he/she is uncommunicative.

The following are a few insights and a few questions that might help you that Dr Gary Chapman brings out in his book, “Loving Solutions”:

There are many reasons why some spouses become uncommunicative. Their unwillingness to share verbally finds its root in what is going on inside of them. Often it is unmet needs in the marital relationship that have stimulated resentment in the spirit of the silent spouse. His silence is a way of expressing this resentment. It is his/her way of saying, “I don’t like you, so I will treat you as a non-person.”

I don’t mean that the silent partner is consciously thinking these thoughts; I mean these are the inner emotional reasons why he or she is not talking. If we can discover the emotions inside the person and the factors that give rise to these emotions, we are well on the way to helping the non-communicating spouse to break his/her silence.

The spouse who seeks to be a positive change agent would do well to ask this question: “Does my spouse have an unmet emotional need that may be causing him to resent me?” …Each of ourselves can ask ourselves the following:

  • Does my spouse genuinely feel my unconditional love or has my love been conditional —I will love you if…
  • Have I done anything to infringe upon my spouse’s freedom? Does he feel that I am trying to control his life?
  • Has my speech or behavior struck at her efforts to gain significance? Does she see me as condemning something that she values as being significant?
  • Does he see me as a barrier to the fulfillment of his need for recreation and relaxation?
  • Is my spouse struggling with the spiritual dimension of life? Does she see me as interfering with her search for peace with God?

Anyone of these questions may uncover the source of your spouse’s silence. The challenge then is to find a way to help him or her meet that emotional need at the same time maintain your own integrity and get your own needs met.

That’s quite the challenge —one that our “Wonderful Counselor” can help you to work through. To help you on further this mission we recommend that you read the following articles, for which we are supplying links to web sites where they are posted.

Please read them carefully and prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal truths to you concerning your marriage. Then glean the information you can use and apply it to your situation.

Below is a web site link to an article that centers on a husband who is emotionally distant, but in reality, if it is the wife who is distant, this same advice can be applied as well. Please don’t get stuck on the gender. Glean through and pray about the insights given.

To read, please click onto the ezinearticles.com link below:


This next article, while I don’t agree with some points made in it, brings to light several points that make reading it, worth it. Please prayerfully read it, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, and disregard that which doesn’t line up biblically and/or doesn’t apply.

From Examiner.com:


This next web site link will take you to some material which gives you the opportunity to learn a lot of things that may help you deal with this issue as well. It’s written by Richard P. Fitzgibbons. As you read and scroll down, you will find several articles to read through (including “Common Causes of Emotionally Distancing Behaviors, Major Causes of Emotionally Distant Behaviors, The Distant Husband, The Distant Wife, Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions” and then some other articles).

While you may or may not agree doctrinally with all that Fitsgibbons presents, please prayerfully read, asking the Lord to show you what He has for YOU to learn. Please click onto the Maritalhealing.com link below to read:


Lastly, from the ministry of Christianity Today a challenge given (in an article formerly posted on the Internet titled, “My Spouse is Emotionally Distant,”),  is to “keep trusting God’s power and goodness.” It’s a difficult thing to do when you feel abandoned in many ways by your spouse. But God has promised to “never leave nor forsake” us. Sometimes it’s a matter of F.A.I.T.H. to believe that. F.A.I.T.H. means: Forsaking All I Trust Him. Trust in His power and goodness —no matter what!

Keep in mind the following (which was written in that article):

“Remember who God is! The same God who healed the rift between us and Him can also bring you and your spouse closer together. Zephaniah reminded Judah that God wouldn’t let their sin keep them separated from Him (Zephaniah 3:15). And God wants you to see your sadness about your relationship with your spouse by the same light.

“Don’t be discouraged. God can bring victory over sin (Zephaniah 3:13), and He can use your marriage for good purposes because He loves you and knows what you’re going through. Keep trusting in God’s power and goodness so you can be the spouse God has called you to be —and let God take care of your mate.” (See also Proverbs 3:27-35; Ephesians 4:14-16.)

Prayerfully keep in mind and consider:

The LORD your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.(Zephaniah 3:17)

This article was compiled by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.


Filed under: Communication and Conflict

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216 responses to “Emotional Abandonment: My Spouse is Emotionally Distant

  1. (USA) My spouse has been emotionally distant for years. I think part of it is a power play but it’s also due to the way he was raised. His mother was domineering, hateful, resentful and his father was gone all the time-probably to escape. But his mother showed no love or affection to these kids when she grew up. Her temper would often get out of hand and she would throw things like skillets at the walls to make her point. She had 3 girls and the baby was the boy of course, my husband. The middle daughter had bad asthma back then and they didn’t have the medications they do now. His mother had to make the ultimate sacrifice and take the daughter and move to Arizona for a few years to save her life and from then on to this day she resents her daughter, hates her and has made her the scapegoat for everything that has gone wrong in her life.

    Like if she would lose or misplace it then she’d blame the daughter for it. When this daughter grew up and moved out this mother would lose things still and continue to blame the daughter for taking it, and still until this past year when she was put into assisted living. This daughter NEVER had a key to this womans house, but was always put to blame. She told one of the other daughters a couple of times she wished that daughter dead. Clearly this woman should have never had children. So my husband instead of breaking the pattern of verbal and emotional abuse as he gets older (now 56) he has become the male version of his mother. I can see more of her in him when he gets on a tyrade. And I tell him so.

    I tell him he’s lazy for taking the easy way out by emulating her personality disorders and lack of respect for others, especially family. She gave me a hard time when we got married and I dished it back at her, with lack of support of course. And he admitted a couple of years ago when she turned on him before she finally got medicated he saw what she was like. Now he needs medication!! And counseling. He went w/me one time to my counselor but he refuses to see he has a problem, just like his mother. But he continues to be verbally abusive and emotionally distant.

    I have been disabled since May 2010 due to daily chronic migraines, depression, PTSD, panic attacks/disorder, SAD, OCD. Each time he lays into me I tell him I know what his sister felt like when his mother laid into her cause I’m experiencing the same effect. But I think some of this lack of emotional support goes back to how these men were raised by their parents. My spouse, his dad was never home because he wanted to escape the witch he married, and the witch took it out on the kids. Fast forward bad patterns repeat unless someone takes the bold move to really grow up and take a stand to break the pattern of abuse.

    1. Maybe in turn he was also hurt by his mom. If she was this way towards the daughter I’m sure she was that way with the other ones too. He’s following the pattern. Maybe with counseling he could turn his life around.

    2. I’m so sorry that you’re living with such symptoms. I’ve recently been experiencing a lot more severe symptoms because of my husband. For a long time now I’ve denied it but it has caused me to be a completely different person. I’m suffering from PTSD, Depression, panic attacks, anxiety, migraine headaches, depersonalization and a lot of body aches and pains that I associate with severe stress.

      I truly believe that people like you and me need to uplift and encourage each other. I’ve been at my witts end so many times because it just gets so bad and I have no one on my side anymore. The constant picking at me and telling me of how I came from such a horrible upbringing, how I will never amount to anything, that I am disgusting.

      Everyday is a new day, everyday I need to put a smile on my face and tell my children they are amazing and that I love them. Hang in there.

  2. (UNITED STATES) My husband and I were married in our later years. We knew each other after high school and dated. He broke my heart one summer and I never heard from him again. When he called me up after 35 years, he said he wanted to come and see me. I was relunctant but agreed. We were married in a month. My family knew him and his family for many years, and my children seemed to approve. I had a good salary position with a large Hotel and he seemed to like everything about me.

    After leaving everyone and everything to live where he did (over 800) miles away, after 2 months everything stopped. He stopped having physical relations with me cold turkey, always saying it was not me, that it was his own issues, although he was fine and healthy, as the doctors assured us both. He has spiritually separated and is on a different plane there also. He comes home and sleeps every night on the couch before 6pm. I lost my job after 11 months and haven’t been unable to find another one. I know I am older at 53 but I have always had high paying management positions where ever I lived. I am beginning to feel that he only wanted me for security issues and now his insecurities have surfaced. I do not want to divorce as my vows were to God, but my husband truly has broken every single vow he made. Before we married, he told my family and my grown children that if I wanted to work that was fine and if I didn’t, that was fine; he just wanted me happy.

    He also has shared with me that he is passive aggressive diagnosis. I have seen horrible anger and he says horrible things. I am at a loss. Your stories have made me wonder if I have made a very bad mistake.

    1. (USA) Carla, my advice is two-fold. I am not in your situation and so I do not want to offer answers that are too simplistic. But I think there are two things you can do for yourself, and for your husband, that will help: a. Find a good Christian counselor ASAP. b. Buy, read and pray through two of Stormie Omartian’s books, Power of a Praying Wife, and Praying through the Deeper Issues of Marriage. Also get A Lasting Promise by Scott Stanley & Dan Trathen and work through the exercises. And as for your job search, do not despair. Those of us in your age group have lots of good, valuable experience to offer. Get on LinkedIn and look around, network, and pray. Pour out your heart to God, and He will help you.

  3. (USA) It is amazing how many stories are out here that relate to one another. I have been married for 20 years now and have 3 children. My husband has been emotionally distant to me for about 1/2 of our marriage. He stopped caring, talking, and became distant from me. I blamed it on myself and tried everything to fix it. I read self-help books, went to counseling, made his favorite food, took care of the kids…just everything and anything to please him but nothing worked. I begged him to reconnect with me. I felt so emotionally abandoned. After 5 years of dealing with this, I just became so angry and depressed at both him and God. I started talking to a man online in a chat room. I knew it was wrong and it was how I was dealing with my deep depression but I didn’t care. I talked to this guy online and on the phone for a year before I brought it to my husband. I stopped communication with this person because of how guilty I felt. My husband acted like he didn’t even care when I told him what I had done. I again tried to desperately fix things with no success. My husband stopped believing in God (we had both had a strong faith and built our lives on that) and started drinking. Instead of dealing with issues, he become not just emotionally distant but emotionally abusive toward me. He called me horrible names and even said he thought of ways to get rid of me. I asked him to leave b/c I just couldnt take any more of the abuse. He moved out on New Years Eve and immediately told me he would be filing for a divorce.

    I have been going through so many emotional ups and downs. I am saddened, hurt, and feeling abandoned. I have been trying to rationalize his behavior to no avail. There is nothing rational about it. He turned from God, from me, and turned to drinking to deal with his issues. He had a rough childhood and I believe a lot of what he is dealing with stems from that issue that he never dealt with. His father is bipolar (diagnosed) and his mother has mental problems but never diagnosed. When I look at who he is, it saddens me b/c he is not the man that I married. I don’t know who he is anymore and cannot believe that he is behaving this way. He is controlling and trying to control our kids even more than he did when he was living at home. He treats his teenage daughters badly and is emotionally abusive to them too. Our ten-year old son is treated much better than our daughters and they see this. I know I need to focus on getting myself back to being healthy. I didn’t realize how emotionally damaged I was until I asked him to leave. I have been severely depressed and have been under the counsel of my Pastor, family, and friends. I know that God is here even though I don’t always feel like he is. When I feel alone, I pray, cry to God, and build strength by reading the Bible. I feel like nobody knows what I am going through. I know people try and give advice but they just don’t understand.

    Telling a depressed person to stop being depressed is like telling a dog to stop being a dog. Telling me to move on and get on with my life is easier said than done. It’s difficult to have your whole life ripped away from you and on top of that having to worry about kids, your husbands mental state, finances, how you are going to survive on your own, loneliness, abandonment, court-battles, going back to school to be able to support yourself, medical benefits, despair, and the list goes on. I pray for every one of you going through this. This is the most difficult thing I have ever encountered. It feels worse than dealing with a death b/c the person you loved your whole life chose to leave you. He is choosing not to love me and not to work on the marriage. He is choosing to abandon me and walk away from our family. Actually he chose that years ago, but now the finality of it is what I have to deal with! I have to depend on God and I know he will keep me above the water when I feel like sinking. People need to talk about what they are going through. It helps to know you are not the only one and that people before have been through it and have found peace and joy in their lives. Keep telling your stories and helping others by being there for them and praying for them. God Bless.

  4. (USA) My husband refuses to hug or kiss me, or show me affection in any way since my mastectomy. He tells other family mebers that it does not matter to him, he loves me the same, but then why does he refuse to touch me and respond with tenseness and pull away if I touch him? When I had radiation, I could lotion up the front, but needed someone to lotion where the radiation came out the back. He would do it, but was clearly uncomfortable. He insisted the redness was totally gone long before it was (I checked with a mirror). He says he is a Christian, but has refused to go to church for the past 20 years, thinks all ministers are phonies, and rarely reads his Bible or prays, so I cannot get him to talk to my pastor. I did have him talk to the cancer center social worker, and he agreed with everything she said to her face, then said she was full of **** and just on the side of the patient (his language has gotten cruder over the years since he dropped out of church). He seemed so considerate throughout chemo, basicly until the bandages came off after the surgery. He insists on going to my appointments and at each one tries to convince the doctors I need antidepressants. My friends and aquaintences see me as a strong and mostly cheerful survivor. He sees me as weak because I still occassionally struggle with my body image in private and because I continue to contront him with his refusal to give me the affection the Bible says a man should give his wife. If the Old Testament law said a man should devote the first year of marriage to comforting his wife who has left her family for a husband, then surely God would expect a man to comfort his wife after disfiguring cancer surgery necessary to save her life, rather than reject her and criticize her if she expresses her pain and asks for comfort. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I lost my job, am now in the middle of treating a recurrence, and feel trapped.

    1. (USA) Elzabeth, How sad and difficult it is for any wife to feel rejected by her husband. I can attest that when a person leaves off the ‘eating of the Word’ there is going to be a great decline in all aspects of the life that the Word brings to one’s life. Going to church is not the KEY but the attendance with a heart prepared and an open ear to the scripture is going to go a long way to bringing about the attitude that ‘sees’ the truth.

      To ‘receive the word with meekness’ is key. To seek the word with appetite as Matthew chapter five describes the kind of heart condition we need to actually become more and more able to understand the truth of scripture as the Lord works in the heart to bring about the transformation to Christlikeness. The heart of the unregenerate is not equipped with the ‘incorruptible seed which is the word of GOD,” which would bring this change about.

      To receive faith it needs to be ‘heard’ …and that require a person to see their NEED for it. The heart of the unsaved is ‘deceitful and desparately wicked’ the word is regarded as a ‘sword,’ which divides the thoughts and intentions …something someone who does not want to see the truth of their heart will reject.

      I don’t know the background of your husband’s church experiences …many churches are not interested in teaching some of the hard things of how Jesus addresses sin and our needs to lay down our sinful fleshly ways. Yet this has caused a lot of ‘cheer leading ‘ fleshly ways. I hope this will not deter you from continuing to feed yourself in the word as all scripture is God breathed and is able to address our different situations as we walk through the ‘valley of death’ that life in this world is in truth.

      Your situation has brought such a difficult thing for women in this culture where we are assaulted with so many images of the kind of women that ‘men find attractive’ …airbrushed or not. This effects women much the way that porn does… not even seeing porn. We feel their are so many ‘perfect’ women out there and men are also duped into this con. It’s great to have a body, which we feel comfortable and attractive in but we need to be loved for our SELVES. It may be of help to learn that many ‘perfect’ woman are also insecure and often have less experience of being loved as the person they are.

      Men are also lacking the knowledge of dealing with their own feelings and often are condeming themselve for not being able to admit the way they feel. They may feel ‘caught’ between the way they really feel and the way they feel they OUGHT to feel.

      I think your husband sounds like a man who does not know how to deal with his own feelings. He seems angry with the cirrcumstances that he has been brought to deal with …it is actually a priviledge and a blessing for him to be given this challenge but apart from the word of GOD informing us of HOW this is so it is hard to view it this way.

      I feel for you in that I know the hurt from being rejected. In my case it was not my appearance except my husband chose to create a lengthy adultery with a woman who was a stranger and yet he risked everything of value in his life to create this second family with her …two children …just because she gave him sex …like a product! He doesn’t love her …yet his statement of love for me and sorrow for his adultery that went on 14 years of our 33 year marriage finally took its toll upon our sex life. I have had trouble feeling OK with him seeing me as I recall so many years where I began to wonder if he was gay since he could come and go seeing me in various degrees of undress and not have any apparent desire for me.

      I had to initiate but he was quite detached when making love and would leap out of the bed when it was ‘over.’ Now I cannot help to feel that I was being compared all those years to the OW who is 17 years my junior. She is NOT especially attractive and is flat chested. All those years I worried over being not ‘endowed’ enough were useless self torture as I tried to discover what it was that was ‘wrong’ with me since my husband wouldn’t speak to me of what I had that was pleasing to him about me. I think the problem was not about what I looked like or had to offer or even what the OW had …but it was my husband’s desire to be disconnected, independent and private and self apart from others. His lack of investment in any relationships to any real depth speaks loudly.

      I don’t think you need to regard your husband in the same boat. I think he simply may not feel how to behave. Perhaps he has not been able to deal with the changes you have had in your appearance but more he has not known how to touch you …I don’t know. I hope you can find some kind of counsel from those who have some experience with the surgery and it’s effects upon relationships for your hearts sake and the sake of your husband’s heart as well. May you learn the love of GOD as it applies to your ongoing life here and on into eternity despite this challenge to your intimacy. Much healing for you and your husband in the future going forward.

      Jhn 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

      In the longrun …keeping God’s WORDS in mind as it speaks upon all things …is LIFE and it is HIS Living SPIRIT… this you may do at home and your husband may read and retain it as well. It’s the spirit which makes alive as this verse tells us.

      Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

      And 2 Tim 3:16 tells us that ALL scripture is ‘god breathed’ …which is what the word ‘given by inspiration’ is theopneustos …it is EVERY WORD …that proceeds out of the mouth of GOD …ALL scripture… SO Bon Appetit! Eat the ‘daily bread’ that ‘came down from heaven’!

  5. (KENYA) It’s so consoling to know what I am going through others have been there and walked over it. I live in Kenya and was greatly affected by the 2007 post elections. After we lost all our property my husband left me for a twenty yr old girl. I have three teenage kids who often see their dad with this girl. They are bitter with him for they see him spend heavily on the girl while I struggle to make ends meet.

    I cried and cried but learned that life must go on. I am coming to terms with this life. While I know it’s not easy emotionally and financially, I know nothing is impossible to God. The Bible tells me “come to me you who that labour and I will give you rest.” If my husband deserted my children and I for fear of poverty, I will never leave my children …God will provide.

  6. (KENYA) Madeline if you were in Kenya I’d say you are reporting my marriage! Your life is so alike to mine. We were a happy family until 2008. My husband became distant to me, try as I could to talk to him he gave me military answers. If I initiated any talks he would shout at me. I would coil and move away. With time I kept off and never shared any talks and he looked comfortable that way but I was hurting badly. I realised he needed space, which I let him have. From then to date he comes in very late at night and leaves very early. He has kept distant from us and the kids. My kids are teenagers. I try hard to be there for them. It isn’t easy.

    The other day I met him with a girl the same age as my daughter and he tried to run away but I had already seen him. I now know why my husband of 20 yrs kept us away from his world.

  7. (SOUTH AFRICA) I have been married to my husband from Algeria since August 2012. He has now moved to South Africa. Once a week he refuses to speak to me and can’t give me a reason why he is doing it. He gets a lot of love and attention from me. He then also doesn’t want to eat or drink anything. It is very hard for me, when is so distant.

  8. We’ve been married 45+ years and my husband has been distant all these years. Since the day we were married our lives never came together. We only had sex once and he has lived his life in our basement but in recent years he has moved out in his new garage with his cars, work shop, tools and small apartment. We never really slept together for a full night. He made it his business to always work midnights, and that he worked the week ends.

    He has always been a quiet to himself person. He became more withdrawn after spending a couple years in Viet Nam. He has no friends, computer or phone; his life is work. We haven’t said really one word to each other. I have to leave him notes if something is broken in the house. I should have left this very uncaring, unloving, selfish, man years ago. My life would be better, I could have had kids and family. I guess according to my shrink I love all people for who they are and I hate to see lonely people.

    But on the other hand, he has made my life lonely as well as his. I wish I knew what made him tick. Now in my 60’s, I’m getting out more. I found a small church that I volunteer at and lots of people to make me happy. Also I have a part time job that I enjoy at the local grocery store. It’s not much but I’m not at home!!!

    1. Amy, Did your “shrink” ever mention the possibility that your husband may have suffered from (and is probably still stuck in) PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because of his involvement in Viet Nam? It might explain a lot of his amped up anti-social behavior and the inability to emotionally connect. When you mentioned Viet Nam, that’s the first thing that occurred to me. My husband was a Fire Department Chaplain for a number of years and we’ve seen the emotional damage PTSD can cause when a First Responder is involved in traumatic circumstances, which in turn causes all kinds of damage to the healthiness of their marriages and family life. Those that are stuck in PTSD just try to find a way to survive and anyone getting too close emotionally would be seen as a threat. It IS something that is treatable, but the person who is stuck in it needs to get help for it. Please read up on it on the Internet.

    2. I’m in same boat by a lot. We never married, though common law for 25 yrs. The first 15 yrs were great, plus I worked. Then became ill with sle had to quit my job, disabled and I felt it slowly disappearing. He treats his friends like gold but me like he hates me.

      When grandkids come he’s the favorite person he puts on a front but if I say something he crushes it then starts arguments. I’ll say why must u do this with them here? And he says it’s you. That’s hard for me. He talks to strangers real sweet and turns around and acts like I’m not here. He won’t give me money since I’m disabled. He’s into old cars, an addict, spends every extra min on those cars, ebay, ordering hundred of dollars on them, gets mad when I ask for a drink. He’s a selfish man. When he comes home he sits and blocks me out until he can play on his cars like a kid.

      He tells his friends that I get mad all the time. No I get upset due to being treated like a slave/maid to him.

  9. I have been married for five years now. I have two kids by him which are 4 and 2 1/2. He has custody of his 15 year old son. I got pregnant less than a month after we were married. I was excited yet scared and he was look oh well it’s your baby. I have been put down and talked down to in front of his family. He never once helped out with either one of the kids. He thinks that paying bills and working is enough for him and he’s not responsible for anything as far as rearing the children.

    I’m not working and I chose to stay home due to high daycare expenses. I have been told throughout the marriage that he wants a divorce because I couldn’t clean the house like he wanted it clean. I was told to get out. Eventually I left a total of 5 times but came back because either he made me feel guilty or because I wanted things to get better. It’s difficult talking to him because he’s so judgmental when it gets to me or he catches an attitude.

    I have forgiven him and everything… then he started talking to women online telling them how he feels about them and it hurts. He doesn’t give me any money for myself nor the kids…and what is 20 dollars to a woman who cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids, waits on him hand and foot and so forth?

    But now I’m to a point where I don’t even try or want this marriage to work. He doesn’t trust me nor believe anything I say. I could go on and on but now I’m just tired of being used and having to raise these kids on my own. I know I have my flaws and issues and I’ve been working on them but he’s just reverting backwards. So what are you to do when you’re just tired of trying?

  10. What about husbands who have emotionally dead wives? I have felt my wife be emotionally distant from me for the majority of our marriage. I should qualify that by saying she has been emotionally distant from me… but not from other men. No matter how often I would tell her it hurt me deeply to watch her flirt with, hug, touch or communicate her needs with other men when she wouldn’t do the same with me I would be accused of being jealous, or overly sensitive, or not masculine enough because I had feelings or emotions. I was shut out totally.

    She would share her hopes, dreams, fears, joys with any of my friends or her male co-workers… but not me. I have lived on an emotional island for soooooo long now that I am afraid to feel myself… I wish that I could be as emotionally dead as she is so the passion of all this would stop. What advice is there for us men who have emotionally distant or emotionally dead wives?

    1. Jason, I’ve been praying for you, looking on the Internet for you, and looking through the books we have and know about. There just isn’t much information out there for husbands whose wives are emotionally distant. Most everything you find out there is for wives who are dealing with emotionally distant husbands. There are many reasons for this, which I won’t go into here (because one way or another it doesn’t help you because that’s not the situation you’re dealing with). For whatever reason, there’s a disconnect going on between you and her. I don’t know if it’s just that she’s a flirtatious woman who enjoys the attention of men that aren’t hers to have, or some type of blockage from her background, and/or a blockage in your husband/wife relationship because of perceptions on her part –real or imagined, or something else.

      But upon searching, there’s a book I recommend you pick up because you might find it enlightening. It’s written by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. It’s the book, How We Love. Kay was cool in her approach towards her husband and he was the one left wondering why she wasn’t closer. I’m not thinking she was open with other men, but this book might even give you insights into this, as well. I’m thinking that this book might give you some insights that could help in some way.

      There’s another book –one that I haven’t read, but it comes highly recommended. It’s written by Dr Tim Clinton and is titled, Attachments: Why You Love, Feel, and Act the Way You Do. Again, it looks insightful. I hate to throw books at you as a solution (I realize that some people just don’t want to go that route; they’d prefer a 1,2,3 solution card given to them, where once they read it or have it given to them, they follow those “solutions” and BAM! Their problem is resolved. But I’m not thinking this problem is that easily solved. Sometimes we have to wade through the hard stuff, requiring work and added effort on our part, in order to get some type of answers and insights that can help us to know how to proceed. I have a feeling Jason, this is the case for this situation with your wife. Either this is about her, or about you, or or about her AND you, and a quick fix solution just won’t cut it.

      Perhaps these books will lead you to others or they’re a starting of insight into this. I don’t know. This may be a longer journey than you had hoped, but it may be what’s required. I’m hoping whatever you do, that you don’t go the “just leave her, cut your losses, and move on” route that you hear about over and over again in this present age. We’re in such a “quick-fix” and if that doesn’t work “throw away” society. When it takes extra work and perseverance, we often duck out for the “easier” route, which is usually harder in the long-run and more damaging (but we aren’t told that before-hand… I’m telling you now, though).

      Jason, this may not seem “fair” that your wife disconnects from you and yet YOU have to do so much of the searching and hard work to get insight and help into all of this, but life doesn’t always deal us “fairness” (in fact it rarely does). I hope you will keep persevering in trying to get answers and help for this. We’re told that “perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). You (and she) will lack if you don’t persevere. Please be a hero here and do what it takes to find insights into this. You made vows on your wedding day that include heroism when things are “worse”, rather than “better.” I’m thinking the books I’ve recommended you obtain, read and apply will be a great starting point, along with prayer, to obtain insight and wisdom. I hope you will. I pray for you Jason, and for your wife that the Light of Christ will break through –to connect you again and unite you as God would have you, as husband and wife.

    2. Jason, I’m so sorry that your unappreciative wife has no clue what she has in you but I do wish you would TEACH other men how to FEEL! (As soon as you offer “How to Feel 101,” I’ll be registering my husband in your class!)

      Please don’t allow her emotional abandonment and abuse convince you that “not feeling” is the answer. You have sooooo much to offer the world as a man with emotion, passion and conviction! Pour those gifts out to people who are open to learning how to love better… we all need to learn how to love better.

  11. I have been very ill since 2012. I have been married to the same man for going on 28 years. I wanted to leave him many times because of his non supportive ways. His priorities have always been the opposite of mine. We were both saved in 1986, and our then pastor told us our bed was defiled and we were living in sin so we had a rush wedding, which was pretty bad…

    It has been hard being married to someone who has no goals to better themselves in every way especially in his personal relationship with God. I have always felt alone in this marriage and I’ve always felt like I was being held back because of his lack of confidence, fear of change, and selfish pride. I’ve never felt supported by him completely in any type of way. And now that my health is suffering I feel like I’ve wasted all my healthy years waiting for the man I married to become the man God intended him to be.

    Am I wrong for feeling this way? I pray for our marriage to work. We attend marriage classes together, but as soon as we stop he reverts back to that same non supportive, selfish, prideful person. I’m really tired of feeling like I’m alone in this marriage, wanting to be closer to Christ and to live my life like Christ. I beleive my husband puts Christ in the backseat and only acknowledges Christ when he’s in need.

    Where I am right now, where I live, and even the church I attend doesn’t seem to be working and I believe it’s time for a change and even if at great risk… I think I’m done here and I just may go it alone with my 7 yr old daughter. If it means being able to be what Christ wants me to be and to attain the highest relationship with my Lord and Savior, even if it is just for my child’s salvation and future as a woman of God, I will finish this race even in fear and trembling without a spouse.

  12. Just over two years ago my husband lost his job just as we were in the middle of buying a house. I am a stay at home mom with four kids and we’ve been married for 15 years. After he lost his job, his dad called him and asked if he could go to New Jersey and help him temporarily while he was trying to open up another business. So for one month my husband left to help his dad leaving me and the kids at home. After that, he began going back and forth leaving for six to eight weeks at a time because he was working while helping his dad to support us.

    I tried to be understanding until that point but then it all went downhill. He was offered not one but two positions at different jobs both at 150,000 salary. He took one offer and I thought going back and forth to New Jersey was over. I was wrong. He had decided that he wanted to open a business in New Jersey and eventually move us over there. I was so hurt. How could he do this to our family? He went back and forth from California where we lived, to New Jersey for a year and a half until he finally moved us over there.

    Now during the time he was going back and forth there were many arguments because I didn’t understand why he thought it was okay to leave me with four kids for months at a time when it wasn’t necessary. He was hurt because to him I made it seem like he abandoned us when he says he was just trying to support us and do something better for our lives financially. We never really let go of our anger and hurt towards each other and now his is still there.

    We have lived in New Jersey for just under a year and his business is going well. Only problem is he works seven days a week for 16 hours a day and we don’t see each other or spend family time together. We’ve both now decided that New Jersey isn’t the place we want to raise our kids, but he is sending only the kids and I back home for now until he gets us out of the debt that he acquired to open the business, plus the debt we had before that.

    He says he loves me and I love him dearly too. But how can we possibly make it work when we will be 3000 miles apart again and he’s already distant towards me because of the hurt from before? I believe that the marriage vows should be upheld and do not want a divorce. I don’t know what to do to fix our relationship, especially because he’s so focused on money right now and not on us or our family. I don’t know how to close the gap on his distance from me.

  13. Yes, I married an un-emotional, un-affectionate, un-apologist, who sucked the life out of me for 33 years, dragged me all over the U.S. for his goals, and dreams, like Moses, who wandered the desert for 40 years, with no roots, no family nearby, and no close relationships that we formed. Only because of my extremely out-going personality, have I been able to recoup and keep the friends I made from the past.

    I’m in the process of healing from the trauma and abuse he caused me, and our sons, and feel that he used, abused, and then threw us out like we were trash. When you are married at ages 22, and 23 years old, you don’t know or are aware of what type of person is good for you. He was an extreme introvert, who had no friends around him, except me. Even when he was home -he was still gone, and I was alone. Vision is 20/20, but you can’t changed the past.

  14. My problem is a different one. I got married very young, and love my husband. We had three kids. I always had an issue with Him putting things before me,.I felt like I was invisible. I pleaded and talked, finially getting angry. We divorced, were hateful to each other, and my kids as well as us both suffered. He dated but nothing serious. I had a few really bad choices for dates, and the kicker I was involved with his good friend. It was a mistake.

    Cut to present. We raised our kids and were close somewhat. I always wanted to be his wife, still do. That’s how we consider each other and introduce each other. Its been 20 plus yrs. We were working towards a similar goal. He said I could come home anytime i want. I want to. We lived in different towns and he would stop by for sex, which bothered me. I felt a little tenderness goes a long way.

    So here we spent time together this summer. We had a couple of fights but got through. He won’t open up to me much and forget sex; I’m feeling alone and abandoned. I try to talk to him and he says thats how he is, blah, blah. I pushed the issue for a hug and some closeness the other night and he blew up and said he didn’t want to have a relationship. Months back he said he would try and be more affectionate, not…

    I love this man; he says he loves me. I’m a good woman and I want to do everything to make his life good. I always feel like I’m a second class citizen. When we married at first we had no issues. I’m not sure what’s going on. I know things could be good with minimual effort. I want sex and him to want me. He says he’s attracted, but hardly notices me. I feel like I’m in emotional limbo. What should I do? Every thing I try seems to push him away. Should I just back off?

    1. Sherry, Do you know if he is into pornography or cybersex at all? This can GREATLY change their preference from the real to the unreal. It re-calibrates their preferences, just as drugs (of many kinds) hooks them and changes their lifestyles. If this is something that’s going on, please read through the Pornography and Cybersex topic of this web site… especially the quotes.

      1. No, I don’t believe he is into pornography. He came from a family very cold and the opposite. We’ve been divorced for 20 yrs but neither of us has found or wanted to be with anyone else. He had plans always of getting back together up until this past summer. All of a sudden he says he doesn’t want a relationship with me or anyone. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been trying so hard to make everything work. He seems to do the minimal, and he knows he is wrong. The last fight we had he said he was stupid and didn’t know what was wrong with him.

        I don’t understand at all… I love this man and know we could be happy. He takes wonderful care of us all but the talk of anything besides the weather stresses him out. He has a lot on his plate and I think he’s worth the effort. I just need to feel like I matter. I presently don’t I feel like I’ve defended our relationship to my family and our friends, only to be humiliated in other’s eyes. He says he loves me but treats me like a roommate.

        1. Sherry, It’s difficult to know what to say. I’m still suspicious about the porn, but it may be that he just can’t get past his detached upbringing and/or his judgment is so clouded by his own dysfunctional reasonings. It could even be a type of mental illness he’s got going on, or a case of narcissism, or a case of “I want to do what I want to do, and no one will influence me otherwise.” (We have a neighbor who is caught up in that mindset.) It’s hard for me to say. And I sure don’t want to judge, because I could be so very wrong in my judgement. But there is a book that comes to mind that might give you SOME insights. It’s written by counselors, Milan and Kay Yerkovich and is titled How We Love, which you can find at the link provided. It may seem like just another love and marriage book, but as you get into it, you will see how it explains how our “early life experiences create an ‘intimacy imprint –an underlying blueprint that shapes behaviors” and such. It’s sure worth reading –it will even give you insights into your own “intimacy blueprint.”

          But whatever it is that is happening with your husband, it’s clear that unless he wakes up and has the “heart to” do what he should, he will probably always treat you like a roommate. I don’t believe you can expect any different, unless he changes. I’ve seen people change –drastically change, so I know it’s possible, but right now he doesn’t seem to be able to get past his own nose as far as knowing how to love you –putting love into action. Please be careful of what you expect from him. His reasoning seems to be broken, at least for this time, and all that will happen is you will be disappointed over and over again if you expect more from him than he can and will give.

          On all of this, I think you need to take your expectations to the Lord and ask Him to guide you as to what you should release (for now, or forever), as far as what you can expect from your husband. If your husband says he “doesn’t want a relationship” with you, then I believe you need to dial down any expectations that he will try to meet your needs. What you do after that, I’m not sure. That’s definitely a prayer matter.

          But as far as your family and friends, it’s obvious that you’re feeling convicted on what you’ve said to them. I would take that to heart. Even if your husband has been acting jerky, you still need to be careful not to say things that could complicate any type of reconciliation option you might have for the future. Plus, it’s a good thing to say less, rather than more. It might tickle the ears of those who hear, but it’s just not good to say more than you should. I’m reminded of the scripture that says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). When I’ve heeded that warning, I’ve never been sorry. But I sure have been sorry when I’ve said more negative things than I should have. I hope you’ll be careful in this in the future. We’ve all been there, but it sure isn’t a good place to be.

          I wish I had better advice for you Sherry. Some matters just aren’t easily “fixed” because they’re so complicated. It seems that this is one of those cases. If you see something good in him –that “he’s worth the effort,” he probably is. But what you do with that, is more complicated given the fact that he doesn’t want to (or can’t for some reason within) make the effort to do what he should. Pray and decide from there if you SHOULD try “so hard to make everything work” or if you should lay your expectations elsewhere or rearrange them. I wrote a blog a while back that has some info in it that may help in some way. I hope so. You can find it at: http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/spouse-left-please-help/

          I pray wisdom for you Sherry, and pray that God ministers to your heart and infuses hope within that you will eventually experience better days –ones that will bring a smile to your heart.

          1. He said to me that he didn’t want a relationship with anyone. I think he likes being on his own. He hasn’t had that since our kids were born. I never thought he wouldn’t want to be with me ever. The next day he said nothing had changed; he was still there for me just like always. I’ve been a mess.

            I think I’ll turn to prayer and calm down. I can’t force him to want a life with me. I just always hoped that’s how it would be. My family was loving and warm and sometimes very strict. His family were workaholics and very cold, nice but not touchy feely. It’s so frustrating. I’ve worked long and hard on repairing the things I did wrong and now it’s like it’s all been for nothiing or forgotten.

          2. TO: the ladies who wrote the stories of your life, thank you for that. And also for the ladies who gave advice, you have helped me, as well, and I thank you too. Have a great day and keep smiling.

  15. My wife is indifferent to me! She is on chat lines and is into one guy who is 42 married with 2 little kids! She says he is positive while I’m negative! I told her how would you even know? By texting? That’s when she admitted to me he had called her. He lives about 4 hours away and works a lot. I know where he works and what his phone number is so if he meets up with my wife his wife will find out and as much as I hate to see that he will pay the price! My wife will be 59 in 2 months so she is being deceitful to him and treating me like shit and I am getting real tired of this! I’ve been very good to her and she is treating me after 23 years like a throw away man! I am in great shape and work out 5 times a month and I accept Jesus as my savior so I pray to him to get me out of this nightmare!

  16. Hi! I am living in Asia. I was really eager to know what should I do as a Christian wife left (abandoned) by my husband. I want to share my story with others. I was only 23 years old when I we got married. I am a Christian but from a different sect. But I believe in God and I know who is He.

    I am very faithful to my husband as I know I should be. We had many difficulties and misunderstanding because of age gap. He was 45 at that time we got married and he is a Korean. I had a daughter by my ex-boyfriend which didn’t result into a good relationship. But he accepted me. We got married and had our business together. But there are casualties that we didn’t expect.

    He decided to go back to his country to find a job (as he said). I was very sad upon hearing that because I was pregnant with our baby. I am not aware that this was going to happen. I was tested. I was left alone with my daughter (as he treated as his) and our own baby in my womb. I was very angry with myself for letting him go. I can’t help myself but to hold the Bible and read verses and pray every night. As the years passed by -it’s now almost 4 yrs. my eldest is 8 yrs. old and my youngest is 2 1/2 years old.

    I am very happy that I joined a Christian group which I’m going on for 3 months. I just want to know what should I do to move on and find my life without him. As I walk with God, what should I do to have a good life with my kids. Thanks for the advice in advance.

    1. Hi, I just want to say you were right to let him go. However I’m 99% sure he will return to you. I’m not trying to raise false hopes here. As long as you’re in that frame of mind and you don’t contact him, he will want you back!!! He’ll see that you can be independent + you are not needy.

      I’m just a little worried why you think you should have responsibility for the age difference. He has had a lot more experience in life + knows more than you think about your age group. Tread carefully + spend a lot of time meeting up with him for just coffee + conversation + laying down YOUR ground rules when he contacts you, which I know he will. Good Luck. Maggie

  17. Hi all, I am in need of prayer at the moment. My husband of 28 yrs has moved out his home due to a nervous breakdown and has cut himself off emotionally from me and our children. It has been happening on and off for the past year and we have tried everything to help him. He is depressed but will not seek help. He is under the impression that supporting his family financially is enough. We are heartbroken and just do not know where to turn. My lovely family all love God and have prayed and prayed for him but things remain as dire as ever. So sad, Barbara

  18. My wife of 15 years recently told me that she was trying to figure out how she felt about me. I was devastated. We’ve been best friends and partners for 20 years. No marriage is perfect, but I love her, and even during this time, she has told me that she loves me. She is just emotionally distant. I blame two things, and I don’t know how to handle either. 1) I believe she is entering peri-menopause. She has a lot of the symptoms, and she is in the age range. 2) she has a high stress job. One female worker there is a friend of both of us. She has nobody in her life, has no kids, and nothing to do besides work…and hangs with the two of us. I believe that my wife has unwittingly allowed her friend to replace me for emotional support. I don’t believe she intended for this to happen, but with both of these things coming together at once, I’m left out in the cold.

    Everyone thinks their wife loves them deeply, but my wife is amazing. I’m such a lucky guy to know how much I mean to her. She used to tell me daily. I’ve prayed SO MUCH during the past month, and God is working in both our lives. He has told me to trust him. To “Be still and know I am God.” I believe him and his promises.

    But how do I make it through the valley? My best friend is absent. I have other strong friends helping me… talking to me, but it’s so hard to go through the motions without my partner, best friend and lover by my side. Every day is a struggle… some better than others. I’m encouraged by her one day, discouraged the next. She asked me for a week to sort out her feelings. That was a month ago. I don’t know what to do, and while I don’t feel helpless, I feel overwhelming sadness that we have to go through this.

    1. Brent, How do you know that she’s not involved with/being enticed by another man… or woman… somehow in a much deeper way than “just friends?” We recently found out about a couple whom we thought “had it all.” Turns out, the wife was committing adultery for months… even in the family home, all the while being oh so “loving” to her husband and children. Heart-wrenching! (BTW, her accomplice was a co-worker. She, too, was in a high-demand job, tho she seemed to thrive on it.)

      If it’s a hormonal imbalance, she can get good, natural hormone replacement products that will work miracles in that “crazy” time in a woman’s body/life. I will send my prayer to God on your behalf today that your loving heart does glorify Him.

  19. I’ve been married to my wife for 2 years (together 5). She suffers from depression, social anxiety, and is slightly intellectually challenged. I thought she was just shy and sweet, you wouldn’t necessarily know this by looking at her. She only shows me attention when I ask her to; she sits and watches TV all day and days absolutely nothing to me…literally. I have a very young daughter with a previous woman, and my wife doesn’t interact with her, except to fix her plate of food, or answering a question that my daughter may ask her.

    I’m an extremely lonely man. My wife has told me that I may have a platonic female friend to talk to since she doesn’t like talking. I know that if I did that, I could one day meet a woman that will make me leave my wife. I love my wife, and I think she loves me too. I too suffer from depression and anxiety. I don’t want to disgrace my father in heaven by cheating on my wife, but I’m completely emotionally abandoned. Please can anyone give me any kind of advice that I could use along with my constant prayers?

    I have so many times asked her to find a hobby so she would have something to talk about or maybe give her passion for life. She refuses to have a hobby, she says she “just wants to be me”. I’ve even taken her to the local bookstore to purchase books to read and build her intellect, or give her more insight in general. She actually finished one book, but retains very little of what she reads. She is a stay at home wife on disability. I work and it’s the only time I communicate as an adult. I am a very miserable man. ;-(

  20. I just recently married with my first boyfriend. We dated for 2 years before tying the knot. I’m aware that I’m the one having issues in our relationship. I have low self esteem and I tend to overthink. I don’t understand why I keep pushing him away. I feel not loved by him through my standards and I’m tired. When I think about it I shouldn’t be acting this way because I have a good, understanding, and loving husband whom I could openly talk and speak what’s running in my mind.

    I really don’t know what to do. I’m feeding my thoughts with good reasons why I said yes to him. I am a happy person but when it comes to my relationship with him I just don’t understand. Is it because I grew up without a father? I don’t want to make any excuses or to blame my dad for why I’m going through this. All I want is to be happy and enjoy the life that God given to me. I really don’t know what to do. I’m writing him a letter today to tell him to just give me space.

  21. I have been married for 13 years. We do have our ups and downs. Since the 6th January my husband left me and said he is going to work in another country; he does not phone as usual. I would like him to return back and stay with me.

  22. Sue Says, My story is a lot like what has been posted. My husband and I dated for 13 years, before he proposed (I picked out the ring even). During the dating period, he was very attentive and loved being with me,. Took me out to dinner,. plays. People said we where the perfect couple. My mom even made my wedding dress sewing all the lace and beads on by hand. My dad loaned us his 1925 Model T, the very one they used for their wedding.

    Everything seemed like a dream, until I moved into his home. For the 1st month after we married my bed from my apartment was in the middle of the basement downstairs which was all refinished, but he slept upstairs. All the promises and happiness that I thought would be with us, since we dated for so long disappeared quickly. I sought counseling and he agreed to come with me. Shortly after a few sessions his desire to go had diminished and he flat out refused to go and so I went by myself.

    This is year 13 of marriage and we don’t talk, we don’t go to church together. Holidays are spent apart. He resides in the lower level. I am upstairs. We never eat together, he grabs a plate of something and runs downstairs. He has a microwave in the room I redecorated for a guest bedroom, even bought the bed. It seems as if TV is more important than holding a conversation. He constantly is swearing at me telling me awful things, making me cry. I often ask myself why we are together? Is this what God wants? Maybe it is me?

    When my mom calls she inquires after my husband. When his family calls they don’t even ask how I am, just is____ there?” He has me thinking that I am a nothing and that I don’t mean anything to anyone. He smokes in the house, and he knows I have Asthma and often it gets hard to breathe. As far as religion, me and him used to go to church on a regular basis, every Sunday, but somehow he got away from God and the faith. When I go I feel so alone. I see couples I know holding hands -looking happy with their families.

    Since he never wanted children but said we could adopt, I agreed. That story changed as well after we got married. He never says he loves me. He is so emotionally distant. This past Christmas, he asked me what I wanted and I said I have everything I desire I don’t want material possessions, I just want you to sleep with me, nothing more than sleeping. I said I didn’t marry you for you to sleep away from me. He never honored or respected me enough to do even that.

    Every night I pray for our relationship to get better with age. I don’t see it. Last year he wanted to file the taxes separately. We have no joint account. It is my money /his money. He complains about how the house is kept, he complains about helping out with something I cannot handle on my own.

    In closing, I feel I have lost myself. I ask God to help me, then I feel badly for asking for help when people have it worse than I do. People say I used to be so fun to be around. Now I think I am living for him out of fear, and not for myself.

  23. Never communicates his feelings. Very unresponsive and never reacts to anything you say. Goes off to himself and always drinks heavy in a social setting. Bad influence on my children. Only child with parents that never reacted and cold.

  24. I recently got released from being incarcerated. I’ve been gone for two years. My wife feels distant because she had to be the man and the wife. Also taking care of two kids as one of them has disabilities. Since I’ve been out the wife has been distant so much that I feel I’m losing her. Is there someone that has been through this or can give me insight on the situation. Sincerely, James.

  25. Hello, My husband’s mother died in May and now his aunt died yesterday. His aunt was the last family member on his father’s side to die. He lost his father in 2008. Anyway, after my husband’s other relative died it seemed like he was ok, but I could tell he was still hurting. A couple weeks later he became very distant and angry toward me. He said that I was keeping him from his family (Two weeks after my mother-in-law’s death he wanted to go to Dallas for a family get together.

    I said that I was tired and wanted to stay home and spend time with him). It was not my intention to hurt him. I just wanted to be alone with him to help him heal. I guess I was wrong. He gave me the silent treatment for two days. We then started back talking until he wanted to go to the casino (addiction: functional and infidelity). We did not go. After this my husband became increasingly angry and distant. I have tried to talk to him, but nothing. I finally wrote him a letter of how I feel (lonely). He said that we would talk about it the next day, but then his aunt died. I just want to help and be close to him. I miss him so much. Please help me!!!!