How to Live with an Emotionally Distant Husband


Who wants to live with an emotionally distant husband?

I think it’s safe to say nobody!

If your husband neglects you emotionally and sexually, the wall between you can feel insurmountable and so discouraging. A sure sign of emotional detachment in marriage is that you’re lonely, and when that goes on for a while it turns to hopelessness.

It feels so lonely that it’s easy to wonder what the point is. Would you be better off living alone when you feel so alone anyway? Would that make it stop hurting so bad?

If you’re wondering when to leave an emotionally unavailable husband, that means you’ve been asking yourself for a long time: how do I connect with an emotionally absent spouse and how can I fix this emotional detachment in our marriage?

I’m happy to report there is a proven, practical way.

Here are 5 secrets to help you take down the wall for good so you can feel cherished, desired and adored.

1. Tell Him How You Feel

Braunwyn was looking at her phone, stretched out in her nice new king-size bed. But she suddenly felt lonely seeing her husband all the way on the other side, glued to his book.

She sweetly said, “Honey, I really miss you. You’re way over there and I’m over her.”

It was as if those words had magic powers. No complaint, criticism or control came across, only vulnerability.

He said “Aww,” took her hand and scooted over.

Ever since, he has made an effort to get closer in bed, reach out to her and hold her hand.

If you’re missing your husband’s time, attention or affection, why not try saying “I miss you”?

There is one caveat: as magical as the phrase “I miss you” is, it’s less so unless you’ve considered this next power move first.

2. Check Your Side of the Street

Apologize to your Husband

Temporary distance might mean that your husband is going through stress at work, worried about something or is just really into his reading.

But if the distance becomes ongoing, that’s usually a red flag that there’s something getting in the way of the connection you want.

Fortunately, it’s an obstacle you have the power to remove.

Betsy knew she had this power when a controversial topic came up about the family during a walk with her husband. It was something they both felt strongly about, so naturally she responded with her perspective. Emphatically! Then he rebutted even more emphatically, and they went back and forth, locking horns.

The connection evaporated by the minute until each retreated into their own corner.

I’ll let Betsy share what happened next:

As we walked in chilly silence, I reflected on the intimacy break… and what was at stake with this cold war. I decided that I needed to apologize for trying to force him to embrace my perspective and for failing to honor his unique perspective on the matter.

I decided to apologize. It was very difficult—I felt like I was choking as the words came out of my mouth even though I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the right, good, and pure thing to do. Years of resistance to the vulnerability required to apologize made the action of apologizing feel unnatural and self-effacing.

But I know from months of practicing this skill, that apologizing is a pure way to reconnect and honor both myself and my spouse.

Sure enough, the result was immediate as the energy between them shifted from guardedness to a gentle, tender warmth. Playful intimacy returned, just like that.

If that sounds too good to be true, or like it would never work in your relationship consider the “A-ha!” moment she had only after she issued her apology.

Looking back, Betsy saw that she could have let go and shown respect for his differing perspective, even though in the moment it felt more important to force-feed him her own. Who wouldn’t shut down or get defensive?

Chilliness can be a valuable barometer of respect like that.

So, if it’s been a long winter at your house, it may be worth inspecting your side of the street.

Have you told your husband what to do, been “helpful” with something he was perfectly capable of doing himself, questioned his work decisions, criticized his diet or dress, or dismissed his parenting ideas?

This is not an exhaustive list, of course. For some of the sneaky forms disrespect can take, check out the Top 10 Ways to Control Your Husband.

If you identify with any of them, pull a Betsy and try experimenting with an apology. You might be surprised by just how powerful this single move is at restoring intimacy.

3. Activate His Hero Gene

Being Respectful in Marriage

As transformative as an apology is, it’s not the only way to be vulnerable–and thus connecting.

When Braunwyn and her husband used to argue about the finances, she says it would be a cold war on steroids! She felt hopeless. He thought one way about their money and she the other. She thought the bills he wanted to pay could wait.

She was so stressed and worried, afraid there wouldn’t be enough money for the house payment.

Once she saw that her fear was fueling control over the purse strings, she decided to apologize for being disrespectful.

Poof! Intimacy restored.

A few weeks later, as she was doing her part to manage the finances, a concern (read: fear) came up, but this time she took a different tack.

She said, “Can I borrow your brain about something? Since you get paid weekly and our groceries come out of the same account, I’m not sure if there will be enough money in the account when the mortgage payment is due. How do you think we should do it?”

She stayed quiet as he thought for a few minutes. He replied, “I guess I can have a certain amount taken out each week and put in an account to pay the mortgage and then we will know it is set aside.”

She received his problem-solving graciously, saying, “That’s a great idea!” Indeed, the problem was solved and he got to be her hero.

Ready to activate your husband’s hero gene? Try borrowing his brain.

4. Become Irresistible

How to be Irresistible to your husband

At night, Mel’s husband would go outside to smoke and drink. But this was supposed to be their special time together!

She felt conflicted but didn’t care to be out in the smoke. And when she brought it up, he got defensive.

She then realized that this was his self-care. So she decided she would do self-care during that time too. She would take a bath, learn to play the piano, or read a book to kids.

Even when she was reading to the kids while her husband was out front, choosing to see it as self-care—his and hers—made a huge difference.

This experiment was vulnerable though. Mel was afraid her husband would be mad at her for not spending that time with him.

Imagine her surprise when he then started texting her every day saying “I miss you” or “I’m thinking about you” throughout the day and calling her randomly.

Tending to her own happiness didn’t cost her connection after all but actually increased it! With her self-care tank full, Mel became magnetic.

What’s on your self-care list?

If you schedule at least three things a day that make you happy, prepare to be surprised as your magnetism increases and the distance decreases.

5. SFP (Spouse-Fulfilling Prophecy)

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

All the self-care in the world won’t banish that distance if something else is in the way: a negative Spouse-Fulfilling Prophecy.

If the story that keeps playing in your mind is that your husband is emotionally distant, the mind has a way of dismissing progress in favor of gathering evidence for the same old.

One way or the other, what you focus on increases.

Marissa experienced this phenomenon firsthand.

She looked over at her husband lying on the couch, on his phone. Yup! He was distant! As usual.

This went on for days, until she caught myself and realized where her focus was: on him being distant. She decided to shift her focus to them being connected then sent him a fun, flirty text.

Almost instantly, she got back an equally fun and flirty text. What?!

She thought he was being distant! Nope. Turns out maybe she was actually the one being distant—or at least falling into the trap of having that be her focus and then become her reality.

Where is your focus?

Whether you choose to experiment with this one or not, you’ll find out how powerful a manifester you really are.

Now that you have these 5 power moves so you don’t have to live with an emotionally distant husband anymore, which will you try first?


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