Why Won’t He/She Talk To Me?

Talk - AdobeStock_247261264There 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 talk to me before this. …”

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.

She Tried to Talk

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. We’re talking about the need to be listened to, to have feelings and emotions validated by their husband’s concentrated attention and understanding.

Men Do Have Emotional Needs

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. She feels like she never quite has that desire met by her spouse. She needs to talk to him and have him talk to her in connective ways.

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

They wrote:

Judy, an artist, was worried about preparations for an exhibition. She started to talk to Cliff, her husband that 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.

Can You Relate?

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.

He wrote:

Men in America feel that they ought to be able to deal with anything that comes along. They feel 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 to talk and ask questions.

A revealer is often full of questions and sees them as a way to maintain a conversation. They think, “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. Then they 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 when we talk.

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 when I don’t want to talk.

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?

Different Need to Talk About Feelings

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. It is 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 book, Opposites Attack, by Jack and Carole Mayhall. It was 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.

The Silent Treatment Can Go Both Ways

Before closing this article we want to acknowledge that silent treatments can go both ways. Sometimes it is the husband who is silent, and other times it is the wife. The reasons are many, as to why they choose to be verbally non-communicative. (Sometimes it is because of abusive situations, immaturity, taking a time out, or just not knowing a better way to handle a situation. There are other reasons, as well.) But one thing for sure, prolonged silence, or misused silence can block healthy communication from happening.

To give further insights into how to deal with the “silent treatment” and how to resist giving it when it’s not a healthy thing to do, here are a few additional articles you can read:


We pray this helps you in some way. If you have a tip that can help others, please join the discussion below. We would be most grateful.

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Filed under: Communication and Conflict

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

  1. (S.AFRICA)  Dear Mary, I am not an expert in giving advice and so I do hope and pray that my concern with regards to your situation is correct. I was married for 37 years and the same thing happened to me. You have to realize that the argument you had on the 1st of May is not the cause of him ignoring you but a slow build up of problems (unresolved) from over many years. My husband was having an affair at the time and your circumstances seem to reveal the same. For your sake I hope I am wrong.

    Do not ignore the situation but find the correct time to approach him and as kindly and respectfully let him know just how much he is hurting you. Ask him what needs to be done “from both sides” to fix the problem. I feel your pain Mary, it is soul destroying to be ignored. Pray and ask God to give you the strength and the correct words. If he does open up to you do not respond defensively as this will drive him even further away. Always approach topics of discontent with solutions in mind. I will remember you in prayer.

  2. (U.S.A)  I left my husband for the 3rd time 8 months ago. The first two were for around 5 months. We were both serving God the time before last when his addiction to the internet pornography and contacting other women took control. He is an habitual liar; his way of thinking and parenting is sooo off! We don’t have children together, but his two sons and my daughter have lived with us. I couldn’t get him to do any family things together, he would lie on the kids, make off the wall and hurtful comments. I couldn’t handle anymore and this time its been 8months. Yet, we see each other on the weekends and keep our kids together on our weekends that they are not with their other parents.

    He has hurt me for 10 years! He pushed me away and pushed me away, and although he is a compassionate man, he tries to make things right, and like myself, he came from a broken and abusive home as a child. I am too nice to him.
    He is still clingie, and always says I am his wife and even though we are separated, I don’t feel I’ve ever gotten away from him. It’s just like we live separately.

    I am not in love with him anymore. Something is keeping me hanging on and I know it’s not fair to him, but I can’t be with him. Some days he’s sweet and I think he is changing, and then he switches back to that negative off the wall attitude. For example he told me I was wrong for thanking him and telling him I appreciated him for driving my kids to youth group, being I am in school? He hung up on me and said he is my husband and not my friend.

    That is just my personality and he knows this! I wanted him to know he is appreciated and told him this and he wants to argue with me. His own parents, brother, cousins and kids say he is very complicated and his way of thinking is so difficult and he’s so argumentative. He thinks everyone is wrong and he is right. He says he supports me for going to school to be a nurse, but that it’s a waste of time.

    I am not intimate with him because I have my wall up and I don’t want to emotionally confuse him more than he already is. I want a divorce and I want to be free, but I am a born-again Christian and am afraid God won’t use me for his kingdom or remove his blessings from my life, even tho, God has heard my MANY nights of cries and prayers and has seen the depression I went through on my own.

    I am stronger now, but not sure why I won’t let go all the way. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been single since the age of 19. I am 35 now. We attend the same church and I honestly don’t know what to do. He made me so upset by his rude unnecessary comments two weekends ago, I opened my door and told him to leave. He wouldn’t leave, asked me for a kiss, and said again that he is my husband!

    He makes comments that are lies and hurtful! Then he says he’s sorry and he is trying to change, but I’ve heard that for 10 yrs now! He annoys me now and yet I still try to be nice. He says I am in menopause because I had a hysterectomy years ago, but I am only angry around him. Everyone else, even his own mother says it’s not me, because I will ask to see if I am not seeing something within myself.

    I have prayed for God to show me the way and show me what I need to change in myself, and I honestly, don’t see that it’s me and I don’t mean to sound arrogant at all. I am a very humble person.

    I feel if I don’t get answers soon, I am going to lose my mind. I need release, I need to let go and go on, but don’t know how to do it or continue my life like this. Thanks for listening.

    1. (ENGLAND)  Your situation sounds so very alike to mine… and they seem to have a knack of drawing the life out of us women without even trying! How selfish of them, why do we tolerate it? I am at a crossroads within myself, battling what to do, stay and fight till my last ounce of energy has been used? Wait and hope for change? Or take the easy way out and go… but even that would be a disappointment.

      I didn’t marry just to have a marriage. It was for sharing, caring, and fulfillment. It is such a disappointment when our partners don’t seem to feel the same about why they married… be brave and do deep down what you know is right :-). Good luck and hope he opens his eyes, his ears and pays attention at some point x Diane.

  3. (ENGLAND)  My husband and I have been married for 10 years, things started off pretty smoothly and I was excited and happy about the start of our lives together. Thus was my husbands second marriage; he had no children from that marriage but I had a daughter. About a year into our relationship I fell pregnant, we were both happy about it, but unfortunatley it wasn’t to be. I started bleeding and was miscarrying. I rang my husband in work to take me the hospital, he did… He dropped me off outside and decided to go back to work and left me standing there open mouthed bleeding and in complete shock at his actions.

    I dealt with the situation alone. That was the beginning of our troubles. He continued hurting me in different ways all just as painful as the first, but the reasoning behind all of his actions is because of 1 simple thing,,, he cannot or he refuses to communicate with me. He tells me he loves me, but that just isn’t enough. He can’t seem to show me, everytime he has pulled one of his stunts I bring the subject up and try to solve the problems but he refuses, he doesn’t think he needs to support me he thinks he’s doing that by working!

    At the same time he is resentful towards me because I am constanly angry at the moment and he can’t see it’s because I’m drained from trying to make this marriage work and see little to no effort from him. Recently my daughter (14) took an overdose of paracetomol and was hospitalised for a few days. I was a complete wreck and sunk into a depression, I sat 1 night pouring my heart out to him in floods of tears looking, needing and patiently waiting for some words of support and a hug. Sadly it never came. He has made me feel so empty and alone and I am to the point of leaving him because I feel I have no choice. I’ve explained to him I need to see a loving side to him but it just doesn’t seem to be there!!! I don’t know what to do :-(

  4. (USA)  You can’t live by your feelings, especially in marriage. Behave they way you would IF the feeling were already there. Feelings will follow the behavior.

  5. (USA)  I agree, feelings are often selfish. If we put our feelings above the feelings of our spouse, then that’s not marriage. If we put our spouses feelings above our own, then that’s more like the model of marriage the Bible teaches. If your feelings are leading you to sin, such as to divorce a spouse who is neither abusive, nor adulterous, then your feelings are not Godly, but selfish. We all cause one another pain. I’ve yet to see a scripture that says if you feel bad, get a divorce.

    How many of your feelings are from his actual actions and how many are from your stewing over the matter and working yourself into a lather about it? Given that you said you built the wall, I suspect the latter since he was walled out. How can you blame him for your feelings when you admitted you had him walled off? Those feeling couldn’t have come from him, they are from you.

    1. (US)  Satan can play some pretty ugly, covert passive aggressive games utilizing men dominating a woman under the disguise of servant- leadership. Satan loves to help man to NOT meet the desires of a woman’s heart, and turn and blame her for the hurt she feels, and the distance she needs, from the devil in him. And many people do the doubleturn and rend the woman on top of all that pain, and do not believe the man is capable of such!!!!!- remember that the flesh hates the woman!!

    2. Tony I appreciate your comment! It really helps me considering I am going through this now. I guess I’m more selfish than I thought, yet I blame him for the same thing.

  6. (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.

  7. (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.

  8. (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!!!

  9. (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.

  10. (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!

  11. (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.

  12. (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.

  13. (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.

  14. (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!

  15. (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