‘Dealing With My Disconnected Husband’ Asked:
How do you approach your husband when he seems completely disconnected and like he has checked out? I have tried bringing it up in casual conversation with him so it doesn’t seem as though I am accusing or nagging, but he literally just ignores talking about it and says he just doesn’t want to be around people or talk about it. I need help on how to address this without pushing him away further!
Loving and Worried Midwest Wife
Dr. Zoe Answered:
Hi Dealing With My Disconnected Husband,
When your spouse is disconnected from you, it can feel like you are lost in a desert with no hope of water.
You said that he doesn’t want to talk with “people” which leads me to believe that much of this has nothing to do with you.
Truth bomb about men: they have a need to sort out their feelings about an issue before they are ready to talk about it. Of course, God has a sense of humor, so he made women with a need to talk out an issue and gave us the ability to process as we speak. Yay for multitasking! But not so good when you want to connect with him and he hasn’t gotten it worked out yet.
Please know that when you chase a distancer, he distances even more, so stop chasing him. Men often feel like you are accusing and nagging when you are trying to get them to bend to your timeline of when they should talk. The best thing you can do for your husband is to speak the truth without requesting him to do anything. He doesn’t want to talk, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t open to hearing what you have to say.
Tell him that you are concerned because you see a shift in his mood and behavior. Tell him that you miss him and understand that he needs to get it figured out first. If he allows, hug him and let him know that you are there. Don’t ask him to share.
Just because he is not talking as much doesn’t mean that you two can’t do things together. Make plans to share an activity together or a date night. Don’t require him to talk, but just focus on enjoying each other’s company. Do special things for him that you know he will appreciate as a message that you still care.
Now it’s your time to distance, but in a healthy way. I know you are hurting right now, but try your best not to take it personally. Instead, recognize that he processes things differently than you do and whatever he is going through right now, he needs to do it in his own head and it’s not a reflection of you and your relationship. Take this time and space to focus on yourself. As you move away, he will feel drawn to come towards you. It’s simple relationship physics.
So, what have you been putting off that you have always wanted to pursue? What are your passions and interests? Have you been slacking on the self-care? Focusing on yourself is the best way to keep yourself in a healthy place while he’s working his stuff out.
Relationships aren’t always easy and they go through cycles of closeness and distance. You two can get through this by making these small changes.
You’ve got this! It just takes a little grit and grace!
To hear more from Dr. Zoe, listen to this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Is it Time for Counseling? A Therapist Helps You Decide (with Dr. Zoe Shaw) – 004!
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