Do you remember when your husband called you constantly to tell you everything that was on his mind? Do you remember the times when he put off other things in favor of spending time with you? Do you find yourself wondering what happened to that spontaneous, tingly all over, "you are my person" feeling? It feels so long ago as your mind is ruminating over the thought, "Why my husband ignores me?" While we'll discuss many of the reasons why it could be happening, there are also things you can do to improve the relationship.
You may be worried that the fact that your husband is ignoring you means your marriage is headed for divorce. But it doesn't have to mean that. It could be something completely innocent. And even if there is a problem within your marriage, counseling has been found to be 75% effective for helping marriages.
You may also be wondering why the idea of your husband ignoring you just hit you all at once. Most likely, it didn't happen overnight. Here are some signs that you may be picking up on:
Whatever is going on happened over time. And it hurts and leaves you wondering what could be at the root of it.
The truth is not always clear right off the bat. It could be something or it could be nothing at all.
Choose Not to Assume or Jump to Conclusions Based upon Incomplete Information
One really helpful point to keep in mind is that it is incredibly easy to misinterpret cues, even from our husbands. One of the best strategies you can employ in response to your husband's apparent distance or lack of interest in you is to consider that you do not have all the facts. Or, at least not enough complete and accurate information in order to arrive at a confident, correct conclusion regarding what he is really thinking, feeling, or needing. If you have not already done so, ask some open, clarifying questions to fill in those blanks. Open-ended questions are best because they allow for any answer from your spouse. Basically, open questions begin with "who," 'what," "how," "where," or "when." Some examples to help get you started might be:
The bottom line is, don't jump to conclusions. Ask enough high quality, open-ended questions to ensure you really know what is going on.
Could it be Stress?
The reality is that most of us become stressed periodically, and sometimes that stress can become meaningful. Stress occurs as a result of change - ALL change. Even positive events can produce stress. These might include a new job, promotion, or job relocation. The point is that you might want to take a moment to evaluate the number of potentially stressful experiences or ongoing circumstances your husband could have experienced over the past few months. Long days with long commutes and stressful days make for tired husbands. If your husband says he's tired, it could be the truth. If that's the case, a different job with a shorter commute could be the solution. Or helping him figure out how to get enough, and good quality sleep, so that the inherent stress in his days impacts him less.
Introvert or Extrovert?
We sometimes confuse introversion or extroversion with other personality characteristics. This can make it more difficult to understand the possibility that such a difference between the two of you might impact your time at home together. For instance, many people think that introverts are shy, quiet, socially awkward, or otherwise not comfortable in social situations. The truth, however, is that introversion or extroversion has, literally, nothing to do with confidence, esteem, humor, comfort in social situations, or the ability to speak in public, even to massive audiences. Introversion and extroversion reflect only one quality and that is how you draw or gain your energy.
Extroverts recharge by being with others, whereas introverts require solitude in order to regain the necessary energy. You may know many extreme introverts who run large companies, present to large crowds and are incredibly funny and entertaining when in public. But those persons will need much greater time alone or in quiet to recover from their social or professional responsibilities.
Do you notice how interactive your husband is when he is with others, so you assume he should also be this way with you but is not? Is it possible that he is an introvert who spends much of his energy while working, or entertaining, which is precisely why he has so little remaining energy for you and your family time? It may be worth considering. In addition to this, everyone has different ways of unwinding. If you are a talker and he needs quiet, he may be ignoring you because he needs to avoid the noise until he can relax a little. If this is your man, he certainly doesn't want you to unload all your problems on him right away. Getting his attention again might mean giving him some space for a short period of time at the end of the workday.
Many men seem to have fewer words to say on a daily basis than the average woman. This already sets up a potential imbalance in your respective preferences regarding the communication between the two of you. The more your husband must talk or interact with others in his work environment, the less he will have available for you. Understanding introversion/extroversion and how much he has to talk at work could be a relevant consideration.
Is He the 'Strong, Silent, Type?'
He may be trying to protect you. When things are really going downhill, your husband may want to deal with much of it on his own so that you don't have to worry. It may be his way of showing you love and concern. Many men tend to be"'fixers" or "protectors," who want to be the helper, rather than a burden. This is an admirable quality, but it can seem to add some distance between the two of you.
If it is more important to you to participate with your husband, regardless of the possible stress, let him know your preference in this regard. Sometimes, a slight reframing of an expectation can produce a very different result. For instance, let's assume that your husband loves you dearly and truly treasures you, which is why he has been protecting you from potentially concerning information about his job. When you share with him that you understand why he is being so distant, and you love and respect him for it, but that it leaves you feeling left out, unimportant, or untrusted, it may help him realize that the cost of his distance is more than he intended. This can help him change his mind about talking more with you about it.
How Insightful is He?
Have you considered that he may not realize that he is ignoring you? We all perceive things differently. What he interprets as quality quiet time together might seem like mind-numbing silence to you! This might be an opportunity for you to grow in emotional intimacy by using this difference between the two of you as the ticket to opening up the door to better, or more, communication. Share your impressions with him. Assume that he is not ignoring you on purpose or hurting you intentionally. Give him the benefit of the doubt until you have talked about it directly.
Still Waters Run Deep
It's also possible that something deeper is going on with your husband. It could be that he is interested in someone else or it's a passive-aggressive way of avoiding a chronic problem. Of course, you cannot know precisely what is going on until you take the time, and effort, to talk through things with him. But if you have shared your thoughts, feelings, wishes, and needs with him, and if you have checked out as much as you can about what is really going on with him, then it may very well be the time to seek professional help.
BetterHelp Can Support You
BetterHelp has therapists available 24/7 that can help you with your own struggles, or can support and guide you and your husband through couples counseling. Whether you are facing a big problem in your marriage or just struggling with minor communication issues, a licensed therapist can help the two of you get back on the right track. Research shows that online therapy is a powerful tool in strengthening couples.
You may read the full study here: Marriage: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning.
Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from people experiencing similar issues.
"I would refer Helen to anyone that would need to speak to a counselor. She listens and gives excellent advice. My husband and I are the closest we've ever been."
"Buddy is my guide to changing my life. He has been a swiss army knife of help. He has helped with my marriage, self confidence, business struggles and development, anxiety, weight loss, and organization and optimization of my life. Two of the characteristics I love about Buddy. 1. He has this incredible ability of knowing when to talk and when to listen. He knows when you need to hear some advice or truth to getting you moving in the right direction, but switches to listening at the perfect moment so you can get things out and make connections by saying things out loud. 2. Buddy is "therapy google". He always has the perfect book, article, video, quote, podcast, or person to follow for what you need and are working on. After every session he will send me a few resources to find just the information I need. He's easy to schedule appt with and accommodating of what you need. Very positive and encouraging too. I have never done therapy before and had no idea what to expect and cynical of its effectiveness. Therapy has helped far more than I ever could have imagined. I am getting my life back on track and doing more than I thought possible."
Just because your husband ignores you doesn't mean he doesn't love you. Often a few adjustments can help him to remember how much fun it is to be with you. With the right tools, you can get back to a truly fulfilling relationship with your husband. Take the first step today.