Feeling Alone and Depressed in Your Marriage? Long For Connection with Your Husband But It Feels Like He Has Checked Out of Your Relationship And It Is Making You Miserable?
Let’s find out what this is and why it is happening so you can better understand your husband’s side of things and become aware of your own feelings. Then we can talk about steps you can take to bring joy back into your life or at least contentment.
If you are reading this post then I am assuming that you are dealing with some sort of emotional wall from your husband.
I am really sorry that you are going through this, it is not easy and can be a very lonely and discouraging place.
I have experienced this as well. Luckily my marriage is a lot better off now than it was before. I’m not saying I never have anymore struggles, but now I at least have an idea of how to bring myself to a better place, which in turn improves my marriage.
Keep in mind that though, you may think that your husband is the one that is causing this distance, it could also be that you are unknowingly contributing to pushing him away and causing him to withdraw.
By any means most problems in marriage are not one sided. As they say it takes two to tango.
I am hoping to bring understanding and wisdom to this distressing situation. So that you can do something about it, instead of feeling helpless in this predicament.
Your marriage will always be a work in progress. There is always room to grow and for it to get better, you just need to not give up.
Also keep in mind that anything is possible with God. So hang in there and let God know your struggles. Ask him for guidance. He really does care and waits for us to ask for his help. It may not be immediate but if you are willing to wait and trust him miracles do happen!
In This Post We Will Discuss
- What does it mean to be emotionally distant?
- What it feels like for you when your husband is emotionally distant and why.
- What emotional distance looks like…the signs.
- Reasons your spouse may be emotionally distant.
- What you can do to bring joy into your life again or at least contentment.
The most common scenario from the research I’ve done and my own experience is that the wife seeks more connection. While the husband wants to avoid the connection and isn’t comfortable about opening up about his emotions.
Like I just said, sometimes it is us causing our husbands to withdraw. It’s not that he just one day randomly decided he wanted to start to ignore us and push us away.
Disclaimer: I am not a marriage counselor or a therapist. I’m just a wife who has some experience going through this in the past. I am giving my advice from my experience and from what I’ve learned through research. I am hoping it can help you move forward.
What is Emotional Distance Anyway?
Emotional distance is a coping mechanism. In marriage this is often used as a way to avoid something that usually causes a lot of anxiety. They don’t want to deal with whatever it is, that bothers them so much that they will go to certain lengths to avoid facing it.
Emotional distance is a sort of emotional numbing or dissociation. The person feels a threat and builds up walls to try to protect themselves.
How You May Feel When Your Husband is Emotionally Distant?
There are probably many feelings courses through your veins some you can recognize and some you may not yet have discovered.
Being aware of our emotions gives us more control rather than hiding from them and numbing ourselves to them. Emotions can affect our believes. If you don’t know how you are feeling then you are at a disadvantage… it will be much hard to decipher if what you are believing is truth or if it is a lie.
It also makes it harder to implement change. Because change is intentional that requires awareness.
So stay here for a minute and see what pops up as far as how you might feel. Take it in and identify what feelings you have been harboring all this time.
Why might you feel these things?
Well in the beginning of your relationship I would take a wild guess and say that you felt like you were in love and there was a spark. You found your soulmate. The one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Most people don’t plan to marry someone they will want to divorce in the future.
So how did you go from feeling on top of the world to feeling the horrible things I listed above.
- You want connection but you feel so disconnected.
- You want physical affection but you receive little to none.
- You want affirmation of this love but you aren’t hearing it.
- You want him to show you he loves you but he is acts like he doesn’t care.
- You want to feel desired and pursued but that seems to have been forgotten long ago.
- You want him to be supportive but instead he is critical.
- You want him to hear your opinion and consider your point of view but he acts like anything you say is useless.
- You try to make compromises but he only wants it his way.
- You want him to be open but he is closes himself off from you.
Everything seems to have changed in your relationship. No more flowers or gifts. No more extra effort to show that he cares. It’s almost like you were once best friends and lovers and now you have become enemies.
But just because you feel all these things and your husband may actually be pushing away emotionally and avoiding connection that doesn’t mean he is doing this to hurt you on purpose or that he is even totally aware he’s doing it.
What Are Signs Your Husband is Being Emotionally Distant?
Just a side note… your husband may show some of the following signs but not necessarily all of them. Just because he may do one or two of these things doesn’t mean he is emotionally distant. Men tend to have a harder time than woman emotionally connecting in general.
Your husband spends too much time in his hobbies.
For example: Most of the afternoon and evening hours he’ll spend his time playing computer and/ or video games.
Your husband spends more time with extended family, friends, co-workers, fellow church members but doesn’t have much time for you.
Your husband works a lot of extra hours at his job and doesn’t make an effort to spend time with you.
Your husband may seem to push you away with his body language, words and/ or attitude.
Your husband may seem to be, not all that compassionate or empathetic.
Your husband spends a lot of time on his own.
Your husband may tell you one thing to get you off his back but then does the opposite.
For example: He may say he cares about what you think and values your opinion. But then his actions show that he didn’t really care about what you thought.
Your husband may be sarcastic towards you, or critical about your actions or choices you’ve made.
Your husband may appear to be selfish, controlling or dominant over you.
Your husband may give you minimal communication or even the silent treatment.
Your husband may not have a lot of room for grace when it comes to you making mistakes.
Your husband may act jealously toward you.
For example: He may make comments about how you have it easy and he has it hard.”
Your husband may hold things against you and bring them up often.
Your husband may only be physically affectionate when having sex or he might just avoid even having sex at all.
Is It Your Husband, Is It You, Is It Both Of You?
This is something you will have to evaluate and be honest about. There are always two sides to the story.
At first I thought it was my husband that was causing this turmoil in me. I remember being really angry and upset. All I could only think about was his flaws and negative things that he was doing to me.
I assumed he should just know what I needed and wanted. I had these expectations of marriage and what my partner should act like. He was not reaching most of my expectations and I was very disappointed and depressed about it.
Could This Distance Be Caused By Something Outside Of Your Marriage?
The way we were treated and raised in our childhood can translate into our marriages. How we deal with relationships, how we cope with conflict, how we communicate, how trusting we are… etc. I found an article that articulates this pretty well.
How Childhood Experiences Impact Marriage Relationships By Kay Yerkovich with Milan Yerkovich
They talk about 5 different love styles that have been rooted in us since childhood that explain our behavior. You can have more than one love style as well. I remember I found the Love Style Quiz a while back to find out my husbands and my own love style. We both had a few different love styles but also each had a main one.
- The Avoider- This was my husbands main love style.
- The Pleaser
- The Vacillator- This was my main love style.
- The Controller
- The Victim
God is at work in our lives and marriages and wants us to live life fully, abundantly and be filled with his joy! However the enemy is also at work in our lives and he wants to tear down our lives and our marriage.
There are many ways the enemy can creep into our marriages. I found this article pretty helpful for dealing with spiritual warfare in the marriage.
When the Enemy Attacks Your Marriage By Rhonda Stoppe
Don’t dismiss that Satan may very well be attacking your marriage. Remember your husband is not your enemy.
Stress From Work
This can definitely be causing distance in your marriage. Both sides get affected by work stress even if it is only one spouse that is actually being stressed from their job.
If your husband is experiencing work related stress he may have a short fuse and be prone to snapping at you. He may feel offended if you don’t seem to have enough sympathy for him.
You might feel like you are walking on eggshells when he comes home from work.
Reasons for his Work-Related Stress
- If his job is a high risk to his life or a financial risk.
- The pay is low and he is having trouble providing for the family.
- If there is a pressure to perform well.
- If there are constant deadlines that he is responsible to fulfill.
- If there are long hours.
- If there’s a lack of control in the workplace.
- Being micromanaged by superiors.
- If there is a work change that has no benefit except to cause more work or problems.
- No praise or recognition from superiors.
- Constant criticism of work performance.
I found an article from Psychology Today that I think would be helpful to read.
How Stress Can Bury Love – The Way Back – by Randi Gunther Ph.D.
It is a story that puts the husband’s side of the story into perspective. It doesn’t condone the wrong choices he makes dealing with his wife but I believe it helps us see how our other half may be feeling.
I think it is obvious that infidelity in a marriage whether physical or emotional will cause distance in a marriage. I won’t go into too much detail about it, I don’t have experience with being cheated on… thank god! I feel really bad for anyone that has gone through this. It is such a strong breach of trust and hurtful in the worst way.
In the case of a husband being unfaithful he may try to be secretive about it. Maybe he feels guilt and he can’t face you. Maybe he is being selfish and feels you aren’t giving him what he wants.
Whatever the reason… there is always hope for things to turn around as dark as it may seem. If you are going through this right now there are resources out there that can help you and your marriage pull through.
Here are some resources I found for affairs that may be helpful:
- Free Resources from AffairRecovery.com
Surviving Infidelity” Links and Recommended Resources from MarriageMissions.com
Affairs/Marital Infidelity Series by FocusOnTheFamily.com
Article Resource for How to Survive Infidelity by MarriageBuilders.com
- Community Forum For Those Overcoming Infidelity bySurvivingInfidelity.com
Why Your Husband May Be Distancing Himself?
- May feel stressed for whatever reason.
- He may feel like you are criticizing him.
- He doesn’t want to feel controlled by you.
- Relationship is more of a state of being and men tend to want to reach a goal and accomplish something, rather than just be.
- Depression or Anxiety
- Doesn’t like to deal with emotions and sees them as a weakness.
- He is holding a grudge.
- You guys have been arguing.
- He may be tired. I know my husband gets grumpy when he is tired.
- He feels like the relationship is boring and excitement has faded.
- You are being too needy, available and he feels suffocated.
- If you have changed and your husband doesn’t know how to deal with it
- Big change new child, new job, health issue, family related issue etc.
- If your husband feels unloved.
What You Can Do To Bring Some Joy Back Into Your Life...
Your husband is not responsible to make you happy and you are not responsible to make your husband happy.
Don’t Expect Change
Don’t expect you can change your husband and don’t even expect your husband to change himself at all. Think of this as setting yourself free, from waiting around for him to change, and getting more frustrated that you aren’t seeing a change. That being said I am not saying God can’t or won’t change a person but leave that business to God.
Love Them As They Are
Though it can be hard to love someone who you feel is not loving you back… learn to love them how they are at this moment. Don’t wait to love them when they are how you want them to be, because it may never happen. This is love like Jesus has for us. He loved us all… despite men hating him. Love is not just a feeling it is an action.
One thing I found to help me love someone being “unloveable” is to pray for them. Whether that is praying for their salvation, praying for something they have been working toward, something they are struggling with, praying for blessing over them or even asking them if there is anything they would like you to pray about for them. Overtime it helps you to see the person in a different light.
Let Go Of Expectations
Unmet Expectations become like chains of bitterness. Give up your expectations and don’t expect anything. This will also free you from the disappointment that comes when expectations are not met.
Be An Encourager
Don’t expect anything in return. When you see your husband trying to do better or doing anything slightly helpful. Maybe he has a new outfit or hair cut. Compliment him. Tell him good job if he got a promotion or accomplished something,
Apologise if You Lose Your Cool
Understand there will be times when you lose your cool. We are human we feel things and get frustrated, offended, defensive, upset etc. It is going to happen at some point. If you get to that point and lose it, saying something hurtful… then apologise for what you said, but you don’t have to apologise for how you feel. You have a right to feel emotions, you just need to be careful how you handle those emotions.
Worry About Changing Yourself
We all have our own set of issues. It’s easy to point out someone else’s flaws and voice out how they are doing something wrong have slighted us, but hard to see what problems we ourselves have. Maybe you need to work on patience, compassion, understanding, listening skills, empathy, not interrupting, control issues, anger issues, better self care, cleaning skills, generosity, being more encouraging, or being more positive.
Prayer Time: Find a quiet place. Get your prayer journal out. Ask God what area or areas of weakness you need to work on. Just relax, close your eyes and wait. Trust that God will provide you with answers. Whatever thoughts come about what you need to work on… write them down. Believe that God can communicate to you through the thoughts in your mind. It may sound like your own thoughts, that’s okay write it down. After you get that all down. Pray in the name of Jesus, that God changes your heart and your mind to overcome these struggles.
Let Yourself Have Some Fun
What hobbies have you let fall to the wayside that you used to enjoy. What hobbies or things have you wanted to do but never took the time for it, Take the time now for these things. Add some much needed fun to your life again.
For me that would definitely be horseback riding!
Spend Time With Friends
Spending time with friends can help fill the hole of loneliness you may be feeling in your marriage. Go out and have fun together, go to the movies, shopping, fun events, get your nails done, go to the barn and ride together. Make sure you are spending time with other Woman friends not Men because that can open up a whole new can of worms. You will always be at risk of developing an affair whether mentally or physically. It could devastate your marriage.
Take Time to Destress
It’s hard to do or want to do anything when we are stressed and uptight. Not to mention we are much more apt to snap or lose control of our temper when stressed. Take the time to relax, unwind, decompress and let it go. We all deal with stress in different ways and I believe the same is true for the way we get rid of stress.
Things To Do That May Help You Destress
- Yoga or some other form of exercise.
- Coloring book, drawing, painting
- Writing in a journal to express your feelings
- Reading a good book
- Watching a movie or your favorite tv show
- Taking a hot bath or shower with candles, music
- Taking a walk outside
- Taking some time with God… bible study, devotional, just talking to him, reading the bible, praying for someone.
- Horseback riding … haha!
What ways do you like to destress? Write it in the comments. I would love to hear how you guys go about it.
Ask Jesus for help. Pray for your areas in your marriage that need work. Pray for your spouse. Pray for patience when dealing with your family. God is good and he is for you not against you. Pray for protection from the enemy who seeks to steal kill and destroy you and your family.
Count Your Blessings
Similar to prayer, this is something I do often when I am feeling negative. I start to list all the blessing I can think of that I have in my life. I think about how that blessing has impacted my life and I thank God for them.
Change Your Way of Thinking
The bible tells us to renew our minds. If we are not careful we can be consumed with negativity. It is imperative that we continually renew our mind with the truth of God through the bible. Here are some bible verses about renewing the mind.
Other Tips That May Help
- Care about your husband’s feelings more about getting what you want.
- Try to understand the insecurity that is causing these walls and empathize with the person
- Don’t take it personally if they want space, respect their wishes and work on your self care or develop new hobbies. Spend time with your kids.
- Don’t get discouraged and depressed keep busy and focus on your goals
- Understand they may be going through something.
- Understand triggers that may set your husband off to become emotionally distant and try to avoid them.
- Combat negative feelings toward your spouse by doing something loving or kind despite feeling the opposite.
- Work on other areas of your life that bring happiness
- Don’t Obsess over the distance in your relationship and play stories and scenarios in your mind making it even worse than it is. This is the opposite of renewing your mind.
- Set Goals you can focus and work on. Always feels good to accomplish something even if it is nothing big,
Are you struggling with an emotionally distant husband or have you dealt with this in the past?
Feel free to share your story or offer encouraging words for those dealing with this.