Emotional Abandonment: When Your Spouse Shuts You Out

When it comes to emotional abandonment:

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

“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 —which often seems to complicate the situation even further. And yet, what can the abandoned spouse do to turn the relationship back around in the right direction?

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.

To give you some type of insight into what may be causing emotional shut downs and what a spouse can do to turn things around in a better direction, we have found several web site articles that we believe will help. Please click onto the links below to read:



With this next article, written by Dr Dave Currie and Glenn Hoos, posted on The Power to Change web site, not only gives you solutions to consider but also gives you the opportunity to request to talk to a Marriage Mentor over the issue, which 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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276 responses to “Emotional Abandonment: When Your Spouse Shuts You Out

  1. My husband is so quiet and he talks to himself but his mouth moves. I keep asking him to talk to me and he gets angry and tells me to stop asking this. We are on holiday now and celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and I am so lonely. He dwells on past stuff and gets really angry about people but it’s all going on in his head. He only talks about it when he has had a drink. He blames me for most things and never ever takes any blame for anything in life. I am really tired of this. Our sex life is not happening and this is down to me. I have lost all my libido now. I do not know where to turn.

    1. You can’t change him Anna. What you are struggling with is the personal desire to be happy and content. Find this outside of your circumstances and it can never be taken away from you. Sounds like your husband is dealing with a lot of stuff. I appeal to you on a spiritual level. Satan is clever and creates many problems in our lives that we try to fix in order to be happy and content but our focus shouldn’t be on fixing our problems but on God. Praising God can lead your soul beside still waters. I’ve nearly 10 years feeling alone and neglected in my marriage and struggling with ways in which to fix it until I realized that the answer isn’t about fixing my issues but on finding happiness and contentment in God alone.

      1. I like your comment. I’m living in a marriage where even a stranger would have more compassion towards me. My husband calls me all sorts of name, even refers to me as an embarrassment. I’m currently pregnant and having bad sickness so I’m not at my best but he still uses that to tell me how I look and who could love me. He would go to work and come back and doesn’t ask or even say anything to me for days and weeks. If I try to talk he says he’s busy or I choose to talk when he’s thinking about another topic.

        It’s one thing after the other. He’s very disrespectful to my mother. She fell off the bed and he stood there and didn’t even ask if she’s ok. I’m pregnant and had to help lift her. He doesn’t say where he’s going. I was so sick and wanted something from the pharmacy, which is like 2 blocks away and he refused until I couldn’t take the pain any more. I could go on forever cause it’s depressing. I’ve tried talking to get a counselor but he’s so stubborn, selfish and hard it’s like he’s Pharoh. We used to hug and kiss before marriage. That has gone through the window saying he doesn’t like those things. I’ve realized that I have to cry out in prayer because living like this is depressing. Can I live like that?

  2. Hello, my husband abandoned me and children from USA coz he found a younger Philippines woman.

  3. Married 40 years and wife has breast cancer. She talks to me with hate. Blames me for all that is wrong in her life. Money is and has been a problem in our life. I make good money but it’s never enough. Life is not good.

    1. Take her to the beach somewhere and get in the water. Dig for shells. Get her out if she lets herself.

  4. I have been married for 20 years July 8 2015. My husband has been pushing me away more and more emotionally. He’s mad every single day. Road rage, and home rage. We are both believers. He has a lot of pride and won’t let me get help at church or expose his business. He quit helping in Sunday school. It seems that he doesn’t want to go to church lately. We have no connection, he’s only nice during sex. After that he’s mad all over again.

    We have 4 children. I’m so so drained. I have been dealing with this for years. He doesn’t get along with others; he has a problem with just about every one we try to build a relationship with. He’s always fussing with people. I’m always supporting him with school, and everything he wants to do. He never supports me. I’m 1 class away from graduation for an Associates Degree. However I owe 1,400 and he hasn’t helped me at all pay down the balance. He took 800 to pay for a drone and it crashed and broke the first time he flew it. But he wouldn’t pay my balance.

    I’m so, so, so, so, so tired. It’s hard to just walk away. I feel so miserable. I want things to be better. I’m praying hard. I want to feel that my husband cares for me and is not using me.

  5. I am a recovering alcoholic (2 years sobriety). Lately my husband and daughter have been drinking beer together. I asked why I can’t come. They don’t want to drink in front of me but I assured them it doesn’t bother me. It seems since I am sober, no one wants to be around. This started in January and sometimes he doesn’t come home til late. I don’t suspect anything physical, it just seems he enjoys talking to my daughter more than me. I love them both dearly and this just seems so complicated.

    1. The two are mean. Find nice people to go EAT with…get away from their bad ways of drinking without you. Go get happy being without them.

  6. I’ve been with my husband for 3.5 years and married for 1. I’m sad to report that THIS all started before we even got married. He used to be so kind hearted and showed me love and respect as I did him. But now he has shut me out. We’re in the middle of building our new home (by ourselves). He works a full time desk job with his parents and I work a full time desk job, as well. He has a side job and is building the house. I have two part time jobs. We live our own lives at this point. We are completely 100% emotionally disconnected.

    He promised we would start a family on our 1 year anniversary. He said to my face, “I’m not doing it, because if we have a family right now we’re bound to get a divorce. I’m not bringing a child into this relationship how it is.” Granted, I see his point on how our current relationship is… but the whole divorce thing? This is all coming from a man who said divorce was never an option. He keeps pushing that promise out with more and more excuses.

    I’ve never felt so alone in a relationship and it pains me to know it’s my MARRIAGE that is going through this. Now, I know marriage isn’t a bunch of flowers and rainbows… don’t get me wrong. But it has been hell and I haven’t been happy. I honestly didn’t think we would make it to our 1 year wedding anniversary. He says he has nothing to change and shouldn’t have to change, that I need to love him for who he is.

    But this isn’t who he was in the beginning. No. He cared in the beginning. Now he doesn’t even try. Thinks sweeping it under the carpet will make it all better. And over and over people have said he is emotionally stupid. And he is. But he has shown love and TALKED to me before… he just admits, “everyone does things in the beginning of a relationship to make themselves look good… those things fade quickly. Ask anyone.” :| I feel trapped.

  7. The first date my wife kissed me, she felt confused and closed up while laying in a hammock till 4 am. I held her the rest of the night to show her it’s ok while she lay paralyzed emotionally. Then we married 5 yrs later. After 12 yrs of marriage and 3 kids later, she can’t conflict resolve, nor express herself.

    She still internalizes all her thoughts and at 37 the family is ripped apart since the mom, the mom’s mom ,and my three girls all live together now. My spouse taught my kids to escape your problems. I said for the 5th yr in a row I can’t save for my retirement, your retirement, and kid’s college on one income spending every paycheck. That next day she said she’s separating. On my daughter’s 8th birthday, I was petitioned for divorce… her loss.

  8. We never talk unless about money, kids, and how he can’t stand to be with my parents. I can’t stand it anymore, so lonely; I don’t remember the last time we slept together. I’m on the couch or he is… help.

  9. Two years ago my husband left for the US and ever since then we’ve been on a long distance relationship. We have a son and the process our petition is still ongoing. But ever since he left things hadn’t been the same. The distance made me see clearly who my husband really is. I’ve never felt so emotionally abandoned and mentally distressed. He rarely talks to us. I understand that his job demands a lot of time and he’s having a difficult time balancing his priorities both personal and professional.

    There were many many times that he put everything else first before me and our son. There were even times that we did not skype for more than a month or not communicate for weeks giving him the space that he needed. Then when I finally opened up to him about it, he brushed it off and completely ignored the situation like it wasn’t important and that made me so sad and upset. It went on for months. Every time I tell him how I feel he gaslights. He tells me I’m crazy for feeling that way and tries to twist things around telling me it’s my fault for feeling that way. I’ve cried so many times feeling bad for myself and my son and no comfort is given by him or anyone. My feelings aren’t important to him and he tries so hard to nehaye how I feel. It drives me crazy inside. It’s hard because I don’t have friends to talk to and I don’t want to talk to my family about our situation. He is emotionally abandoning me and I just don’t know what to do anymore.

  10. The problem is that these difficulties really should be identified BEFORE one commits themselves to a relationship. Instead people get hung up in the romance, fall for someone without ever really getting to know them. If you are not communicating openly as a couple within a couple of weeks of meeting one another any real relationship is doomed.

  11. Well, My husband works by himself and is a kind of lonely guy. When he comes home he talks to me endlessly about things I don’t care about. I listen for the most part but I’m in sales and the last thing I want to do is listen to a speech. Our kids are over 18 and have all moved out because he has given all his attention to foreign exchange students that are all very nice, smart and interesting. He says he is just more interested in them. He does errands for them and works harder for them than he has ever for his own family.

    He wanted me to go on vacation with one of the girls and himself, which is about 2 hours away and then drive her another 2 hours to her other family. He has never made an offer to drive our kids or me to the Mall of America. He does this when he can look like a bigshot to these incredibly smart girls. I’m so sick of this I want answers or I want him gone. When I told him no way did I want to go on vacation or take her in the winter time across the state, he said he gives up and he doesn’t care about anything any more. I think he is trying to make me feel bad about not being part of this fantasy that is hurting our family. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? Financially he does not contribute much and will not look for other work because he says no one will hire him because he has had his own bussiness and he is unhirable.

    Thanks for reading this. I just don’t know how much harder to work on this… or if I want to anymore.

  12. My husband hardly talks to me. When I got back home I yearn for him –all he would do. Eat together. Then spend some time with the baby and me till we put the baby asleep. Then after he is on his computer playing games, watching documentaries or films. And sometimes go out fishing with my cousins. We hardly spend time together until I get angry and stood talking to him. He will be after me, kiss me, and all that. Then next day same thing again. All I want is his love but sometimes I feel so shattered that I want to kill him for making me yearn for him. Pfff.

    1. Hi. I’m in the same boat with you. The only good thing is that I don’t have a kid with him. My son is off to college. I don’t want to kill him; it’s not worth it. But I will leave for sure.

  13. I’m so confused too…I tell him I love him and he doesn’t even say it back. I’ve tried so hard and I’m exhausted. I dont know what I ever did. Finances are a problem right now but I don’t get why he is pushing it on me.

  14. We’ve been married 47 years and my husband hasn’t talked, slept or associated with me in 45 years. This is his way of a successful marriage and causes no problems.

  15. Requesting prayer for James concerning my fiancé. She doesn’t prioritize my wants in trying to look out for the family, always taking her daughters side scheming, and disrespecting. I’m trying to stay but it’s hard; I’m praying but I need your prayers. God bless.

  16. I lost my job 3 years ago after a spinal surgery. My husband has ranted and raved about how much he hates his job. I feel bad that he’s stuck with a job he hates, however we are both in our late 50s and there is no alternative. He’s got a good paying job (thank God). But he tells me every day he’s going to quit. He’s even told me he’s going to quit just before going to bed (I can’t sleep when he does). I feel like a failure and a burden. I have no sense of security. I told him we need to go to counseling and that I feel shut down. He won’t talk to me and if I dare ask how his day was he rants (just makes it worse for both of us). I know there is no place for resentment. However, honestly that is all I feel toward him after enduring three years of this. He often shops around to find me a job. I’ve told him I am still in pain!

  17. My husband is cold short and mean. He works then comes home waits for his dinner. He doesn’t pay me or the kids much attention and everything he says sounds mean. He still wants to have sex and gets irritated when I say no because I don’t like the way he treats me. Then he starts saying “I work and pay the bills and buy stuff and you won’t even put out.” I have to pry to hear about his day and he never asks me how mine was. He doesn’t kiss me anymore, swears he’s not cheating. If I act like the way he does he calls me names.

    I don’t know what to do. My kids are 1 and 2. I have no daycare for them to work. I’d have to work overnights and move in with my grandparents until I could afford a home and vehicle. I feel so alone and am trying to be strong and OK for my kids. It’s getting more difficult every day.

  18. I didn’t need to see the term ’emotional numbness’ before I identified it as my feelings towards my husband. He is a great guy; I’m just done. I don’t want to be married anymore; I don’t want to ‘share’ my life anymore. We’re both Christians, but seldom seem to enhance the other. I don’t care to ‘make things right.’ I want out after 30 yrs of marriage.

    1. How much this must grieve the Lord. It’s a good thing He didn’t and never has had this attitude toward us. It’s a good thing he doesn’t say, “I’m done” … “I don’t want to ‘share’ my life and love anymore” … “30 years is enough –this is my time; ‘I don’t care to make things right.'” I’m sad for you and sad for your husband –this “great guy,” and sad for all of the people around you who are witnessing this “I give up and want this time in my life to be about ME, rather than we.”

      I pray God will lead them to others who will persevere, keep their vows and inspire them NOT to give up, rather than influence them to the point where they wonder whether they should go down this same road. Sadly, that happens in too many situations. And the unbelieving world points, shakes their heads, and laughs at what they call hypocrisy in those who call themselves “Christ followers” even though Jesus would never do this to us or them. This is sad, so very sad. I hope you change your mind.

  19. My husband just up and left. He has cut off contact with me, saying things were just too much. He has done this many times before and always comes back apologizing and promising never to do it again. Our therapist thinks he has a personality disorder / chemical imbalance. I want a loving marriage but it’s very difficult to be put through such emotional turmoil once a year. What do I do? This time I think he is gone forever. He did seek out the therapist but hasn’t communicated with me in 2 weeks and moved out.

  20. When you know who you are through God’s description anybody who puts me down looks like a child throwing a tantrum. Nobody can change the way I know God says I am… Amen. I always tell my husband I know for a fact he loves me because who wouldn’t and we both laughed. I never have an angry, hateful motive guiding anything I provide anybody, who wouldn’t love that. Lol I love you all.

  21. I feel if people would just resort to 100% maturity, especially if they have children and bless God, then we would end bullies altogether.