Maybe you feel like the connection is lost. Your husband seems more like a roommate than a spouse. He does his own thing and isn’t all that interested in what’s going on with you.
You notice his default is to withdraw and retreat from you. Even when it seems like you are doing your best to re-connect with him. Showing him your love and patience, trying to explain the situation and your feelings.
Does this sound like you? Do you wonder whether your husband has cut you off emotionally?
I am not a counselor, a psychologist or a relationship coach. But I am a wife that is married to an emotionally unavailable husband. I have been struggling with many of these behaviors soon after we got married. I have been researching this topic for the past couple years to try to improve my own marriage.
It has been hard and painful at times. And honestly it’s hard to write about because it brings me back to the hopelessness and loneliness I used to feel all the time. And sometimes still feel here and there, though now much more rarely.
But I hold onto the promises of God. Nothing is impossible for him. He has a hope and a future for us and his plans are to prosper us and not harm us, despite what the enemy throws our way.
A few years later my husband still has these tendencies which I believe are so ingrained he is not even aware of them and doesn’t see them as a problem, because they are his norm. However so much has improved in my marriage and slowly continues to get better.
Once I started to rely on God to do what I couldn’t and to help me focus on what I could control and stop trying to change my husband, things started to get better.
There is still much to be improved but when I look back and see how my husband and I changed. I have to be thankful and realize all is not lost.
I am going to stop there with my story for now but I just want you to know you are not alone and there is hope for your marriage.
Today I am going to give you the signs that will tell you if your husband is emotionally unavailable or if you just think he is and are labeling him as so.
By the way if you are pregnant and would like to know some ways to have your husband be a part of the experience. Check out my post 51 Ways To Involve Your Husband With The Pregnancy.
In This Post I will Go Over:
- Behaviors to look out for that mean your husband may be emotionally unavailable.
These are the signs and behaviors to look out for, to help determine if your husband is emotionally unavailable or not.
However keep in mind that if your husband has some of these behaviors it doesn’t mean he is emotionally unavailable.
Also if your husband is emotionally unavailable it doesn’t mean he will have all these behaviors.
1. Spends Most Of His Free Time Alone
Chrissy heard the front door open and close. Then there was silence except for the shuffling of feet and rustling papers. She waited for a hello but instead heard the sound of steps climbing up the stairs.
Eventually Sam came back downstairs and around to the room where Chrissy sat curled up on the couch reading a book. He walked over giving a quick hello and kiss on her forehead.
Then Sam wandered off to his computer, where he would spend the rest of the evening on the computer playing video games, drinking a couple beers and staying up late into the night.
Sam never thought to sit down with Chrissy and ask how her day went. She would be lucky to have him grace his presence with her for dinner. The norm was for him take his dinner to his computer.
Sam would say the computer is how he is able to relax. But it has been taken to the extent that there is never time left to spend with Chrissy. She cringed as she heard the clickity clack of the keyboard and the cursing that followed Sam getting killed in digital combat.
Chrissy missed the days where Sam seemed to love spending as much time with her that he could.
Takeaway: Is your husband using his free time for things he wants to do and his hobbies, instead of spending time with you?
There are other reasons he may work a lot.
Some examples of other reasons besides emotionally unavailable:
- He is trying to bring in more money so you can afford your bills
- He wants to be a good provider and for you to be happy.
- His job has asked him if he could fill in more.
- His workload has been more hefty and he needs to stay overtime.
- He is a yes man and has trouble saying no to helping.
Example of being Emotionally Unavailable:
Jane has been trying to talk to her husband Bob about how they are not spending enough time together, but he just keeps saying he has to get work done, doesn’t have time to talk, he is so busy.
Bob works extra hours at the office and sometimes even at home as a way to keep Jane at a distance. The tension between them is making him uncomfortable.
He tells himself he is trying to provide for the family has a lot on his plate and Jane is being unreasonable and putting extra pressure on him.
Takeaway: Make note if he tries to regularly evade you with being busy at work and is never trying to make an effort to spend time with you.
3. Unfulfilling Sex Life
There are two behaviors I know of that emotionally unavailable tend to do.
Steven and Erica haven’t had sex in 4 months. It became less and less frequent until Steven seemed to lose interest all together. It is painful for Erica because she feels rejected and unwanted.
Takeaway: He is avoiding sex to also avoid intimate emotional connection.
Jeffrey is all over Sara when they go to bed. They have sex a few times a week. He hardly touches or kisses Sara unless he wants sex. And after he gets what he wants and says that was great. He retreats to do whatever it is he feels like doing. Watching TV, going to sleep, going on the computer, as if they didn’t just have sex. Sara feels used and unloved. She wants him to express his love to her, stay with her and cuddle her, but she is left disappointed.
Takeaway: If he only seems affectionate during sex and not during your day to day it is because he is using sex as a physical release, not an emotional connection.
Either way it leaves you feeling unsatisfied.
4. Avoid “Talks”
In general you can talk about the weather with your husband and maybe he might go on about something that happened at work, his to do list, the work shop his is working on in the basement or his favorite football team.
But when you guys…
need to take the time and talk about the ugly truths, [feeling], the insecurities, the boundaries of “this is not OK for me”. Your emotionally unavailable husband will avoid entering any conversation of this sort because this makes him feel insecure and unsafe.Blayne Ketcham, (Check out his blog at atrue.love)
Takeaway: Your husband will try different tactics to avoid conversations that involve emotions, feelings and things that make him uncomfortable.
5. Unyielding To Change In Routines
You may remember him saying.
“I hate change.”
“This is the way I am. Accept it. I am not going to change.”
He has ways of doing things and he is unwilling to change whether it’s harmful to your relationship or not.
- He may only listen to music he likes on car ride. He may only go out to eat at restaurants of his choosing.
- He may do the same thing day after day and be stubborn about keeping it that way.
- If you do out together it will only be if it is something your husband wants to do, like go to the arcade. Doing an activity you want to do like going to movies or go to a festival is out of the question, because that’s not something he likes to do.
- If he stayed up late at night before he met you, he continues to do this throughout the marriage and it seems you hardly ever go to bed together at the same time.
Takeaway: He seems stubborn and is ultimately acting like a control freak.
6. Seems Selfish And Narcissistic
He acts like the world revolves around him.
Tony decided to get a new car because he wanted one and felt like he deserved one. However he never asked his wife Linda what she thought or her opinion.
When she found out his plans. She was against them because they were supposed to be saving money for a new house.
Tony ignored her and went ahead and bought the car anyway. After all he was the breadwinner and deserved it.
A man who adopts such an attitude avoids making compromises, because he wouldn’t want to look weak – as men need to be strong and powerful.Blayne Ketcham, (Check out his blog at atrue.love)
Takeaway: He is acting indifferent to whether you are happy and feel secure in the marriage. Any action or choices he makes seems to be able fulfilling his desires. He doesn’t asks you how you are doing or for your opinion on something. He is always putting himself and his desires above you.
Molly wanted to surprise her husband Dan who had been gone on a business trip for two weeks. She had the neighbors watch her baby, a few times during those two weeks, while she cleaned the house and neatened all the rooms.
She also bought a few new decorations for the fall season.
When her husband first came home, he didn’t even notice all the work that Molly had done.
After he threw his clothes in the laundry and starting putting things away, he yelled down to Molly about his dresser and how everything was in the wrong spots and that he was going to have to fix everything.
Then he comes down to the kitchen and sees dishes in the sink. He comments how there are always dirty dishes in the sink and then goes on to say the recycling hasn’t even been taken out. He then goes on about how his mother always kept the house so organized and cooked amazing meals.
Molly is very hurt that he doesn’t even notice the work she did to surprise him and Dan doesn’t notice Molly is even upset.
Takeaway: You can never be good enough for your husband. He makes comments how you could have done x better. He criticized everything you do sometimes even who you are, like your personality, looks, quirks and interests.
He seems to compare you to others and seems to wish you were like a different person.
8. Blames Instead Of Taking Responsibility
Nothing can be your husbands fault.
You bring up and issue he attempts to turn it around to make it seem like you are the one causing the problem. And that you are unreasonable and not being fair.
Men who are afraid of intimacy are scared to admit to their mistakes; that is why they place the blame on the partner .Blayne Ketcham, (Check out his blog at atrue.love)
He will have a million excuses for why something is not his fault.
It seems like he can never own up and take responsibility when he has been wrong and you will have to dig it out of him if you ever want a sorry.
If he is pressed about something he did, his default reaction is to become defensive.
Takeaway: He will not own up to hurting you and will divert the blame. You won’t get an apology, because in his mind it is not his fault. If he does say sorry it is most likely not because he means it but because he wants you to drop it.
9. He Is A Closed Book
Your husband is always throwing out mixed signals and it gets confusing.
When you think you have a grasp on how he is feeling, he says or does something that brings you back to square one.
At work your husband texts you how he’s been thinking about you and how he wishes he could have sex with you right then. He hugs you when he gets home. You waited for him to make his move… but nothing.
Nighttime comes around you guys get all comfy in bed and he turns his back on you as he tries to fall asleep. As if his texts earlier meant nothing. You wonder why he even bothered texting you.
Feels like you can’t understand him.
It’s like a puzzle with loads of missing pieces.
Takeaway: His actions don’t often line up with what he says. He often doesn’t do what he says he is going to do. Very difficult to really know how he feels.
10. You Feel Lonely
It is common to feel alone when your husband is emotionally unavailable.
Examples of feeling alone:
He has pushed you away to the point you feel like roommates.
- When you need him to help you he says to figure it out yourself.
- When you need someone to talk to because of a bad day he is not there to listen.
- When you want to cuddle he says he’s busy. Later maybe. But later usually never happens.
- He doesn’t seem to like spending time with you.
- You don’t have many friends and they are busy plus you live far from family.
Takeaway: You will feel like an inconvenience and not prioritized in your husbands life. You don’t feel like you are even in a romantic relationship or even a friendship.
11. Lies To You
Because everything is about your husband and keeping you from getting too attached or close. He is willing to lie if it benefits him.
Examples Of Why He May Lie:
- He may lie to get what he wants.
- He may lie about not remembering something he did that hurt you.
- He may lie about doing something or being willing to change himself to get you off his case… at least for a little while… till he does it again.
- He may lie in an attempt to keep you from ending the marriage.
Takeaway: If he is regularly lying to you it shows that he has an emotional disconnect.
12. Gas lighting
This is actually emotional abuse.
Your husband may use gaslighting to hide things he doesn’t want you to realize.
There are different techniques to gaslighting. To learn more about gaslighting and the techniques, check out this article Gaslighting Definition, Techniques and Being Gaslighted from healthplace.com.
Somethings your husband may say when he is gaslighting you:
- “I’m not going to discuss this with you anymore. The conversation is done.” Avoiding talking with you about something.
- “You are playing games to confuse me .” He makes himself the victim and trying to change the topic because supposedly doesn’t know what your talking about.
- “You always forget what happened.” But you do remember your husband is acting like you don’t remember things correctly.
- “You overreact over everything. Your too emotional.” He is trying to making you insecure and unsure of your thoughts and feelings.
Check out the article above for more information.
Takeaway: Pay attention if your husband makes you feel like your really forgetful or crazy.
13. Lack of Compassion or Empathy
He doesn’t seem to be able to empathize with you or understand how you feel. He doesn’t really seem to care about what your going through.
He is often not supportive when you need him to be. When you are sick he doesn’t do anything to comfort you or help you.
He may say things like
- “You are being a baby.”
- “You are too emotional.”
- “You’re independent you don’t need my help.”
- “You’re fine stop complaining.”
Takeaway: He never seems to be able to put himself in your shoes.
14. Silent Treatment
This is another form of emotional abuse. The silent treatment is when someone acts like you don’t exist even if you are right there talking to them.
This is manipulation and a form of trying to control someone.
This article also from healthy place gives a good explanation of the silent treatment. Check out their article. The Silent Treatment: Are You Getting the Cold Shoulder?
“The person giving the cold shoulder has all the power and creates a situation wherein all the attention is focused on him (or her), and what he perceives as being wrong. The silent treatment is often given as a form of punishment in a relationship and psychologists consider the silent treatment as a form of abuse. “Natasha Tracy healthyplace.com
Takeaway: Take notice if your husband gives you the silent treatment when you have upset him.
15. You Put More In Than You Get
No matter how much you try, whether that’s reading about how to be a better wife and doing your best to show him all the ways you love him and appreciate him, it seems like it’s all one sided and not reciprocated.
You put in so much effort and he takes what he wants from that. In return you’d be lucky if you got a thank you. He doesn’t put an effort to show you his love though he might say that he loves you.
He doesn’t think to surprise you or take you out for your anniversary. He doesn’t even wrap your gifts for Christmas or your birthday. Just throws them in a plastic grocery bag.
It’s hurtful his thoughtlessness and sometimes you want to just give up.
Takeaway: You will feel like the relationship is mostly one sided.
Video: Spotting an Unavailable Partner
What To Do Now?
You have now become aware that your husband is most likely emotionally unavailable. But you don’t know what to do to fix the situation.
Or maybe you’re still not sure if he is or not. Take this quiz to help you better determine if your husband may be emotionally unavailable.
Now that you know your aware of your husbands current state.
Not so that you can fix the problem… yet.
The next thing you will want to do is to continue to build your awareness of your situation. Find out how he became emotionally unavailable.
This will help you understand where he is coming from. You will be able to see his perspective better and empathize with him. Though not necessarily accept bad behaviors.
First step to positive change in your marriage is becoming aware of your situation and the next step is to put yourself in your husbands shoes and understanding the why for his behaviors better.
I will be creating a series of blog posts on the emotionally unavailable husband so stick around the next few weeks.
Answer These Two Questions In The Comments 🙂
Out of all the signs listed here which one is the hardest on you?
If you could change one thing in your marriage what would it be?
Feel free to share your story or offer encouraging words for those dealing with emotionally unavailable husbands.
Hang In There Wifey,