man walking on road alone

Married to an Emotionally Unavailable Man

  • April 27, 2016
  • / By Blayne Ketcham

How to Tell If You’re Married to an Emotionally Unavailable Man

So, you got him to give you that diamond ring you’ve set your eyes on, said your vows, and you’re finally married. But then, how come you still feel alone most of the time?

Even though feeling alone in a marriage may seem, at first sight, similar to an oxymoron, it’s not. In fact, that only means you’re married to an emotionally unavailable man. This emotional distance is an obstacle to fostering a healthy relationship.

Perhaps, at first, you didn’t observe your partner as being emotionally distant.

In the beginning, your husband’s emotional unavailability was either portrayed in a need of privacy, or in settling a so-called respectful distance. However, in time, this distance and lack of sharing became hurtful and is now similar to an emotional separation.

Communication is truly the glue that holds a marriage together – and when it’s deficient, or almost nonexistent, what can you possibly do? Or, to put it roughly – is it possible to live a happy marriage life with an emotionally unavailable man?

What is emotional unavailability?

Interestingly, one of the weirdest things in life is that we have an inborn tendency to reject the things that we need the most. That means that if your husband is emotionally unavailable, he is in fact yearning to feel connected with you and open up. Yet, the fears he has developed over the years and the mechanisms of defense are next to impossible to fight.

Generally speaking, a man’s emotional unavailability is entirely different from a woman’s. That is because of our society’s conditioning. Plus, we experience interpersonal bonding completely different than you [women] do.

Most men feel that being emotionally available isn’t only about sharing their emotions and feelings. In fact, they’re not big fans of oversharing just for the heck of it or being dramatic over something that happened. But a man is more likely to share something that he conveys as relevant for fostering a bond – that happens when the guy is emotionally available. But, it seems that the coping strategies your husband developed in time prevent him from doing so.

You need to accept that you cannot change your partner if he doesn’t want to change, as much as you love him. His mechanism of defense is something he has to work on by himself, the moment he acknowledges that it’s causing him to be distracted and distant. But something that you need to bear in mind is that being emotionally unavailable isn’t, by all means, related to love. It’s a problem deeply rooted in emotional traumas.

Plus, one can acknowledge his emotional status and aim at altering it.

So, the good news is that you can motivate your partner to surpass his emotional problems, but you cannot do the work for him – that’s something you should take your mind off of.

As a matter of fact, based on my extensive experience, this pattern isn’t at all unknown to me. Underneath, there are deep sentiments of hurt, rejection, not feeling good enough, and so on. But when one moves into a space of availability, one can feel the emotion and establish profound, more authentic connections.

Here comes a list of the initial signs of unavailable emotional husbands and a few guidelines on how to address them.

  • Placing the blame on the partner

If your husband tends to run away from any responsibility, even when he’s done something that hurt you, then he’s emotionally unavailable. There’s no fighting that.

Not admitting to your mistakes, and running away from their inevitable consequences is a hallmark that screams out loud: “emotional unavailability.”

In fact, men who are afraid of intimacy are scared to admit to their mistakes; that is why they place the blame on the partner (lying to themselves that it isn’t their fault that the relationship’s not working).

  • Avoiding any serious talks

Now and then, for a relationship to work, the partners need to take the time and talk about the ugly truths, 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.

A man who is emotionally unavailable has to take the time to analyze his feelings and comprehend the underlying root to each of them.

He needs to become comfortable with his past negative experiences, behavior and history. But, as you may know, admitting to your insecurities and fears requires incredible strength.

One reason your partner might avoid opening up is because of your past reactions to this kind of conversation. Think about it – what was your last response when your husband opened up to you? If your approach wasn’t soft, calm and supportive, this might be the reason any serious talk remains hanging in the air.

  • Everything is all about him

A man who has lived almost his entire life by himself is more than inclined to develop a distant attitude, even after tying the knot. It’s important for both women and men to acknowledge that, when entering a marriage commitment, one needs to think of matching the partner’s needs, wishes and wants.

Suddenly, everything’s no longer about you. Being self-absorbed is a typical defense mechanism for emotionally unavailable men, that’s for sure. 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.

What you need to comprehend is that we express and feel things differently than women. When you’re using the wrong approach to get to the heart of an emotionally unavailable man, things can get pretty ugly. This isn’t always the case – but it works both ways.

The bottom line

Don’t get tricked into believing that you need to do your husband’s job of figuring out how to surpass his emotional intimacy issues. Instead, remember that you cannot do anything on his behalf – you can be supportive, caring and loving, and maybe encourage couple therapy. But you needn’t become clingy, desperate and out of control, and move your entire focus on “getting your husband to open.”

Concentrate on your own person, on your emotions and don’t prevent yourself from feeling what you’re feeling, and most importantly – don’t pretend everything’s OK. Your husband can change, but he’s the one who has to realize that. You can help him.

About the Author

Blayne Ketcham offers a ton of dating advice & a relationship program for women. After going through his free email-advice series, you'll understand how men think & what they truly desire. You'll also discover how to connect with any man using one simple method. This blog contains general thoughts and ramblings about relationship problems.

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Leave a Comment:

Dale says March 14, 2018

My husband is all those things you describe and I learnt to live with how he is. However, last year I had problems with work resulting in depression, i needed him more than ever but he saId he didn’t know how to help me or that i didn’t listen to his advice, the lack of support, empathy and emotion lead to resentment, hurt and arguments. When I finally decided to leave my job still suffering with the side effects, my husband left me, saying he wasn’t in love with me anymore. Initially he wanted space, then wanted to try a separation with a view to it being long term so basically he wants to string me along until he is ready to make it permanent, otherwise divorce seems logical there is not need to wait if there is no hope for reconciliation. I have told him how I feel that i love him and want to make a go of our marriage and have left it with him, he has rebuffed this and refused counselling or any steps to reconciliation it is a closed book to him. He arranges to see the children but ignores me and any communication about us as a couple, its been 4 months and I wait each day for papers to drop on my door step as nothing has been discussed about the future together and i refuse to set anything in motion myself, partly because its not what I want, partly this is his decision and he needs to do the work and i I refuse to do the work for him as I had in our marriage. I wish i knew what to do as it is tearing me up.

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