Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle SwitchThere was no hope in his eyes as he faced me. “She walked out on me,” he said. “She just called me at work one day and said, ‘I’ve had it. I’m leaving.'” He tried to control the tremor around his mouth. “I realize now that much of it was my fault. I guess she tried to tell me. …”

As I listened, I realized the truth of what he’d said. She had tried to tell him. When their son was born, she hadn’t wanted to go back to work immediately, but he pressured her, telling her that they needed her income. She nagged some and later grew severely depressed, but he didn’t think her depression had anything to do with him or with being away from their son.

Actually, that wife had pushed every button she had available to make him listen to her pain and anger. But he was oblivious to her inner cries. He worked two jobs so he wasn’t home much—but more importantly, even when he was home, he failed her emotionally.

Somewhere in time, she decided that the pain of divorce was more bearable than the hurt of being in the same house when they were emotionally at opposite ends of the earth. So she walked out. What she did wasn’t right, but I can understand it. It was probably a last desperate attempt to get her husband’s attention. She got it, all right, but it came too late.

I wonder how many broken relationships are due to a similar scenario. I wonder how many men are in the process this very moment of distancing their wives by failing to understand their needs —the need to be listened to, to have feelings and emotions validated by their husband’s concentrated attention and understanding.

It’s not that men don’t need emotional support and intimacy —they do, of course. I know some men who have as great a need for relating on an emotional, feeling, subjective level as any woman. They are often the counselors, those others turn to when in trouble, the pastor-shepherds. But as my wife Carole and I have listened to couples, we find that in the average marriage, it’s generally a matter of degree. And the women’s need usually seems greater. It is she who most often longs for soul-to-soul communication and who feels like she never quite has that desire met by her spouse.

This incident appeared in a recent article [in Readers Digest Magazine, “Why Husbands Won’t Talk”]:

Judy, an artist, was worried abut preparations for an exhibition, and started to tell Cliff, her husband. She wanted his support and sympathy.

Instead, Cliff fired off instructions: “One, get all the artists together. Two, call your accountant—the expenses may be deductible. Three, check with the bank to see how much money you have. Four, contact the P.R. people.”

Judy felt rejected, and thought to herself: “Cliff doesn’t care how I feel. He just wants to get me off his back.”

Cliff believed he was being supportive-he had given her his best advice. But Judy was seeking emotional rapport, not problem solving.

Carole and I can relate to that! I have had to work on intimacy in communication all of our married life. It probably has to do with me being that logical, factual, objective kind of guy. I have to admit that by nature, I am a concealer of my feelings. In fact, if one side of a scale represented the ability to express feelings and the other side represented the need to conceal those feelings, Carole and I would probably balance the scales pretty well.

According to most marriage counselors, concealment is more often a trait in men, and it stems from various factors such as background, cultural expectations, perceptions of manliness, and personality. This tendency to conceal has drastic implications. James Collier says that most men think it unmanly even to admit that they have a problem —much less request aid:

Men in America feel that they ought to be able to deal with anything that comes along, and it’s an admission of failure if they’re having trouble. Some men would rather fail at their marriage or with their children than admit that something is wrong and seek a solution.

… Says marriage specialist Goldstein: “Men aren’t supposed to have sensitive, warm feelings or feelings of tenderness for the people around them—much less express them.” It is like the story of the old Vermont farmer 40 years married, who said, “I love Sarah Jane so much that sometimes it’s all I can do to keep from telling her.”

Communication patters: Spell them d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t.

They’re different in the number of and reasons for questions. A revealer is often full of questions and sees them as a way to maintain a conversation, thinking “If I don’t ask the other person won’t know that I care.” Questions represent intimacy and caring. But not to a concealer! Now questions can represent meddling. The concealer may be thinking, “Oh, no, you don’t! You can’t pry that information out of me. If I want to tell you something, I’ll tell you —without all your questions.”

They’re different, too, in the nature of responses to communication. A revealer may use encouraging sounds such as “uh-huh” and “hmmm” to encourage the other person —and then feel ignored because the concealer utters so few of these acknowledging sounds. When I listen silently, Carole sometimes asks, “Honey, are you there?”

• They’re different in the use of what some call “oneness” words such as you and we. A revealer may use many more of such words, as well as conversational bridges such as “Please go on —would you give me another example? …”

Can you identify yourself? As I’ve said, I tend to be the concealer, and —being logical as well —I have to say that often, logical men have logical reasons for concealment! I read of a group of men who were asked their reasons for not talking. Several of them gave fairly logical reason, such as simply not being in a talkative mood, or being tired and not wanting to expend energy talking, even wanting to protect the wife when she was tired and agitated and her emotional tank was near “empty.”

But others in the group answered in ways that indicated their concealment should not be accepted at face value. Listen to these reasons some men gave:

(1) Silence helps me avoid differences of opinion. I grew up in a family that rarely expressed strong feelings. So talking is tough, especially when I know what I have to say isn’t what my wife wants to hear.

(2) Silence protects me. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to my wife about certain things because I’m afraid she will use them against me.

(3) Silence maintains a balance of attachment and freedom that feels comfortable in our relationship. Sometimes I need closeness, but other times I need distance. I’m most content with our marriage when there’s a natural ebb and flow in our interaction.

(4) Silence precludes heated explosions. If I don’t shoot off words, I’m less likely to catch crossfire or have to pick up debris when the battle ceases.

(5) When something is bothering me, I don’t talk because my wife tends to overreact and make matters worse. The last thing I want is someone bouncing off the walls in anger or else sniveling about it.

Did you notice a similarity in these five reasons for silence? It would appear that most of these reasons are based on self protection or comfort, not on the intimacy of the marriage or the needs of the wife.

Now of course there are times when silence is good. But to constantly conceal our feelings is bound to stifle the intimacy and closeness that our marriages demand (and most wives need) in order for us to become truly one.

One counselor puts it this way: Wives think, “The marriage is working as long as we can talk about it.” Husbands think, “The relationship is not working if we have to keep talking about it.”

So we’re different. So one of us doesn’t talk much about feelings, and the other shares freely. Can anything be done? Family counselor Norm Wright says,

A woman does not have to resign herself to living with an un-expressive male. Becoming fatalistic is not the answer, and I’m not talking about divorcing him either. Don’t listen if someone tells you “Don’t be so concerned about men not expressing their feelings. That’s just the way they are!” Men may tend to be that way, but they can change. Challenges or reproaches do not work. Carefully worded invitations can work.

Men do respond initially to questions which elicit factual responses. It’s easier for a man to tell his wife what he does at work than how he feels about it. He can tell her how he did at events or school when he was growing up easier than how he feels about what he did. But starting with the facts is an introduction to the feelings.

But the revealer must be cautioned: Mr. Wright also says that a man may finally open up to a woman only to find that what he reveals is discounted, shared with others, disbelieved, ridiculed, rejected, and even laughed at. Remember: safety, acceptance, and support are essential if a man is going to let down the bridge from his castle. He wants what he shares to be used for his welfare, not against him. Trust is a major issue.

This article comes from the great book, Opposites Attack, by Jack and Carole Mayhall, originally published by NavPress (no longer being published). This book is aimed at turning your differences into opportunities and helping polar opposites turn into the best of friends. As they often say, “different doesn’t mean wrong —it just means different in the way you approach life. This is such a practical book and really gives a lot of helpful insights into how to get along better with each other.


Filed under: Communication and Conflict

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115 responses to “Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?

  1. (USA)  Diane, If your husband so callously abandoned you at the curb when you were bleeding with a miscarriage, you must surely realize he isn’t going to care about anything else in your relationship either. He’s the one who needs to be dropped at the curb. His actions are telling you everything you need to know about him, so pay attention to those and don’t buy into his words. Words are cheap and don’t require any work or effort. Cut your losses, leave and go find someone worthy of you. Good Luck.

  2. (USA)  Seems the men are always to blame. my wife of 26 years said she wanted a separation after telling me she could not stand me, she is going through menopause, sleep apnea, just had her thyroid removed and now she is following her dream of going back to school, (not a problem) I asked my wife what is the problem and she said its because of things from years past that she suppressed. she told me she knew she was hard on me, yet cannot tell me why, she says our marriage is based on sex, yet puts her job and her career ahead of me, sex has become a joke she’s either tired from her job, her legs hurt or she needs to sleep.

    she has always had an attitude with me about everything, and after her surgery she stated I was mad because we did not have sex, after explaining that was not the case, she just had surgery and i was more concerned about her health she said she has to follow her dream and has not said a word to me since April.there is no infidelity between either one of us and she refuses to go to counseling saying she does not need it.I took a vow to remain faithful until death do us part but she is making it very hard. I can not even look at her without some comment coming from her. i pray for her each day. its not always the men.

  3. (ZAR)  Nice article, I’m one of the people who don’t like speaking to my spouse and I have my reasons for this. As it is I’m lonely in my marriage and I’m begining to recognise the other men around me.

    I have a husband who knows everything, if you tell him something he will try to correct you. For example If I tell him what happened at work today he changes everything around and it ends up in a big argument. I hate this so I have decided to keep quiet and speak only when spoken to.

    Next, I have once confided my biggest secret to him and guess what? Now everybody knows about it.

    The last reason is because he discusses me with his colLeagues at work, female coleagues none the less, and one of them even called me to ask what’s happening.

    I have reason to be quiet!!!

  4. (UNITED STATES)  I went to my parents house for two days was in a hurry to get home so I could spend the day with my husband. When I got there my husband kicked me out, told me he was tired of all the fighting and arguing, he wanted a divorce. I tried everything to stop him from letting me go. But nothing worked. I try to talk to him; he will not talk, or be around me. He is still wearing his ring, and won’t throw the marriage licence away, and when I went to rip up our pictures he got upset. I don’t know what to do. My heart is hurt so bad and I have no one else to lean on for support.

  5. (UNITED STATES)  Please read this whole thing as I am really seeking some resources, but I am really discouraged… The article is titled “Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?” but, as usual, it is all about the horrible male, cruel, unfeeling, uncaring male… and nothing about the distant female…

    Maybe women tend to seek out answers more often or in more places than men. Maybe the statistics are accurate as far as the ratio. Maybe my gender is guilty of the crime more often. Maybe God has another planet somewhere where the roles are exactly the opposite, but I was mistakenly sent here…

    But for the love of Pete is there an article or a forum for me – the husband who is experiencing the same stonewalling, same cut off, same no-matter-what-I-do-or-say-or-try-our-marriage-is-fine-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-get-deep problem???

    Pages and pages and pages of how we men are really incapable of love and communication, how ill equipped we are to understand or be supportive, all we want is sex, with as many partners as we can, etc,etc.

    All of these articles go into how different we are, men and women, how our needs and wants and styles of connection and communication are different, but when one of us is brave enough to write into one of these female dominant forums we are told to just apply the same technique to our wives as the wives are advised to do here – but this answer is coming from someone who just wrote a book or seies of books on how that doesn’t work because we are so different…

    I don’t mean to be so … well, blunt. I am just frustrated and, truth be told, scared. I love my wife, I respect her, want to spend the rest of my life with her. But I am the one paddling around the island. and I always end up feeling hopeless because I end up on the “bad man” channel.

    So, for the sake of the other 5 or 6 guys that are here with me on the wrong planet, can someone recommend an internet resource where the fact that women can and often do have this issue as well, and where there is some REAL information on what WE can do?

    1. (USA) Husband, You have our TOTAL sympathy. There are two main holes in our web site in which we can’t seem to find articles to fulfill the needs. One of them is where the wife is the one who commits adultery & the husband is the victim (we’re trying to help the husband who has been cheated on, in this matter) and the other is where the wife is the one who is the uncommunicative one (and the husband needs help in this situation). No matter how I approach these issues on the Internet, the advice is flipped around –ministering to the hurting wife, rather than the hurting and frustrated husband.

      I’m not sure why it is that there doesn’t seem to be articles out there on this (at least not ones I can find). I BELIEVE it may be (& I could be wrong on this) because more women are the communicative ones. I’m thinking it’s not as often that the man is the one in the marriage, where he’s more into communicating and opening up, than the wife.

      I BELIEVE it’s also, because men don’t SEEM to be ones who openly complain about it and write about it as often. Instead, they will either suffer more in silence, or in many cases, they will find another woman (where they work or in chat rooms) who WILL communicate and admire (and sympathize with) them more than their wife does. They become “buddies” and/or lovers with them, thus, they don’t write about it. Again, I may be wrong on this, but whatever it is, it appears that the men don’t openly write about it as often (to the extent where I can find them).

      Trust me when I say, we would GLADLY post an article written by a man on this issue –one that approaches it in a respectful, helpful manner. We know there is an audience out there waiting for it. Please know that we’re looking for articles to post and web sites to recommend (that aren’t bitter, degrading ones), but so far we haven’t found them. If you find anything, PLEASE let us know. In the meantime, we’ll keep looking. Truly, our sympathy is with you and the other men caught up in this situation.

    2. I’m in the same boat, my wife has never been able to convey her feelings. 4 days ago she served me papers for a separation. I now can’t talk with her for 30 days. She goes to her father instead of me. This bugs me beyond just a little. I’m going insane. It’s been 96 hours with only 5 hours of sleep. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been searching online all day and night, and your reply was the only thing I’ve found so far that is as close to my situation. Come this Thanksgiving it will be our 4th anniversary and I can’t even send her flowers or talk with her.

      1. Has anyone found any resources? I, too, am in the same boat (I’m the communicator and she is not: avoids it at all costs). Where can we turn for wisdom and guidance to work toward a solution? Thanks in advance.

        1. I have a few resources –3 different types of books, that I would recommend to you. I’m including the Amazon links in the titles so you can read more about them (and possibly obtain them). The first is a book written by Nancy Sebastian Meyer, titled, Talk Easy, Listen Hard: Real Communication for Two Really Different People. What we like about it is that it has shorter versions of some of the important communication info we have read through (that helped our marriage) that will help you to better understand your wife (or husband, for those in that situation). As the book says, “it helps you tackle your communication barriers, not each other.” Many of the things covered in this book (which is laid our very simply), are things we learned through many different resources. But what’s great about this is that it’s all in one book –some of the highlights of the best, within the same resource. How I wish I would have had this book earlier in our marriage. I used to think that Steve would do certain things to irritate me. It wasn’t that at all… we just approached things differently. But since then, we’ve learned how to make our “styles” work for our marriage, not against it. This book can really open your eyes.

          Another book I’d recommend reading is one that I’m reading right now too. I’m about half way done and find it really eye opening –particularly for those who deal with spouses who are quieter. It’s not a Christian book, but so far I haven’t found anything that goes against my faith, but rather gives great information that could be helpful to those who don’t understand the quieter type. I HIGHLY recommend reading it. It’s written by Dr Marti Olsen Laney, and is titled, The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World. Not only could it be helpful to introverts to read, to better understand themselves and better live in an extrovert world, but it can be especially helpful to their spouse’s. As you read it, I believe it will open your eyes to better ways of communicating with your quieter spouse and help you to better appreciate her.

          Another book I highly recommend is the book written by Milan and Kay Yerkovich titled, How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage. It’s published by published by Water Brook. The authors of this book “draw on the tool of an attachment theory to show how your early life experiences created an ‘intimacy imprint’ —an underlying blueprint that shapes your behavior, beliefs, and expectations of all relationships, especially your marriage. They identify four types of injured imprints that combine in marriage to trap couples in a repetitive dance of pain. The principles and solution-focused tools in this book will equip you to… –identify the imprints disrupting your marriage –understand how your love style impacts your mate –break free of negative patterns that hinder your relationship –enhance your sexual intimacy, and –create a deeper, richer marriage.” I heard the Yerkovich’s talk about this subject and could see how it could absolutely change the lives of many couples in positive ways as they better understood each other’s communication styles. It’s truly an enlightening book –revealing things I never realized before.

          Each of these books are entirely different from each other, but they give a better view of each other’s communication styles so that you can learn how to build communication bridges where there once seemed to be walls. I know it’s a lot of reading (and many times we want quick fixes) but we’ve learned that this type of info can stay with you for the rest of your lives to use and apply and is well worth every effort you make in reading them. If we will study to help us in our jobs, why not apply the time in learning how to help us better communicate with each other? I hope you (and Robert and others) will get these resources. I believe you will find them to be eye opening in a positive way to help you in your marriage relationship.

          1. Cindy, Thank you for the well worded and researched reply. After I left this post, I discovered How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan Yerkovich, Kay Yerkovich. I am reading through it now and it has the best insight into my marriage that I have come across yet. I’ve read many good books that have many great suggestions and life principles that we can apply or, at the very least, Highlight areas for improvement.

            However, the love styles described in the book (and how they interact with each other) are spot on. It was as if they were secretly watching my wife and me. The authors deidentify typical roles played by “the wife or husband” and rather attribute the roles without gender. This is the first resource I’ve come across that addresses my willingness to confront and her avoidance and distance.

            I have added the other books to my reading list. Since I place high value on the 3rd book you listed, I’m curious about those with a higher rank. Thank you!

  6. (UNITED STATES)  OK…here goes. My wife and I have been married for 17 years this November. I am 44 and my wife is 49. I met her when I was 26 and she was 31. Neither of us had been married before. We have 2 sons 8 & 14.
    Two years ago, I lost my mother; my dad having passed on 10 years ago. For a long time, until October of last year, I mourned the loss intellectually and thought I was in a good place when, out of the blue, I started having anxiety attacks (never had them before), where I became afraid of losing everything that I loved. I was afraid of losing my wife to another man (I started looking for signs of cheating, but have never found any). I became clingy, very emotionally and physically needy with my wife.

    About a month into this, my wife looked at me and said: “I don’t think you have grieved your mom’s death yet.” BAM! She was spot-on. It opened up the floodgates. She was very supportive of me during this time, but I had a difficult time dealing with the anxiety. Many memories came flooding back about my relationship with my mom and many truths started to surface about events. I had no one to talk to except my wife. Yes, I did lean on her quite a bit.

    Fast-forward to this Summer. I started counseling to deal with my issues (2 months now). Since that time, it seems that my wife has become distant emotionally, and the frequency of sex has dropped from once a week to 3 weeks or more. I have to say that, during the past two months, she fell off her horse and broke her wrist (dominant hand). This put her into a depression, because she hates to be reliant upon other people. She says I have been more than helpful and she is grateful for my understanding.

    I know she must be exhausted from all of this, and I have tried very hard to be patient, yet she seems to be erecting an emotional barrier between us. This may be normal, I’m just scared that she is still planning to leave me (I don’t tell her this).

    She is also in the throes of perimenopause, even if she won’t admit to it (I haven’t asked her about it). She focuses on her work and rarely wants to discuss deeper issues -wants to keep conversation focused on events, day-to-day stuff, etc. Am I missing something here? Should I just play along with her? She doesn’t want to discuss her feelings. Anyone have any advice? Thanks.

    1. (U.S.A.)  I understand your paranoia about your wife leaving you. I’ve been there. It seems to me her not being able to be independent+menopause is why she’s distant. Menopause can really scramble a womans nerves, thoughts, body ect! Do your home work, clear your mind and meditate! God bless.

  7. (USA)  I feel like there is something about every story here that I can relate too. The “I’m not talking” (or looking at you) thing… is driving me crazy. I am 33 years old and got married to a man that was a friend from when I was a teenager. It might sound funny but we always laughed and told each other we would marry each other if we were single by the time we were 30. Never thinking it would actually turn out that way… one New Year we were together and thought… He might be the man for me. I decided to move in with him.

    I knew from the begining he had an anger problem, and that was the only thing that held me away from him… I was back and forth with should I or shouldnt I be with him. I got pregnant with my daughter and knew he would be a good dad. I totally from that point on… put myself 2nd. And over the past 8 years now, that is EXACTLY how he has treated me. I taught him to treat me 2nd.

    I’ve never felt like I was one to get depressed over anything, but I know I’m fooling myself. I’m definitely the revealer in the realtionship… and I feel betrayed by him for not speaking to me for weeks over something like this: We are waiting for food at a bar one Sunday evening (after he got home from a different bar… watching football) when he says to me, “Me and my brother are going to the Bullfrog (a different bar) to watch the game next week. Do you wanna go? I replied, “Are you asking me if it’s ok that you go? Or did you make plans without me and it really doesn’t matter if I go or not?” He screamed at me in the bar and said “WTF are you talking about?”

    That was 5 days ago and not a word has been spoken by him except teling me to F#%^ Off if I try and say anything… like I don’t know why we waste so much time not talking. But maybe in another week or 2, after HE feels lonely, he will come up behind me unexpectably and rub my back… but not a word will be said.

    1. (UNITED STATES)  Well, he obviously has some issues with anger, and I’m not justifying his reaction in any way *except* to say this: If he made the effort to include you, why did you question his motive? He could have simply stated that he is going with his brother and left it at that. But he invited you to go. If my wife would have asked me those questions I, at least in my mind, would have also asked what are you talking about???

      You are right in stating that you have taught him how to treat you, so why do you want to set him up with a false dilemma (providing two options that are presented as the ONLY options, when there is obviously a third: that he was really hoping you would go). You put him in a lose-lose situation, and in his mind, you’ve already taken his free-will choice away from him… and there’s nothing else he CAN say that he thinks you would listen to. You’ve already made up your mind.

      Turn the tables around and ask how you would feel if he asked you the same kind of question. What you did forestalled any kind of positive communication. You are playing the victim, and that is a form of control. He probably already feels more lonely than you give him credit for.

      You are telling yourself the lie that you are not good enough -and you are living it out. Have you stopped to ask yourself that maybe he is frustrated with this attitude, and really yearns for a confident in herself woman? You are playing the “nice” woman who is “sacrificing” her happiness so that others (READ: HE) can be happy. You think by doing so, he will then give you everything you SECRETLY yearn for. That is a BIG burden for the other person to carry, and it is an energy drain.

      It sounds like he is living a life independent of yours but still within the context of the relationship (no cheating indicated), but that you are refusing to, that you want HIM to fulfill your life for you, that you live with that EXPECTATION. Maybe you should next time schedule a date with a girlfriend, sister, mother, etc. and invite him to go along. See what his reaction is then. See if he questions YOUR motives. You may find that he begins to develop a respect for you, in that you are doing something for yourself.

      BTW – the best response to someone who rages at you is a non-emotional response. Do not react emotionally (as far as I can tell, we are not talking physical abuse). Do NOT try to talk to them when they are in this state. Simply state that you will resume this conversation when he is in a calmer place. Do so with no accusation or hurt in your voice (practice a lot on your own), and assure him that your relationship is more valuable to you than something to be screamed about, that you are two adults that can hold a civil conversation. Smile a loving smile and walk out of the room.

  8. (USA)  My husband can be a very sweet man who buys me flowers just because, leaves notes sometimes to say he loves me, takes me on lots of dates, but he can also come off very cold at times. We’ve been married for 6 months but living together for 2 years, and it is now that I’m questioning if I made the right choice. My husband has all the qualities and values I want in a man, but what that kills me is he doesn’t know how to communicate. I know part of this comes from his african up bringing and views of a man (especially if there is a financial issue).

    He will give me a half answer if I ask him a question, answer my question with a question, or elude the question all together… like if I say “where are you going?”he replies “I’ll be back.” This frustrates me immensely because I know if I answered him the same way he would be angry. Half of the time he’s just going to the store for something and comes back very quickly, but I feel like he should communicate that. Who knows? I may want something from the store too… or what if something happens?

    I saw an opened express mail package on our dresser, I picked it up and saw nothing was in it, but it smelled like it came from his homeland (Africa, everything they send smells like some kind of herb… I dont know why). So I say “honey what’s this?” He answers “nothing”, so then I say “Well, I know they didn’t pay 18.53 to express mail you nothing, so you might as well just say you don’t want me to know.” He replies “well…” Secrets like this make me feel insecure.

    When we go out for dinner together, he can only have a real conversation with me if it has something to do with science, or politics, or academics… we can’t just laugh and have normal conversation like normal people. I hate politics, and enjoy talking about my day and my feelings. I also would like to hear about his day and feelings as well… but when I ask those kind of questions I get one word answers, so on most nights out we sit there looking bored and disinterested in each other.

    What frustrates me the most is when he doesn’t communicate a full answer for something that I ask him to do. For instance, my car was in the shop so I had to walk to my classes and work on campus. He usually walks just because he likes to, but I had worn heels all day and my feet hurt so I asked him if he would drive his car today so he could pick me up… and he just said no. I said “please honey, my feet really hurt.” All he said was “no.” I really thought he was just being a jerk. I walked home mad that day with sore feet, to later find out he went to get my car from the shop, which is why he wouldn’t pick me up. But I already had an attitude (and sore feet) so I wasn’t happy about it either way. All of this to say that if he had communicated the reason why saying “No, I can’t honey, because I need to pick up your car and won’t be back in time,” I could have taken it better. But he just gave me a cold “No” which changed my whole attitude.

    Communication is key in how someone reacts to you. I don’t understand why he doesn’t understand this. I’m sorry I wrote a book… but it does feel good to tell somebody who will listen, because no matter how I try to tell him he won’t. I’m confused and hurt.

  9. (UK)  Hello, I also am going through a rough patch just now. My husband has been cold to me since we got married 2 years ago, and like Miranda here, he responds with a dismissing yes or no. My problem is my husband runs a shipping business which requires him to go back home a few times a year. He is happy to go out there alone though I have not met his family since we’ve been together, and now we have a 6 month old baby.

    I also have an 8 yr old autistic boy from a previous marriage whom he does very little with, as he is always busy working or sitting in front of his computer. He doesn’t make love to me, so now I ask. I’m 37 and he’s 35. Sometimes we go for months without lovemaking, unless I ask. But it’s more to please me than coming from him because it’s so rehearsed and no kissing.

    Sorry my story is all over the place as I’m so confused and depressed as you can see. It’s after 3 am and I’m not sleeping. I can’t sleep, and I have two kids to look after in the morning.

    This time my husband had to go home on business, but he was short by a 1000.00 pound, so I lent him the money. I said he can buy his ticket and use the rest to top up things he needed paying.

    He told me that he was planning to leave on the 12th of November. I gave him the money mid October. Up until the last week around the 8th of November, he never mentioned details of his trip, so I kept on asking. He then told me that he couldn’t give me details as he hasn’t paid for the ticket but is planning to go on the 12th of November. He saw a ticket for 620.00 pounds, but unfortunately he does not know if he will get that ticket, as has used the money I gave him, for something else so now he was short on the ticket and is waiting for some from somewhere.

    I did not give him any more money and the silent treatment got worse… The last day before he went 11th november, he told me that he was leaving the next day at 2 pm and didn’t tell me when he was coming back or how he was planning to get to Heathrow, so I kept quiet, because I knew that he was angry with me for not helping him with more money for his ticket.

    And I was feeling very bad as I felt that he nearly lost his date because I did not give him more money, so much that on Saturday the 12th of November when he asked me for a lift to the station I jumped out of bed as it was the first time he spoke to me. I drove him straight to the bus station.

    It is when he told me that he was taking the train to London, I realised that he actually did not tell me when, how, or his return date. So while driving him and the children I asked him of his return dates. He said two words, 17th December. I felt weak. My autistic son has his birthday on the 10th of December and I promised to take him on the London tour bus to see the tourist area, hoping I would have some help with the children as he could help me with baby and pram on the tube.

    Please read on …Now I called him to say hello on Wednesday the 16th of November and I find myself (I dont know why) asking him when he’s coming back. He said 18th of December. So I expressed my shock on the change of dates and I started to tell him how hurt I was that he’s going to miss our son’s birthday, and he became so angry and was abusive and hung up on me.

    So it is when I decided to look up his email and find his e tickets, I found them. He bought and paid in full his tickets on the 28th of October with the money I gave him. He got it for 620.00 and had change left of 380.00 pounds, and is not coming back till the 29th of December. He is spending Christmas with his family.

    I called him and told him of my findings. He told me to leave him alone, who gives me the right to open his email and that he has nothing to say to me and put the phone down and has not rang me since. Please help me. I can’t sleep and now I’m comfort eating, I’m so hurt and feel used. Please someone, help me. Tell me what I’m doing wrong.

    1. Kaya, I’ve been praying for you. In my quiet time, some thoughts came to mind. You’ve come to a Christian web site to ask for help. That, I’m sure, is no accident. What comes to mind as I pray for you is that you’ve got your eyes on a husband who is not being honest with you. Presently, he’s not living in integrity. He’s not being a true marital partner. Take your eyes and your hopes and focus off of your husband. Put your eyes, your faith, your hope upon God to lead you during this time. Put your focus upon God. Let God tend to your husband as you work on the issues you have before you.

      “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit” -Psalm 34:18. “But it is good for me to draw near to God.” -Psalm 73:28

      1. (UK)  Wow this is powerful. Firstly, I must thank you for writing and praying for me. Please continue to pray and anyone else that can pray for me and my children please do, and I will be praying every minute myself. I think God is working on me already through you, Cindy, and everybody else out there that has taken time to read and is putting me in their prayer. Thank you. I’m going to do just that what you advise me to do and put my eyes, hopes, valuable time, strength on my two boys who need my care and love and also I will work and focus on my relationship with God. As the intelligent person that I think I am, I need not be told twice.

        Even if I didn’t know God before, now is the right time to work on my faith. Cindy, I have forgiven my husband though he has not spoken to me or apologized. I want him to have a great time with his family and friends as they take priority for him at this stage. I’m looking forward to spend Christmas with my children and my mum will be coming to stay with us so that it’s not just me and the kids.

        I know God loves me and he is drawing me closer to him where there is unconditional love, honesty and warmth. I’m grateful for this opportunity that God is giving me. I’m saying all this and I’m shocked because I’m not what you call a proper Christian yet, but about to be. Watch this space…. (: love you. I am at peace right now. I’m still hurting but I’m at peace. I feel calm and together unlike what I was the last couple of days. Thank you so much.

        1. Kaya, It’s obvious that God is reaching out to you. He doesn’t wait until we are “proper” …but just as we are. Keep reaching out to Him. If you go to the blue box at the lower right corner of the Home Page of this web site, you will see words saying, “Seeking Direction? Purpose? Hope? Please click into the arrow and ask God to lead you in this journey to better know Him. I sense in my heart He is reaching out to you. Embrace His leading.

          I’m so glad your mum is coming to spend Christmas with you and your children. I hope it is a loving time for each of you. And I hope that you are able to somehow figure out how to take your son on the London Bus Tour on his birthday. If not, I’m sure you can figure out a way to make it a special day, nonetheless.

          As for forgiving your husband, I’m really proud of you. But know that sometimes, it can be difficult to hang onto it in the long run, when challenges come up. However, if you work to press on, you will find that it will give you the freedom to be a healthier person. If you find yourself confused on all of what forgiveness means, go into the “Bitterness and Forgiveness” topic and read through the “Quotes” and anything else that you feel compelled to read in that topic. I believe you will find it enlightening. I hope and pray the best for you Kaya, and for your precious children. May God strengthen you NOW for what is ahead. But don’t focus on that now, focus on today… each day at a time. May you be blessed!

  10. (UK)  Hi Cindy and everyone, this is just to let you know of how grateful and thankful I am for this site. I feel ok about my situation. I am doing a lot of thinking and God is working wonders on me.

    I just want to encourage anyone that is feeling down, hurt, disappointed by their husband or wife’s behaviour that as long as you trust in the LORD it’s not all lost.

    I don’t want to scare you but on Saturday I was in a dark place but God directed me to this site and I poured my heart out, even that helped me so much. I just felt so free, just talking …and then an angel by the name Cindy Wright spoke. Boy… God is great… this lady healed my soul… and straightened my head.

    My marriage may end, my husband may decide to come clean about his feelings for me and everything, but to me God is working. I’m ready for anything. Me and the children will struggle in every way, but for peace and happiness, stability around my children instead of these on-going verbal insults, silent treatments (they call it passive aggression) at times and mental abuse… let it be.

    In case you are wondering, my hubby has nothing to say to me still, and he clearly does not want to discuss anything deep with me. But that’s fine. We will continue to be civil for the sake of our children… whilst he’s away.

    I encourage all of you to not give up and not to be disheartened. We all get married to be loved and to love, till death do us part, but God is taking care of you and me and He loves us but we also need to take His direction and guidance, sorry long speech (: so i will stop there, love you all.<3

    1. Dear Kaya, Thank you for the kind words. I have to tell you though, the words I wrote came to me during my prayer time for you. I wrote exactly what I believe God spoke to my heart to give you, from Him. I truly can’t take credit for them. I wanted to write more and started to, but I felt impressed to stop, so I did. I encourage you to keep pursuing God and He will give you peace, even in the middle of a storm.

      I have no doubt that you have some stormy days ahead of you (we all do… the storms are just different, for different people –that’s all part of life, this side of heaven). But keep putting your eyes on Him, instead of those who can rob you of peace.

      Also, if you have a Bible, start reading it… (if you don’t have one, get one) begin your reading journey in the New Testament. Learn of Christ and you will learn His heart and His ways and you will find guidance to help you. Again, the link on the lower right side of our web site concerning “Seeking Direction” will be a good starting point, for help.

      Bless you Kaya… bless you and your children. I’m praying for you and your children and also for your husband. He is obviously very confused as to how to live as he should. If he wasn’t confused or misguided, he would approach you and the children MUCH differently –he would be much more supportive and loving. May his eyes open, and may he make wiser choices in the days ahead. Even if he doesn’t (God gives us all a free will), I hope you will still seek God’s guidance and experience His peace. Love to you and yours, Cindy

  11. (US)  Hi. I messed up, I messed up bad guys. I’ve lost my girl and I can’t get her back. I came into our marriage angry I just didn’t know it. I had years of abuse and feelings that I hadn’t dealt with. I was angry and defensive for fear of being attacked most of the time. I’ve been self employed for a long time but work got slow. When my wife got pregnant and put on bed rest she was expecting me to be her “Janitor at midnight” and I wasn’t. I stayed hopeful work would pick up and she was completely crushed.

    She’s distanced herself from me. It became a fight just for her to spend time with me.

    I got help with my issues and BETTER now! But it might be too late. She’s so hurt, so tired, so disappointed. I’m trying to make up for lost time but it doesn’t seem to be changing anything (unless she’s not telling for fear of regression and hurting her again). She LOVES the changes (being nice, trying to romance her, cleaning up, being better with the kids, giving her time etc).

    She says she’s almost mad that I’m this new guy now because she feels like it could’ve been this good all the time. I explained that I wasn’t HIM then and didn’t have the tools. Right now her heart is non responsive. She said she’s not making a conscious decision to be that way, but that’s what it is. I’m giving her space since she waited for me through my period where I had issues. I love her soooooooo much and my kids. I don’t wanna lose them but what do you do when someone says “I’m done, I don’t love you anymore, you lost me,” you know? Part of me feels like she’s watching me to see if I’m gonna continue being who I am and find some money for us to live comfortably.

    I’m determined to win her back but at the same time I don’t wanna be in denial. Right now my mindset is to keep doing the acts of love even when I don’t get a response. I keep telling her and showing her and maybe her heart will warm to me again, maybe. I KNOW she loves me but right now her FEELINGS are running the game. She’s walled me off but I’m fighting for this. I have to take down one brick at a time with love. I’ll take any tips guys… Thanks.

    1. (US)  I’m a proud guy. I’ve been praying and fasting and I’m being given clear instruction for my current actions. This isn’t how I normally act. I’m impatient. lol!

      Pray for me guys, I’m trying to push for this. Some days I get tired. I believe God has shown me “myself” for a reason and I’m hopeful that on the other side of this is the best marriage EVER!!!!

    2. (MALAWI)  Steve, I am happy with you and to this point God has taken a step. He is going to change your situation with your wife. She is on the way with love. Believe it. God is going to do it. And don’t forget to pray for the other men to change their behavior. This is my prayer also.

  12. (MALAWI)  I have read Gloria’s story and I am shocked because the story is like my story. I have tried but I know I must surrender everything to God. Divorce is not a good solution.

    Please, our dear Lord, help our men. We love them. We are crying. God, I am ready to sin no more.

  13. (CANADA)  I have been reading this web site for over an hour! I thank God for it and all the people who participate on it. You are all my favorite. Thank you all.

  14. (USA)  I am so glad to stumble on this site. I thought I was the only woman that felt emotionally abandonded after 6 years of marriage and third child on the way.

  15. (US)  I am emotionally and physically abandonded by my husband. We only lived together four months. He sent me back home, and stopped talking to me. He never answers my phone calls or e-mails. HE totally ignored me for the past six months. What shall I do? I love him and I want him back. Please pray!

  16. (SOUTH-AFRICA)  I have been married for almost three years and my husband is failing me emotionally. I do not want to leave him. I love him with my whole heart, but I can’t be married to a robot. Please help.

  17. (USA) We have been married 45 years and all I ever got was nothing. He won’t talk to me, never had sex with me, never had kids with me. He won’t go out, kiss, hold hands, snuggle, watch TV, sleep, have dinner together just plain nothing. I think the only way I’ve gotten through all this is totally ignore him like he’s done to me. I had to get by my depression, pain almost alone. My doctor helped so much. I’ve created my own life, friends and I try to stay away from home. He would never miss me, and I would bet if I died all he would say is OK.

    1. (UNITED STATES) Amy, that’s so sad. I think your husband would really miss you if you died. I know you must feel awful, and that’s why you said that, but have you tried a marriage counselor? My husband and I used a counselor to get help. I was hiding the fact that my boss had tried to rape me from him, and that was part of my distance. Trust me, you guys should go to a therapist. Maybe, he’ll learn that he needs to pay more attention to you, and the two of you can be happier.

      1. This answer has been a long time in coming! The reason I said he probably wouldn’t care if I died and that he wouldn’t miss me. When His mom and dad died he did nothing in helping in there burial and he didn’t let any one know he was a relative. They had a lot of inheritance money but he never claimed. I was confronted by a lawyer and some state people that he had to do something with their house and money. He just refused to talk to them. I don’t know what happened to everything. When my folks passed on he didn’t help me, I don’t even know if he knew they past on.

        He is very cold hearted and selfish. He was a sniper in Viet Nam for years and has very little interest in life. The only thing he would probably do is call 911 if I died and that would be it.

  18. (US) My wife of 18 years left me 3 months ago.We are both in our 40’s. We have 2 children in their teens. This is the first marriage for both of us, we dated for 2 years. She took my heart on our first date. I felt so grateful for her and her wonderful family, no divorces and great parents.
    Mine is plagued with divorce.

    My wife is passive and loving. She has many long term girlfriends, has never been flirty or someone who gravitates to bad behavior. I’m outgoing, love people and am faithful. She claims I’m controlling. I have been to a degree, but have always encouraged her to enjoy time with her friends and have only said no to her spending time away from home 2-3 times in our marriage. I try very hard to be generous as money and stuff really is not as important to me as any relationship in my life.

    She has said I have not acknowledged her feelings…It took me a while to even understand what that meant. But with practice, I think I’m getting it now. We used to text and talk several times during the day. I enjoyed making her laugh. She’s been loyal, but withdrawing over grudges with me and my family for the last few years. I have avoided conflict with her during the same, but tried to be encouraging. Now I understand encouragement and trying to help her solve a problem isn’t really listening and acknowledging how she feels. No cheating, abuse, hot angry arguments, addictions for both of us. Just a gradual lessening of time really spent building and keeping intimacy.

    She left. No discussion. Got a place of her own. Said ” I love you, but I’m not in love with you” Sees our kids 2 days a week. I call with only important matters relating to finances or kids- She’ll return my calls or answer the phone, but will not give me any future plan (and I haven’t asked). She won’t discuss us and wants off the phone if I hint around it. Texting nice things by me occasionally (like once or twice a week) yields no response. I’ve been to a marriage counselor many times during this time. She refuses to go. After several weeks of really limited contact as in a week of nothing, then a few days, I started asking for just lunch together, she turns me down. I ask once a week and has only seen me a few times since leaving. She wants nothing from our nice home and has only a suitcase worth of clothes. Her studio is furnished.

    I pray every day and read all I can about how to improve this situation. I know God will help us. I just wish I could figure out what she wants to do. I worry I’m not doing enough and will miss the opportunity to do the right thing to win her back by giving her so much space. Any suggestions? The patience and worry is excruciating at times.

  19. (UNITED STATES) I was having trouble in my marriage until after I read this helpful article. I was acting distant from my husband, and I could tell he didn’t like it one bit. I prayed that God would fix things, but nothing he tried worked on me. I thought maybe it was the devil taking control of me, but now I know it was really God teaching me patience. I’m not the most patient woman, and my husband’s not the most patient man.

    He’d beg me to look at him, to make eye contact. He needed me to talk. I felt like there was some sort of emotional disconnect for some reason. I’d never really shared my true feelings with anyone, and when my mother died, it was hard for me to say anything. That’s when I started being distant. My husband once asked me the day after we buried her, “Baby, how are you feeling?” I told him how I felt, and well, he laughed at me. I didn’t talk to him for weeks, first because I was mad, then because I was actually scared to talk to him, fearing he’d laugh again.

    Today, though, we’re fine. But, when I read this article, I realized all the things I’d been doing wrong. Now, we talk all the time. I can tell how I really feel about anything, and he doesn’t laugh or insult me. He loves me, and I love him. For the first time, I truly know he loves me. I’m not scared to talk anymore. I’m not clammed up!

  20. (USA) I am at my witts end with my husband. We’ve been married 5 yrs, been together 12 and we have two beautiful kids. I am not sure whether to stay or go. Recently I found out he was texting and sending messages on facebook to other females and meeting up with them. Some texts were made and recieved while I was home. I confronted him by calling him at work. When he came home he told me maybe we needed to get divorced. He later talked to a mutual friend who advised him to go to counselling if he loves his wife. So I went with him. I wish he would have gone when I suggested it. But that’s the way he is. He will listen to everyone else but me. It’s like I am beneath him. School, work, home, finances he will take advice from everyone else. In the counseling case I wonder if he was shamed into making that move. Is that a red flag that I should just go?

    I have been physically ill, losing weight and an emotional basketcase. I hate being this desperate for a man. I have never been like this and he doesn’t care, it seems. He has been lying and keeping secrets for years but I just didn’t have the courage to leave. Now I feel stuck especially with the kids. If I try to talk about what’s wrong with us he counters with my failure to stay on top of bills and how much he has to work to bring in money. I don’t make as much as him and questioning him about anything is not allowed especially his finances.

    We have been in Marriage Counselling for over a month now and I am hoping we get better but with every day it keeps getting worse. I think he hates me but doesn’t want to be the one to walk away from me and the kids so people can say he is a deadbeat. I love him with all my heart but I am not sure he feels the same. He shuts down when I try to talk and wants to talk only at counselling. I am sick with wondering why else he would need other females as friends as he claims, and keeps them secret as if it was nothing? For years at that. He has never really apologized either. Come to think of it I can’t remember the last time I got a genuine apology. I just feel if I meant much to him and he was fighting for me and this marriage that would be the first step. Acknowledgement and an apology.

    Do I just walk away now or do I stay for more emotional abuse and bad stuff? Does it get better? When will I start trusting him again? How will I know when he is telling the truth? Just stay because the Bible says to pray and stay together? I don’t want anyone else but my husband. Will that change? How do I know when it is just time to go? If I stay how do I do it without losing myself and ruining my kids, espescially my daughter? Please help me.

  21. (USA) My husband and I have been married for over 5 years and we have two children; under 3 years old, and I believe we’re having communication problems. My husband has an at home business so he’s mostly working all the time outside. As of March 2012, I’ve been an at home mom. I understand that his work is tiring & tedious but I try to assist him in anyway I can & I expect him to do the same.

    We’ve had conversations over & over about him helping me around the house, helping me with the children, being able to watch the children whenever I’m cooking or cleaning, setting a work schedule and talking to me. He’ll make attempts to try to fix it and then he falls back & it’s back to me repeating myself. Also, I’m seeing that he puts his wants & needs before mine. For instance, I spoke to him about me joining Weightwatchers and at that time he told me that he couldn’t afford it but then some days later he’s talking to me about ordering something that cost almost $400.

    He has told me that he’s lazy but I think that he’s only lazy when it comes to something I would like for him to do for me. He has said to me that he tends to be selfish sometimes. I’m familiar with his childhood history and he was taught that men don’t cry, provide for the family, & have your own. We have our ups & downs and love each other very much. Now, I don’t know what else I can say or do? Any advice?

  22. (CANADA) I read many of these comments, we all are in same boat, including myself. I been asking this question to myself and to people. I know that if it’s fair to live with person if you two have no intimacy in communication or emotionally disconnected?

  23. These insights into what he could possibly be feeling and thinking are very true for my significant other and father of my child. This site reconfirmed my initial thoughts about it all and didn’t place the responsibilty of communication on the woman. Sometimes there’s no other option to make it work. There’s one part on here where it tells you that you can ask certain questions to allow him to open up. I’ve been with him for over a year. This no longer works now that we have a daughter. Having children changes the way they think, in my opinion, especially after reading many other women’s posts about communication problems.

    When we first started dating I knew the there would be some communication problems, but after prying and getting him to open up about it, I thought there was hope for him. He was more open to counseling then too. Getting married and having a baby are similar in the way that they feel they don’t have to hunt anymore or work making sure you stay. They also believe that being a provider is all that’s needed of them. Culture and man logic brings this about. Communication is the key to relationships and you can’t raise kids without communication.

    Remember, he can still provide without the relationship. It can’t work no matter how much you want it to without communication. I’ve come to the realization that teamwork can’t be one sided on this issue especially when he thinks yelling and trying to start arguments are the way to sort things out. He’s gotten to the point where if I talk he gets angry. If I ask a guestion he won’t answer or he will try to come up with an excuse that demeans me in some way, and finally says he will talk but ignores me outright and won’t look me in the eye. Then he gives excuses when I ask him specifically if he wants to work on this relationship, yes or no. The answers are you watch too many princess movies, you live in fantasy land, this is who I was when you met me, or whatever you want, which are lies and excuses for not talking.

    I tell him he should have figured out communication is the key to all good relationships in his 20’s. He uses our daughter all the time against me. He tells me he’ll take her away, which no longer works anymore cause I just laugh at him. Now he acts like I’m going to take her away. In a sense I would if I left but I’m not mean. He’d spend as much time with her as he does now cause he refuses to watch her for over a few hours only if it’s something I have to do. He wants to act like he would be there but he doesn’t even hold her unless I say anything.

    This 37 yr man would rather play video games than hold her or spend time with me. He’s unhappy but he acts like and tells me it’s my fault. He won’t tell me why he’s unhappy and wants to move, warns this and that. Maybe he doesn’t know either. But we could still talk about it. I’d probably be more willing to stick through this rut longer if he didn’t absolutely try to ruin any happy day I have without him or nag about spending time with my family or communicating outside of us, since he won’t.

    He acts like lately he doesn’t care that I’m taking steps to move out. Since he refuses to talk about anything, even simple stuff, because even if I try he somehow will twist it into an argument. It’s not the kind where I exactly participate either. It’s more like he’s yelling and I’m asking him what’s really bothering him and he doesn’t really need to treat me like this. Ignoring doesn’t work. He’s the kind where he’ll follow you, and become passive aggressive, etc. I’ve tried everything but leave, which I feel is my daughter’s and my only choice to feel truly happy. I know it will be hard at first, but so is being with him, especially the egg shells. I mainly wrote this to vent and share information.

    1. Dani, This man is not acting like he is “significant” to you in the way he is not participating in your relationship. Leaving him since you are not married may make your life less stressful in the long-run. Please, the next time you find a man you want to spend your life with (hopefully, marrying him), pay attention to the red flags that are waving, if they are. There were obviously lots of red flags waving, but you ignored them thinking he would change. Perhaps he could have, but it needs to be his choice to do so or it won’t work, as you see. Make sure communication and participating together in your partnership are important to him too.

      Also, if you leave, please guard your heart in the future and your daughter’s, as well. You will need to be even wiser in the choices you make in who you get involved with because you have a daughter who needs her mom to protect her from someone else who might not cherish her as she needs. Please be more careful and prayerful in the future.

      1. Maybe there were flags but starting out you never know what’s real, if this is them or if it’s them only showing you what you want. There was one flag I know I did ignore, but at the time his actions toward me and others were very good, so I took that as a good sign. He made me want to be a better person, less selfish, and lets say most mothers get even less chance to be selfish. As far as men go I think I would be better off without one if he doesn’t work out. I’m not sure that I pick very well.

  24. Hi I am a 40 year old man who is also going through turmoil. My wife of ten years has completely shut down to me emotionally! When our first child was born she suffered with depression but at the time I didn’t realise it. It was only after our second was born that we knew something was wrong. She was prescribed medication but only took them when she remembered. If I mentioned it I was immediately shot down so I trod in egg shells for a long time.

    Finally in 2009 she told me she didn’t love me and asked me to leave. She went to live at a friends house and I took a job working away. At this time her mum was still talking to me and asking me to be patient which of course I was! In June 2010 I received a phone call from her mother telling me she had gotten pregnant from this so called family friend who was now turning nasty. As far as I am aware it was a one night stand. Now of course I was devastated but I said over the phone with my best firm voice that I would be there for her if she needed me.

    My children and wife came to visit me in the July. We finally talked. She said she wanted us to get back together and would have an abortion, to which my reply was no way, I will bring the baby up as my own and we will get through this together. I then had a beautiful daughter born in January 2011. I worked hard and we then decided late 2012 to move up to Scotland to be closer to family.

    Well, it’s now September 2013 and she has again shut herself down emotionally and refuses to talk to me or anyone. She says she doesn’t love me anymore and I should go. I am at the moment fighting with everything I have to save my marriage once again. The emotional turmoil I am going through I would not wish on anyone.

    I work to provide for my three wonderful children and believe I am a good father to them. I sent her a text asking her to give me four months to change her mind asking her to write the two lists, one good one about our marriage and one bad one to give me a chance to put everything right. I told her there was no pressure for a quick answer and that was a week ago.

    Things have improved slightly but I still have no answer from her and I don’t want to ask her for fear of the answer I don’t want. As I write this I’m just about to go to work with constant churning in my gut about what’s going to happen. I love my wife and children with all my heart and soul and will try and continue my efforts but it’s very hard being the only one trying. Although I have received support from both her mum and step father, her mum says keep hanging in there but I do find it very difficult. I do pray regulary that I can find the strength to come through this once again and I hope to be a better person if I can manage to get through the other side.

    To all the people that are going through these hard times I will pray for you as well, and wish you the best of luck with your endeavours, after all I can totally empathize with your situation. All the best, Julian

  25. My husband has undiagnosed ADHD. I never thought about it until a teacher friend asked me if I knew he had it. It sort of explains why I have had 30 very difficult years with him. But I am now at the end of my rope and am close to leaving, which I really don’t want to do.

    There is currently no talking, no touching, watching TV in separate rooms every night, etc. If I try and talk to him it just makes matters worse, so I have shut down. During an argument a week ago I just packed my bags and left, and have just returned home due to some appointments this week (I went out of town to my daughter’s house).

    We are not speaking at all. I just don’t know what to do any more. He can be a very mean-spirited person. We do go to church every week. Does anyone have any thoughts/ideas on how I should proceed?

    1. I am still wondering why men who write here are told that they have sympathy, but you can’t see the women getting the same reply.

      Everybody knows that men are the ones who predominantly shut down in silence. Why are we ignoring this and why are we all of a sudden trying to make this to make it seems like it is women who do this? We all know that wives like to talk and communicate with their husbands.

      1. From a man’s perspective, it’s not a matter of men not wanting to communicate, it’s a matter of “how” to communicate. I have read and researched so much about this that I have some real opinions from a man’s perspective about this disconnect between men and women. I think that there is not a lot of sympathy for women, specifically from men, because we are just plainly exhausted by how, women in general, communicate. It is overwhelmingly comprised of complaints about how, we as men, are not meeting your needs. The deeper the conversation, the greater the criticism.

        And watch out if, we men, try to communicate to you that we have needs and emotions too. if we do that, then we are insensitive and aren’t listening. When we shut down, it’s due to exhaustion from all the apologizing we have to do that falls on deaf ears. I say deaf because, obviously, the apologies are not heard due to the fact that we have to apologize for the same thing again and again and again. We also shut down out of fear that the next thing we say will set you off again into another emotional meltdown. I am amazed at the hypocrisy that I’ve encountered in my life from women.

        There is a great deal of expectation with very little reciprocation. The things you want from us are not often given back in return. We feel like we are always walking on egg shells and riding on an emotional roller coaster. We rarely feel like we are heard or that you even care about our emotions because that would take the attention off of you. The difference is, we are not constantly complaining about it. We understand and accept that we are different in many ways and our nature is to make the best of what we cannot control rather than turn it into a never ending issue. We recognize our shortcomings for the most part but we don’t condemn ourselves for them. I wish there were as many sites dedicated with advice to help women understand how a man works as there are for advice for men to understand women.

        I honestly believe that men work much harder to understand women to meet their needs than women ever do to understand and meet men’s needs. And trust me, sex is great and we really love it, but it doesn’t balance the scales like you want to imagine it does. If you would just reciprocate a little more, you would see miracles with the men in your lives. It is the nature of women to be narcissistic in most facets of their emotional needs with the exception of motherhood. If you dig deep inside yourselves and are truly honest with yourselves, you will believe that everything I have said here is the absolute, undeniable truth and it will change your lives.

  26. So to give a little background I’m 30 served in Iraq and received a purple heart for injuries during combat. I’ve been diagnosed with ptsd depression brain injury. Anxiety and insomnia for almost 10 years. I dated a woman I grew to resent for 7 years and had 3 gorgeous children. My wife is 27 has a masters degree and is from China.

    We met thru craigslist, she had posted for a black guy or two. I replied and for a month she talked to me but was hesitant to meet. I was “too nice.” Finally we met and from the day after we met we were dating. Finally after about two years together we got married. I had caught her in stupid lies about guys she had been with and stuff like that. After we got married, it all came to surface.

    The past two years she had told me things about myself and how special I was. All of those were lies, she had been lying this entire time. About things I was told she never did, things we had shared together. Things about my own self esteem. At the same time I was going through a custody battle for my children. Things for me were at a point so low, that I became an addict. The first time I ever did it was the day before I had a court hearing about custody. And out of nowhere I also had a drug screen. I knew I failed, and that meant I failed my children and every bit of getting custody was thrown out the door. The mother also failed and that left her parents to take custody.

    I came home in tears and was met by a cold heartless woman I didn’t know. She sat playing facebook games and was annoyed by any serious talking. I begged and asked her to show she cared. Her only comment was that she said she cared and that was good enough. So now the drugs became constant, I tried and begged and even found ways to show her I was hurting. I became jealous of her computer. I couldn’t get a moment of her full attention. I started screaming and yelling, punching walls. All that did was get a response from my wife that in my mind fueled my anger. She yelled for me to hit her, that she rather I did because a door cost money. We lived in a 50000$ home, paid off. Owned two cars, paid off. Had cable internet a 50inch tv. We were not rich by any means, but we could easily afford a door. After a while, she became so money oriented that she told me she was selling her body because it was “something she didn’t mind doing, and because before we met she did it for free.”

    I flat out refused telling her I wouldn’t let her. She told me that she would do it behind my back then. I couldn’t take the chance that she got hurt or arrested or anything. So I agreed to basically be a pimp. It became something that was out of control. I would spend hours upon hours in the garage because she had something set. I asked her to stop. She wouldn’t.

    All the while my addiction is now spiraling out of control. I stole, I lied, I made up stupid reasons for money. And even when I gave my lie for what I needed the money for, I still told her that id rather have her show of concern and to be less cold instead of the money. Nope, money and sex was what she was willing to give. mind you were a very wild couple, so our sex life became almost separate. After so long of being apart, I wanted to be present. So I became a voyeur and it became to a point where she was more interested and had less trouble being paid by whoever. Than me being involved at all.

    All the while the addiction is becoming explosive. I was at the point where I couldn’t tell her the truth because I wasn’t comfortable, but I knew I needed help. So I did the worst thing I could do. I would yell and threatan all kinds of things in the hope she would call the police on me.

    Finally the night her mother came over to stay, days before we were set to move. It boiled over and we separated. I was left at our home, addicted and emotional. The day after she left im being pressured and paid to sign the house over to her mother. So basically in a matter of 2 weeks after being separated, I’m homeless with the things I could fit in my car. I was told the furniture was something I could have. Nope, sold and gave away every little piece. So basically I was kicked to the curb and abandoned. I with no influence or word from my wife, chose to get help. Not one time was that ever mentioned. And now after getting help and trying to kill myself.

    This entire situation I’ve dealt with her father in law. A white male with bank fraud and owing 11 million is the person who speaks for my wife. She has told me she hates me, deleted every picture and memory from our relationship. Blocked me, And basically tells me I never loved her. And because of my addiction I made her do the things she CHOSE to do and the things I asked her not to do. And to top it all off, the only reason she isn’t still doing the money for sex. Is because I took her phone and text and emailed all the guys she saw and told them she was married. I don’t blame anyone but myself for this entire thing, but am I basically worthless and deserve this? How can I get her to even go to dinner or lunch with me? She won’t let me apologize or anything.

    1. Buddy, you need to pay attention to fixing and loving yourself first before trying to reach out to her again. Once you have done that first, you will find that when you reach out to her the next time, one of two things will happen. She will either respond to you very positively due to the self respect she sees in you or, you will recognize that she has to fix and learn to love herself before she can respond positively to you and you will let her know that you are there for whatever she needs. Either way, you will be ok. Trust in whatever higher power you believe in to help you and it will all work out.

  27. From a man’s perspective, it’s not a matter of men not wanting to communicate, it’s a matter of “how” to communicate. I have read and researched so much about this that I have some real opinions from a man’s perspective about this disconnect between men and women. I think that there is not a lot of sympathy for women, specifically from men, because we are just plainly exhausted by how, women in general, communicate. It is overwhelmingly comprised of complaints about how, we as men, are not meeting your needs. The deeper the conversation, the greater the criticism.

    And watch out if, we men, try to communicate to you that we have needs and emotions too. If we do that, then we are insensitive and aren’t listening. When we shut down, it’s due to exhaustion from all the apologizing we have to do that falls on deaf ears. I say deaf because, obviously, the apologies are not heard due to the fact that we have to apologize for the same thing again and again and again. We also shut down out of fear that the next thing we say will set you off again into another emotional meltdown.

    I am amazed at the hypocrisy that I’ve encountered in my life from women. There is a great deal of expectation with very little reciprocation. The things you want from us are not often given back in return. We feel like we are always walking on egg shells and riding on an emotional roller coaster. We rarely feel like we are heard or that you even care about our emotions because that would take the attention off of you. The difference is, we are not constantly complaining about it. We understand and accept that we are different in many ways and our nature is to make the best of what we cannot control rather than turn it into a never ending issue. We recognize our shortcomings for the most part but we don’t condemn ourselves for them.

    I wish there were as many sites dedicated with advice to help women understand how a man works as there are for advice for men to understand women. I honestly believe that men work much harder to understand women to meet their needs than women ever do to understand and meet men’s needs. And trust me, sex is great and we really love it, but it doesn’t balance the scales like you want to imagine it does. If you would just reciprocate a little more, you would see miracles with the men in your lives. It is the nature of women to be narcissistic in most facets of their emotional needs with the exception of motherhood. If you dig deep inside yourselves and are truly honest with yourselves, you will believe that everything I have said here is the absolute, undeniable truth and it will change your lives.

  28. Great article, but another rare instance, I’m in a flipped situation. My wife seems to shut down on me whenever there is something that needs to be discussed. It’s always “we’ll talk tomorrow” or “I don’t know what to say” or even just sitting there in silence. When asked why she won’t talk to me, “I don’t know what to say.”

    I’ve tried telling her that I have emotional needs. She actually wants sex more than I do and I try to oblige even if I’m not feeling it at that moment. I’ve told her I don’t want to feel the need to look elsewhere for an emotional connection. She’s happy to talk about anything that doesn’t hold much meaning. She has told me that even her mother says getting stuff out of her is like “pulling teeth.” I thought it was funny, but now it scares me. How can I continue a marriage where I feel I’m the only one putting any effort forward?

    Sometimes I feel all she wants is sex. Example, we needed to talk about how we need to tighten our budget. She went from full-time to part-time because she said it was too stressful. I said ok. She still hates her job. When I told her we need to change something and wanted suggestions. I offered these: get a full-time job, move somewhere cheaper, or get a roommate. She was more in favor of a roommate as she “doesn’t want a full-time job.” I don’t want a roommate and we can’t afford to move. She wants to be a trucker, but that won’t happen for a while.

    I’m emotionally lost and feel like I’m living with a horny roommate due to the lack of communication. I know she cares about me, but I’m at a loss as to what to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not perfect. I’m sure I’m not doing something right, but how would I know if she wont communicate that? Please help!

    1. Chris, it’s difficult to know why your wife approaches life and love the way she does, but there is definitely a reason. You ask for “help.” I’m not sure if this will help or not, or if you’re a reader, but I’ve recommended the following book(s) to people in the past because it’s like getting hours and hours of therapy right at your fingertips. The following might help you in some way: – 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 (a lot like you). This book might give you insights into the distant way your wife treats you, as well. I’m thinking that this book might give you some insights that could help in some way that can’t be given through email or simple comments.

      I heard Milan and Kay Yerkovich being interviewed on a Focus on the Family program. It seemed to be very helpful in explaining how everyone’s childhood impacts their love styles as adults. There are 5 types of people: Avoider, Vacillator, Pleaser, Controller and Victim. They give lots of great examples on each. The good news is, they talk about ways to improve your own communication patterns so that you can interact more effectively with your spouse. They believe that through prayer, and learning improved communication methods, a relationship can be improved. Even if you’re the only one making conscious changes, it creates a shift in the relationship.

      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. And truthfully, even though we never expect the “worse” to come into effect when we marry and promise to love and work together, “for better or worse” … it DOES happen. I hope you’ll pick up the books, prayerfully glean through them to see what help and insight you can obtain. It’s sure worth the effort. God bless.

  29. Hello, I’ve been married for 20 years. We have three children. Our situation is the opposite. My husband is the revealer and myself being the concealer. Throughout our years I believe I’ve become the concealer due to past times of opening up to him about certain things, like having an eating disorder as a teen and still struggle with certain things to this day. For him to use it against me. Telling me I have mental issues. I have always been on an antidepressant, which he used this against me, making me feel inadequate.

    Please don’t think I sit around having a pity party. I don’t and I’m very confidant in who I am. I wish my husband would “value” for who I am. He wants me to do things his way, so he has told me. He insists his way will be better and everything will go so much more smoothly lol, and I’ll be happy also. I really try to understand him and try to see where he’s coming from. It’s hard; my brain doesn’t work that way.

    He handles all money, even money I inherited. He tells me to get a job but when I do he gets upset because I don’t discuss it first with him. I thought he would be happy…but nope. Threatens divorce when I don’t conform to his ways. Threatens not paying for our oldest child college if I don’t ask him before buying ANYTHING. Questions my parenting abilities. My boys, especially my middle, pretends he’s busy or preoccupies himself when my husband comes home from work. And yes I’ve tried talking to my husband about that. He blames me for how the kids perceive him, which I’m not that parent that uses her kids to bash her husband. They’re old enough to see and know what’s right and wrong.

    I honestly can’t say I like talking to him. Everything I share with him has always been used against me. I want to feel safe, treated as an equal, feel I have a purpose in this relationship, uncontrolled, respected, valued, etc… I could go on and on. And yes, I have voiced my thoughts and feelings to him, only to be put down and blamed for “his behavior” to be the cause to his actions. For this reason, I choose to stay silent. Thanks again, Kelley

    1. So sorry Kelly, that you find yourself in this place. I’m reminded of the article at http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/how-well-do-you-encourage-honesty/. Some spouses just don’t get it as far as what they do that keeps us from being able to be more connected and open to them, which ushers in a deeper love. Some will never get it, and others will get it late… waking up eventually. I don’t know what it is with your husband. I hope he eventually has an “ah-ha” moment and stops judging you and your motives the way he does. It definitely makes us want to clamp up and only talk on surface levels, at best.

      All you can do is the best you can do. Be careful to guard your heart though, because you are vulnerable to be swept away into an emotional affair (if not more). We might not think we would let ourselves get into that place, but when we hunger for more from our spouse (which we SHOULD expect) and we don’t get it, we need to be aware of temptation, which we could fall into. Don’t allow your need to drag you into falling into doing, that which you shouldn’t. It’s so good that your boys have a parent they can look up to and count as someone who is there for them, unconditionally.

      I’ve seen some spouses wake up later in life… so it IS possible. So, you might want to see if you can trust him with small things from time to time. But if not, just do the best you can –being smart and watching how he handles the money, and guarding your heart –finding good (safe) friends you can talk to about deeper issues. He will lose out, by his own doing, and so will you and your boys. It’s sad… but I have to tell you that I’m proud of you for trying to stay as positive about things as you can. May the Lord give you points of light within your life that will make your heart smile :)

  30. I really would like some advice please. My husband left me 4 months ago, and he has not made any attempt to contact me unless it’s me the one initiating the communication. I suffer from chronic depression and I had tried to take my life away. He was always supportive of me, even me being so sick. I tried my best to keep my head above water, but he told me that my illness has affected him even though I didn’t know to what extent. I apologized for him going through this with me and for the damage that it had affecting him.

    I offered to go marriage counseling or counselor help for both or which ever way he wanted it to go – with me or without me. He said maybe he will go by himself, but never happened. He started to change and is angry at me for everything that went bad and he puts the blame at me. So, he said that he needed space to think things over and I agreed even though it hurts so bad. He started changing the bank accounts only to his name, credit cards he removed me from any access even my cell phone. Since it was under his name he removed me from the access of making any changes. And he said that he wants a divorce.

    I just couldn’t believe what I heard. He just dropped the hugest bomb on me, and I freaked out and we got to an argument and told him that it was not fair because I had agreed that he needed some space and now he changed everything on me. He said that he coulnd’t do it anymore; that he was not in love with me anymore, and he hated coming home now. I said I am really sorry that you feel that way but it was never my intention to get sick but we should try to save our marriage. I always gave him chances when he messed up and that I deserved a chance too. He said “It its what It is,” I didn’t recognize him,like he was somebody else. It’s been 4 months since he moved out and I force myself to look for a part time job to pay the bills here at home and my children and me until we sell the house. So my question is, how can somebody walk away from you, even though he was always a caring person and I always made sure to tell him that and that I appreciated what he had done.

    I saw him today to give some papers and he didn’t have much to say and he tried to avoid much eye contact like he was nervous or tense. I told he that he looked good with his new hair style, but he didn’t have much of a reaction to it. Before I left I asked if he could answer a question for me, and he say yes. So my question is was if he was dating someone else. He said immediately no. I have already alot of problems that I dont need more problems right now. So I need some advice. I just dont know what to think anymore, I’m so confused. I love him very much and would like not to lose him, but it’s like I dont know my husband anymore; any advice please, I beg anybody that can give me some kind of wise advice.

    1. My sister in Christ my heart bleeds for you. I know God promises to never give more than we can bear, but some situations feel unbearable especially when there’s so much of everything invested in it. The only encouragement I can offer is to ensure that your walk with God is what God expects of you. Trust Him to work in your heart and implore His help in working on your husband while the two of you are separated.

      Just today I was reading an article on this website where the author spoke about the “Duck Principle.” This is when we get out of the way and let God do the work of restoration. In the meantime dwell on the Scriptures which explain how we are to be as Christian wives. It’s going to be a challenge but it’s better to be obedient to the call God has placed in His Word for you as a wife. Let Him do the work on your husband. I pray that the Glorious and Mighty Hands of God cover you both and bring new life in this marriage covenant that he has entrusted to you and your husband. My love and prayers to your family my sister. Blessings.

      1. As hard as it may be, you have to realize that silent treatment is abusive and destructive. If this is a pattern, the past behavior is a good indication of future behavior. Divorce is not good at all and should never be considered, but if one partner is not willing to work through problems, then the other partner lives a life of misery. I see relationships as a work situation… if you’re not happy in your work, you’ll start looking for another. In the courts I have experienced that once one partner wants to walk, they were in the past and are probably also now involved with another.

        They cannot COMMIT fully and the reason for is due to their past and upbringing. It’s called emotional unavailability. These persons need prayers and lots of it as wherever they go in life, this pattern will follow as most of them do not have God in their lives because they got hurt sometime and lost their faith. We, as people cannot fix this, we need to fix ourselves and protect ourselves. God is there for us. Sooner or later the answer will come even if it is not so good, but we must obey.

        It’s like the story of the Israelites strolling through the dessert in 40 years they could have done so in 4 days… In my case I was married 35 years; it was tough to make the decision to leave but the ignorance etc took a toll on me as it belittles you as a person completely. There are 2 factors that seem to be the MAIN factor in failing marriages/relationships: COMMITMENT AND COMMUNICATION. Those that struggle with both, are the ones that will eventually walk away. I used to say in court to people GO SEEK GOD FIRST AND FOREMOST before you make irrational decisions about your spouse, but because the ROOT is so deep since upbringing, people cannot do so as they do not understand HOW God’s will is working.

        I don’t really believe in therapy as every answer we need is written in THE BOOK. If people can only realize they only have to put GOD FIRST before their marriage/relationship, they’ll have a 100% success. But what do we do? We seek ourselves and only run to HIM if in trouble. Any marriage is a triangle. God on top husband right and woman left so HE will keep the husband SAFE in order to protect the wife and kids. Once the husband chooses to move out of that protection, that is when all starts to fall apart.

  31. I am 51 and he is 42. I care about this as I don’t like to “beat around the bush” nor does he per-say. I have lived with a very grand man. But BEFORE I moved in…it was understood that he would marry me after he graduated from college. He didn’t. Then he had grand plans to marry me where we met… so, so wonderful! …but he didn’t. Now it is 3 years later.

    We really are a good couple and I know he loves me dearly, but he won’t say one word about marriage, when I ask calmly, warmly as an adult about why he won’t marry me. I feel as I deserve an answer. He withdrew the communion obligation that we shared, is how I feel, whether it be a negative or a plus. I have integrity. I also have value and respect for myself, and he knows this, and he does too. We are intimate about everything else, and talk and laugh as a good relationship should. No other concerns or problems. Just this. —> Him clamming up when I introduce the conversation on marriage….?! I am hurt.

    I have expressed this in every way possible, and it’s eating me alive for the past year. Not even an engagement. We have a LOVING relationship. I have been in a state of depression over this. I am not obsessing, I check myself, but I am ready to leave the relationship as I feel he has no respect for me. Why is he doing this? Why does he not take my feelings into concern? He does on everything else? Why is he avoiding the conversation? Here and there he signals about marriage, in passing… like when we say cake knives…he thought they would be perfect….?? He just stares and seems as if he is not “there”. Not even a smile. A “I think we should not talk about it.” This is so unusual for him. HELP!

  32. I’m not talking to my partner of 11 years, I’m working longer hours to avoid her, I’m not seeing anyone else and can’t be bothered with intimacy. I am 100% physically functional.
    It’s just she bugs me and I can’t do or say anything without her pulling what I say to bits and questioning everything and going off on lots of tangents.
    I’m trying to be laid back and she is not letting me rest, it’s giving me chest pains.
    Her 3 kids and my 2 have all left home, she has no hobbies and I’m so tired of her making me her hobby.
    I let her be 100% free but I’m under the microscope.

  33. My wife is so mad at me that when I try to talk to her she starts yelling in front of our kids and says she’s done, and that I don’t get it that she don’t care anymore! I think she’s cheating on me. I don’t know what to do. HELP if you can or should I just give up and move on? Help me get control back!!