Looking at your relationship you see your husband as emotionally unavailable. You are becoming increasingly unhappy with your needs for intimacy being unsatisfied.
You find yourself regularly pursuing your husband while he just withdraws and closes up like a clam.
Have you ever thought about why your husband is emotionally unavailable?
In this post we will get the the heart of why your husband is emotionally unavailable. Where this is all coming from.
Related Post: What Does It Mean To Be Emotionally Unavailable?
Related Post: What Are The Signs Someone Is Emotionally Unavailable?
Influence Of Childhood
The way your husband relates goes all the way back to his childhood and even to his infancy.
God created us to need connection and the first place this begins is the relationship with our parents.
It has been said that the way a child is cared for the first few month of their life can affect the way they relate and have relationships with others throughout their whole lives.
Though it is possible for this to change for better or worse. That is… if the relationships and experiences make a strong enough impact to create change.
Overall the way people are raised as a baby and child sets the tone for becoming a secure individual or an insecure individual.
Parents that are tuned into their baby, provide for their needs and respond appropriately and swiftly to their cues will most likely have a secure child. The child has no fear of not having their needs met.
They know they will get what they need and trust their parents to meet their needs. They tend to be more caring and empathetic and they are not afraid to explore their surroundings.
But the parent that is distant, inattentive to their babies signals, misunderstanding of these signals and disruptive to their baby, will cause the baby great distress. This creates insecurity.
To deal with this stress the baby develops coping mechanisms in order to feel safe and relieve frustration or pain. They will form an unhealthy attachment with the parent such as anxious or avoidant attachment.
Relationship With Parent
The relationship with the parent is so important for future relationships.
Lets say the child is upset and crying and comes to the parent for comfort. Then the parent tells them that if they are going to cry then they need to go to their room. Instead of soothing or comforting the child, the parent is rejecting their feelings and punishing them.
This teaches the child when they are sad they need to isolate themselves from others and deal with the discomfort on there own. They start to believe it is wrong to seek comfort from others, shameful and not safe to do so. They must rely on themselves and stifle their desire for comfort and connection.
However the child still has a desire for their parents to be there for them they stop trying and just hope silently.
There are several things the parent does that can cause the child to develop an avoidant attachment style of relating. What we see as emotionally unavailable.
- When the parent ignores the child who is trying to express their needs.
- When the parent punishes the child for inconveniencing them, whether crying because of being upset, in pain or sick.
- When the parent rejects or criticizes them for not living up to there ideal.
- When the parent encourages the baby or child to be prematurely independent.
- When the parent sees the needs and emotions of the child irritating or overwhelming so they teach their child to behave and not make a scene. Which in the end teaches the child to down play there needs and ignore their feelings.
These children come from homes where affection is rarely shown and performance and good behavior is most valued.
The child’s learns they must be self reliant. The parents are not willing to be available to the child. In order to get connection from parents it is only by the child’s work ethic, achievements and independence. Basically they have to earn “love” from their parent which is more like temporary recognition.
Going to their parents for comfort when they are afraid, in pain or distressed is no longer thought of as an option. It would result in let down rejection, shame and pain.
The message they get from their parents is “Your fine, get over it and grow up!”
The child learns to disconnect from their physical needs and starts to rely strongly on self nurturing and soothing behaviors. They learn from these experiences that emotions are wrong and a weakness.
The child creates an illusion that they don’t need anyone and can completely take care of themselves as a way to cope with fear of rejection and abandonment.
This causes them to lose the motivation or desire to seek out other people for help or support.
What Is Driving Your Husbands Distancing Behavior
If you can gather, the ultimate driving force behind this emotional distancing is fear.
You husband anticipates rejection and being abandoned if they express how they really feel.
They are afraid that they are not enough, that they are unlovable or not worthy of love.
They believe maybe deep down emotions are bad, shameful, and a weakness.
They are not willing to be vulnerable and let down there guard only to get hurt like their parents did to them so many times in the past.
These feelings and beliefs are so ingrained that many times the person doesn’t even realize they are there.
Keeping emotional distance creates a sense of safety. Doing their own thing. Relying on themselves. Not taking risks that could cause pain. These things are emotional armor.
However there is hope! The way he relates can change, and a part of that depends on how you react to his avoidant tendencies.
It is important to understand your husbands upbringing because it is affecting the marriage relationship. Same as your upbringing affects the relationship.
Understanding why your husband has certain behaviors helps you to empathize with him and change your perception on why he acts certain ways.
It may not mean that everything he does is right or okay.
But it will help you when you start to make changes for a better marriage to know he is not doing these things on purpose or to intentionally disrespect or hurt your feelings.
The Main Take Aways
- Due to your husbands upbringing he tries to suppress emotions and sees them as unnecessary, shameful, and a weakness.
- Your husband fears you rejecting and abandoning him so he pulls away in an attempt to keep that from happening.
- He is afraid to open up and express how he feels because he grew up being rejected and punished for it.
- Your husband doesn’t understand how to rely on another person and sees that as neediness, a weakness and maybe repulsive.
- Your husband still needs intimacy but suppresses that urge because of his fears.
- Your husband may have difficulty showing love because he grew up in a home with little affection.
- Your husband can change over time if you change the way you interact with him and are consistent and patient.
The bad news you can’t make your husband change. Something you have probably heard over and over again. He does have to make the changes himself.
The good news YOU can change and cause an enormous positive impact on your marriage that can influence your husband to start reacting in more positive ways.
Ultimately you are not responsible for the way your husband decides to react and the choices he makes. You need to focus on how you react and decide
What Do You Think
Do you feel like you are the pursuer in the relationship doing all the work to keep things going?
Are you interested in finding out what you can do to make a positive impact in your marriage?
Stay tuned for more blog posts to come on the emotionally unavailable husband. By the grace of God I want to help marriages transform to what God has intended them to be. A beautiful partnership. An example of Christ and the church.