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My husband has closed off from me. What do I do?

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Hi Mark,

I find your articles extremely helpful. Thanks! I need some advice.

My husband is a nice man; we have been married for 23 years now and blessed with two boys. Recently, I am feeling very detached from him. He normally talks very little and is a little moody, but nowadays I feel like he's avoiding me on purpose. I know he does not have any other relationships, but that he does not give me much time is bothering me too much. I feel scared, insecure, and have this fear that he will leave me.

I was not like this even six months back; I was outgoing and okay with spending time by myself (since he was busy), but now I just can't. I feel I need reassurance from him time to time that he loves me and needs me. My heart starts pounding if I hear him talking on the phone with another lady colleague. I imagine a lot of stuff that may not be true, but I feel he needs to open up more to me and tell me everything. He does not.

I am just so confused about what to do. He seems to love me, but he has his own mood and sometimes shows that he does not care. I feel lonely at night too and can't sleep well throughout the night. Why am I being so fragile? Not sure, but it is not a good feeling.

This question was submitted by 'M D'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi and I'm glad you find my articles helpful. : )

It sounds like your husband has never been too forthcoming or communicative with you, although he is decent and caring. You say he seems to love you and I'd be interested to know how he shows that. But you feel that recently he has been purposefully avoiding you.

It could be that he has withdrawn a bit, but your imagination is doing the rest. It could be he has work pressures that he doesn't tell you about or other worries and is trying to protect you by not discussing them. Imagination, as you know, is really good at filling in the gaps when there's little information. You imagine he might leave you. Ask yourself how much of that fear is based on real evidence from what he is like and how he is and how much is a result of your imagination.

Couples can also get into the habit of not talking. Do you talk to him? Have you told him how you have been feeling lately? Not speaking produces 'paranoia', a misuse of the imagination. Rather than trying to guess what he's thinking and feeling, tell him how you feel. It might be that he is a bit of a 'withdrawer', especially when emotional issues are raised. But you could just tell him how you have been feeling without having a lengthy, sit-down 'emotional conversation'. Talk to him, but not so it feels like he's being interrogated. Men hate that. Okay, many men - and many women, too. He may feel as if you are somehow criticizing him, so be careful to tell him you are not and that you may be wrong about having felt more distanced from him recently, but it's just the way you feel and you want that to change. Then at least he knows it's an issue for you and will hopefully want to make you feel better; with your feelings shared, it would be down to him to make efforts.

It's important you do things just for the two of you. Make time to go out, just you two. Relationships thrive on good experiences (rather than only on a sense of duty). Do you do the things together you used to do? If not, then think about what you can reintroduce. It may be that you need to 'get the ball rolling' in order for you both to feel reconnected again.

It sounds like you have a fundamentally strong marriage and that you can both be loving and supportive.

All the very best,

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - March 9th, 2014 in

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