Emotionally Disengaged Husband
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Emotionally Disengaged Husband

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this board and decided to join to get some advice from people that may be in or have gone through a situation similar to mine.

My husband and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and the first 5 years were great. We laughed together, enjoyed each other's company, and had what I would consider the normal ups and downs of married life. About 7 months ago, my husband went through a series of major life events -- he was diagnosed with some health issues that were serious but are controlled by medication and don't necessarily interfere with his normal activities. About 2 months after that, his contract at work ended and then in January of this year, we lost our beloved dog. Obviously these are all major events and can take a toll on a marriage but it seems that my husband has gone to the extreme. Shortly after the diagnosis of his health condition, I began noticing changes in his behavior -- he was getting annoyed at me often and for minor things and he started shutting me out. As the months have gone on, this has gotten more noticable. We haven't had sex in almost a year and he never compliments me or touches me at all when before these seem to be daily occurences. I feel almost like he finds me disgusting and would rather not have anything to do with me. He spends his non-work days buried behind his computer and does not like for me to interupt him to talk about anything.

I suggested that we go to counseling and he agreed but he wanted to see the therapist first. He has been to 4 sessions and I'm not really noticing much of a change. In the past couple of months he has told me that he thinks that we should live separately for a while because I am causing him too much stress (i.e., he is really annoyed if I try to talk to him while he's on his computer). Since then I have stopped asking him questions about things that I know set him off (his health, his job, etc.) and have stuck to very mundane topics. I have also tried to be extra nice -- cooking some of his favorite things, buying little gifts, etc. But none of this seems to be working.

I would love to hear from anyone that has gone through something similar. What should I be doing to help our marriage? Why is he acting so emotionally distant and is there anything I can do to help him? Should I "keep my distance" or try some other approach?

I would appreciate any advice. I feel like I've been a very good, loyal wife and I feel so sad and lonely right now.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

As I read this, your husband is withholding both physical and emotional intimacy. In other words, he's withholding everything. You, on the other hand, are willing and eager to engage in both?

If I have that right, then it's pretty obvious your husband isn't in the relationship anymore. The question is why? Typically I reach for "she isn't satisfying him sexually" but in this case it appears to be incorrect.

As I think back, I did get lost to work at one point in our marriage. I don't know if there was an actual cause so much as just a slow losing of my way. What eventually stopped that was the certainty that I didn't want to get divorced and that's what I was doing coupled with dogged determination on both our parts. Some days engaging with our partner was like pressing your cheek up against a belt sander but we did it anyway until we worked it out.

It sounds to me like perhaps your husband is lost to life stress. If so, the only real question is the same one I faced. He's lost his way from the original path he set. Does he want to return to it or not?
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

Could be a few things...

Porn

Depression

Emotional affair with someone else

What's he doing on his computer? Have you looked into it? He may have checked out of his marriage with you, but there are other things he's investing that time in. Time to do some digging.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

I agree with ABit

What was he diagnosed with that he's getting treated for??

If he wants to separate, do not cling to him. The harder you cling, the worse off for you.

It sounds like he's checked out.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

Hello
That is great that he was interested to go for counseling. That meansd that he wants to try, very nice.
So, 4 sessions you said and nothing happened, no change....I'm curious, Why do you think nothing happen? Do you guys have action to take every day? Is it a motivation issue?
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

Thanks, everyone, for the responses. ABit, I agree that I should do some digging. I tried once to get into his computer and found that it is fingerprint protected so it looks like he is the only that can access. It would not surprise me to find out he's met someone online that he's communicating with.

Jellybeans, he was diagnosed with depression. Maybe this entirely stems from depression but I'm not sure.

growtogether, the odd thing about this counseling is that he goes alone so I'm not really sure how it's supposed to help our marriage. The guy he sees asked to see once (alone) but then told me I didn't need to schedule another session for now. But I did take it as a good sign that he wanted to try to go to counseling.

And, I definitely agree with everyone's thoughts that he's checked out. Not sure if there is a way for him to "check back in". :-/
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

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Originally Posted by czechmate View Post
Thanks, everyone, for the responses. ABit, I agree that I should do some digging. I tried once to get into his computer and found that it is fingerprint protected so it looks like he is the only that can access. It would not surprise me to find out he's met someone online that he's communicating with.

Jellybeans, he was diagnosed with depression. Maybe this entirely stems from depression but I'm not sure.

growtogether, the odd thing about this counseling is that he goes alone so I'm not really sure how it's supposed to help our marriage. The guy he sees asked to see once (alone) but then told me I didn't need to schedule another session for now. But I did take it as a good sign that he wanted to try to go to counseling.

And, I definitely agree with everyone's thoughts that he's checked out. Not sure if there is a way for him to "check back in". :-/
His checking back in depends on two things. You exposing him and what's really going on, and/or his willingness to check back in.

Exposure can go two ways, he'll stop whatever he's doing to save his marriage, or he'll be so far gone in what he's doing he won't bother and whatever the fallout from that? So be it.

Once you have the info, the ball will be in your court.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Emotionally Disengaged Husband

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Originally Posted by czechmate View Post
And, I definitely agree with everyone's thoughts that he's checked out. Not sure if there is a way for him to "check back in". :-/
Of course there is a way. It's not even complicated. It may require some diligence on both your parts but it's not like it's a mystery. You BOTH sit down and figure out why you're not making each other happy and what all the stopper are for "checking back in" on both sides. Then you set about making each other happily and brutally, if required, removing any obstacles to that.

The only real stoppers are desire to do so and strength to accomplish the task.

If I were you I'd be doing some long, long soul-searching in the mirror to make sure you understand your contributions to this situation and especially to make sure that you are not adding hurdles into the "check back in" path. You want to be clearing that path, not putting "tests" along the way. That's a really hard thing to do.
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