Emotional Abandonment: When Your Spouse Shuts You Out

walled off couple emotional abandonment AdobeStock As it pertains to emotional abandonment, when your spouse shuts you out:

“It’s a complaint I hear regularly from people looking for help for their marriages:

  • ‘I feel distant from my spouse.’
  • ‘I try to get my husband to open up, but instead he just shuts down.’
  • ‘My wife just doesn’t seem interested in me anymore. I feel like we’re a million miles apart.’
  • ‘I don’t know if I love him anymore.’

“What we’re talking about here is emotional abandonment. Instead of physically leaving the relationship, your spouse simply checks out emotionally. They stop investing in the marriage, leaving their mate feeling detached and unwanted. To the outside world the situation can still look rosy, but in reality the relationship is dying a slow, quiet death.” (Dr Dave Currie with Glen Hoos)

Emotional abandonment might not even die quite so slowly and quietly, as the spouse who is shut out tries to grapple with what is happening. Sometimes there is a lot of screaming and finger-pointing within the home. This often complicates the situation even further. And yet, what can the abandoned spouse do to turn the relationship back around in the right direction?

Addressing this issue:

Honestly, it’s confusing —even to those who call themselves “experts” in marriage relationships because everyone’s situation is different. What’s especially tragic is that emotional abandonment is something that seems to be happening in epidemic proportions in marriages today, or maybe it’s just that we hear more about this in today’s world… it’s difficult to tell.

But whatever the case, this is something we need to address because of the devastation it is causing on so many levels to individuals within their marriages, families, churches, and society as a whole, as the family unit breaks down and goes in an unhealthy direction.

Insights that may help:

We have found several web site articles that we believe will help in some way. They are ones that give insight into what may be causing this type of emotional shut down. They also give insight on what you may be able to do to turn things around. Please read:



With this next article, written by Dr Dave Currie and Glenn Hoos, posted on The Power to Change web site. It not only gives you solutions to consider but also gives you the opportunity to request to talk to a Marriage Mentor over the issue.

Something you may want to consider:

• EMOTIONAL ABANDONMENT: When Your Spouse Shuts You Out

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.

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329 responses to “Emotional Abandonment: When Your Spouse Shuts You Out

  1. I have always struggled to build loving relationship with my spouse, but I feel like I’m the one person in her life that she doesn’t care about hurting with words.

  2. A guy I really like (liked?) was once kind of a sweet man to me but I never really understood what he thought or felt for me. It seemed like he would never finish any conversation or wait to listen to my thoughts, feelings, or feedback about what he had said, or that he was even interested to know what mattered to me. I felt like he would just give a lecture, and then walk away or just not listen or even ask if I understood or how what he had said affected me. I always wanted to please him, and it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, or if I learned something new, it was not good enough at the time. I feel like I am trying so hard, and never get any feedback or encouragement or results. I want to work with this guy to come to a meaningful resolution, but it seems like I am getting no where fast…Please help.

  3. I have been with a man for 5 years now. I thought I knew him so well. We worked together at the same company and I knew him for 2-3 years before we became involved. I would describe my interest in him borderline obsessed in the beginning but I did due diligence in learning about him and realizing he wasn’t perfect. Long and short, about 2 year ago, after we had great sex, he made an odd comment that I now know was a weird forecast of what was to become of our sexual relationship.

    He got up after we made love and said something like wow you really took all that I have to offer babe… that was awesome. The strange thing is, that was the last time we had sex of any sort. He became impotent and now things are so hurtful between us that I won’t even accept a kiss good bye. Its just like he literally chose to ditch me and doesn’t get the right to now just want to kiss me or get an occasional hug when he wants it. I moved into our guest room. We have discussed the growing distance in our relationship and he says he is still in love with me and loves me but just doesn’t feel sexual anymore.

    I don’t understand how anyone just chooses not to want to express some kind of love or intimacy with the person they say they love. I have contemplated having a sexual relationship with someone else. And I have told him that I think I should be able to explore my own sexuality as I still have an interest in having a sexual relationship with someone. Please give me some insight. I’m confused.

  4. I feel like have ruined my relationship by sleeping too much and arguments. What do I do? My partner either won’t touch me or when being physical it’s loveless. What do I when my partner talks to his x more than me?

  5. My husband said he wants me to leave especially when I try to talk to him. He said I’m nagging. I really want to talk.

    1. Mary, When he says that you’re nagging him, that’s probably just a way for him to tell you that he doesn’t want to talk. Try not react negatively to his words. He is possibly afraid to talk, for some reason. Something is making him nervous or apprehensive.

      You might try writing him a letter as a way to start a “conversation”. For me, when there is something significant on my mind, it is often better and easier for me to write down my thoughts. That allows me to slowly and carefully think them through. And if I mis-state something, I can make a correction and re-word it without my wife being involved, real-time. When we talk face-to-face, her thought process runs a lot faster than mine and if I say something incorrectly, she will react quickly to it before I can correct my words, which makes the conversation riskier for me. A letter might work for you…