What to Do When Your Husband Ignores You
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated December 22, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Ann-Marie Duncan
Everyone needs to unwind after a long day at work. We all have different ways to relax and let the stress roll off. Does your husband grab the television remote and catch up on sports? Does he pop open the laptop and veg out with some computer games? Does he answer your efforts at making small talk with grunts and groans? When your husband ignores you, it might seem like you are as invisible as a ghost, and can be quite hurtful.
When you sense that your husband pays more attention to inanimate objects than you, it can conjure up all kinds of difficult emotions. You may feel neglected, disappointed, depressed, alone, and maybe even unattractive. Here are some things that you can try, and other things that you should avoid, to improve the mood, and the quality of the interactions in your marriage. Let's discuss what you can do about it.
Things to Try When Your Husband Ignores You
Try a little kindness, even if you don't feel like it. Goodwill begets goodwill. There's just no downside to being kind, especially to those we love the most! Sometimes the most disappointing qualities in our spouse are true of us as well. We often project our own tendencies onto others. Consider if you might also be displaying your husband's undesirable behavior. When you notice yourself complaining that your husband ignores you, take a moment to turn the lens onto yourself to see if there is room for you to improve in how much positive attention you show him.
Give him something without expecting something back. A 'tit for tat' attitude can be damaging to a marriage. Be willing to give everything you can to serve the best interests of your husband, and your relationship. The popular impression is that marriages are 50/50. This is rarely the case. Healthy marriages require each spouse giving 100%, but there will certainly be times in most marriages when one spouse gives more. It could be because one partner is ill or has a demanding job. If both spouses do everything they can to nurture the marriage at all times, then it won't be such a shock when one is less available or has less to give.
Acknowledge that he needs some downtime and then let him have some. Your husband is much more likely to be available, and to want, to meet your needs when you understand his. Most humans tend to respond better to positivity from the other person. You can choose to set this standard in your marriage.
Ask him how long he wants you to give him before you ask for some cuddle time. He might be done with the football game or Minecraft much sooner than you think. This kind of playfulness and flirtation goes a very long way in creating healthy marriages and keeping them that way. Think of all of your interactions with your husband as foreplay! You may be astounded at what this produces - in both of you.
Catch him being good. If he compliments you or gives you some unexpected time for conversation, thank him for it and take the opportunity to throw him a kiss. Hopefully, he'll come back for more another day. Who doesn't appreciate positive reinforcement? It's so easy for us to constantly point out everything we wish were different. This can cause us to sound like whiners or complainers. But it's more effective to compliment, reward, or positively reinforce those behaviors we'd like to encourage. Such a strategy is more likely to create the positive interactions you hope for.
Ask him to help you plan a date night at a swanky coffee shop, a martini bar, or a romantic winery. He may be more invested in time with you if he gets to help create it. This applies to most relationships but is certainly important in marriage. The more participation one has in any activity, event, or decision, the more invested they are in its success. And the more you act like a part of a team, the more you'll feel like true partners.
And remember that you are indeed part of a team. Choose to be inclusive, rather than divisive. Work for the good of your marriage, rather than focusing on yourself as an individual. Also remember that you can make a date out of anything. Try asking him what he'd like to do for date night, keep an open mind, and give it a try. His hobbies might not be your "thing" but trying it with a good attitude can go a long way in improving your relationship.
Regardless of how your husband acts, you have control over your own attitudes, intentions, expectations, and actions. Take full advantage of that control! Use it to your advantage. We almost always have room to make changes in ourselves, in a variety of ways, which could produce positive changes in our marriages. Since you can't control your husband, why not turn your energy and efforts toward yourself? Think of this as a way you can build the strong foundation on which greater joy and intimacy can occur. Send him a nice (or sexy) text after he leaves for work in the morning. Look for ways you can change your actions to strengthen your relationship.
What Not to Do When Your Husband Ignores You
You may be feeling so hurt, you want your husband to feel hurt too-but don't give in to the temptation of getting even. Don't nag, raise your voice, or threaten to leave him or divorce him. Those are highly unlikely to produce the results you want. Do your best to communicate with your husband about your feelings. A lot of conflict in marriage is a result of misunderstanding, often produced by miscommunication. So, trust there is hope until you've genuinely tried every available option.
While it feels good to vent to friends, keep it to a minimum. Don't gossip or complain about your marriage to everyone you know. Such broad discussion is rarely helpful and can actually increase the negativity between you and your husband, which is contrary to your purpose.
You might be tempted to fill the missing affection in your marriage from someone outside your home. This will only exacerbate the problem. Deal with your marriage in and of itself, without the complication of a third party. So be careful about your attention and affections when you're feeling lonely or hurt.
Seek Counseling When Your Husband Ignores You
If none of those ideas produce the results you hoped for, it helps to get therapy. If he's resistant to visiting a therapist, try an online therapist, like those at BetterHelp. He might feel more comfortable dealing with marital issues in the comfort and privacy of your home. Online therapy has been proven to strengthen relationships, and could do the same for yours.
You may read the full study here: Marriage: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning.
While it's certainly optimal for both spouses to actively and willingly participate in the counseling process, you can still create positive changes in your marriage with your own efforts and through individual counseling. Read below for reviews of some BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Erin really helps me set goals for communication, and it's really crazy how much it's improved the communication in my marriage. She also asks me every week what I'd like to work on, so it's just really great to be able to decide and then to put it into action. Without her, I wouldn't even know where to start."
"Dr. Susan really took the time to listen and see from a birds eye view what was possibly going on. She gave me techniques that I found valuable with handling my marriage but most of all myself."
It can feel like your marriage is headed down a dangerous path when your husband is ignoring you. But focusing on changing your own actions, and honoring yourself by recognizing your self-worth, can help tremendously.
If you’re worried because you’re thinking “I love my husband. I don’t know what to do but I’m tired of being ignored.” rest assured that this doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. But the bottom line may be that change needs to happen. A counselor can help you identify ways to make your relationship fulfilling, for both you and your husband. Take the first step today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What to do when your husband ignores your feelings?
It can be hard to understand why your husband is ignoring your feelings and you may feel hurt that it seems like he doesn’t care.
If you find yourself in this position, the first thing you might want to look at is if the problem is really a lack of communication. You may feel neglected because it seems like he doesn’t care, but it may be really be that he honestly doesn’t understand how you’re feeling. It could be that he isn’t very emotionally aware or just that he processes feelings differently than you. So, try talking to him first to see if that’s all the problem is.
If you talk to him and he still doesn’t seem to care about your feelings, you may find it helpful to speak with a marriage counselor. A therapist may be able to help you learn strategies to cope in your marriage even if your husband is unwilling to change.
And you also don’t want to rule out that his lack of caring about your feelings could be due to a mental health challenge. The same is true when you notice that your husband ignores you. In this case, it could be helpful for you both to meet with a therapist to address the challenges that you’re facing.
What does it mean if your husband ignores you?
There are many things that it could mean if your husband ignores you. It could be that the two of you don’t have an emotional connection and he just doesn’t feel drawn to connecting with you. Or, it could be as simple as he’s tired. Men and women handle situations differently. He may not realize that you feel like you’re being ignored.
One of the best things that you can do is to try talking to your husband first. If this doesn’t seem to help you make progress, it may be helpful to consider marriage counseling. An experience therapist can help the two of you get to the bottom of the distance in your relationship and identify steps you can take to correct it.
What do you do when your husband gives you the silent treatment?
If your husband ignores you or gives you the silent treatment, it’s helpful to identify what the root cause of the problem is. There are many things that could be behind his behavior. The good news is, there may not be any serious problem. You may find your husband doesn’t realize he’s giving you the silent treatment. In this case, it could be as simple of a fix as getting him to be more purposeful in conversation.
However, if you know that he’s purposefully choosing not to talk to you or that your husband ignores you because he wants to, there could be a bigger problem behind it all. Your husband could struggle with a mental health challenge such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or something similar. Giving you the silent treatment could be a passive aggressive attempt to get his own way.
Addressing the root cause of his behavior is going to be the most helpful in knowing how to handle it. While it may feel easy to spend time giving him a taste of his own medicine, this generally isn’t going to helpful in the long run. You may find it helpful to work with a therapist to identify where this behavior is stemming from and what you can do to move forward.
Why do husbands ignore their wives?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to why a husband ignores his wife. It could be that he saw this behavior modeled for him when he was growing up or that he’s found it works in helping him get his way. It could also be a sign that he struggles with knowing how to handle emotions and conflict.
You may also find that your husband ignores you because he’s tired of the way that you treat him or talk to him. Sometimes being ignored is a consequence of your own behavior and it may be a sign that you need to address something within yourself.
How do I stop my husband from ignoring me?
If you husband ignores you and you want to change the behavior, there are some things that you can try. It could be that you need to spend time together, reconnecting with each other. It could be that you’ve drifted apart and this will help you to come together again.
Your husband may be thinking, “I’m tired. I don’t want to deal with this right now.” when he chooses to ignore you. If he’s had a long day, he may not be able to take in more information at the moment and instead of talking about it with you, he ignores you. Open communication may help the two of you to get on the same page.
Asking your husband why he’s ignoring you can also help you know where to spend time to fix the issue. This can help you get to the bottom line of the problem instead of instead of making assumptions.
What to do when your husband ignores you for days?
When your husband ignores you for days, it’s a sign that there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. It could be that your marriage is going through a difficult time or it could be that your husband is struggling with challenges of his own.
If you find that he’s ignoring you because of something that you did, such as being unfaithful, you need to focus on the root cause of the problem. But if he’s ignoring you in an effort to try to manipulate you, it can help to set boundaries around what you’re willing to put up with from him.
While it’s easy to think that if you’re being ignored by your husband, ignore him back is a good option. But that’s not going to improve the situation.
It can be helpful to build a support system that you can depend on and turn to for support. This could be your best friend or an online support group of other wives struggling with similar problems. It can be helpful to have someone that you can talk to that will be honest on providing you with feedback, or just someone to listen to you when your husband isn’t there for you.
If you’re unsure how to move forward, consider talking to a mental health professional for guidance.
How do you know if your husband is in love with another woman?
The only way to truly know how your husband feels is to talk to him. However, there are some signs that you can look for that could indicate your husband is in love with another woman. They include things like:
- He withdraws from you and ignores you
- Suddenly cares more about his appearance
- He’s secretive
- You have a hard time reaching him when he’s not home
- Starts to be away from home more while you stay at home
If you are wondering, “I love my husband, but does he love someone else?” it’s best to address the situation head on. Try talking to your husband. If he doesn’t admit there is a problem, but you remain suspicious, it may help to meet with a marriage counselor to discuss the situation.
Why do guys give the silent treatment?
While some guys give the silent treatment because they’re passive aggressive, other men do it because they don’t handle confrontation well. He could be giving you the silent treatment in an effort not to say something that he doesn’t mean.
There are a lot of reasons why your husband may be giving you the silent treatment. He’s the only one that can give you the real reason. However, if he won’t talk with you about it, you may be able to get a new perspective from a third party. It may be helpful to talk to someone like a therapist instead of a best friend that may take your side no matter what.
Don’t forget to take a look at yourself as well. It could be that he’s giving you the silent treatment because you’ve been treating him bad and he no longer believes that you when you say you’re going to change your behavior.
Is Silent Treatment manipulation?
Giving someone the silent treatment is a passive aggressive form of manipulation. There are many different reasons behind why someone might do it, but the bottom line is that it’s not acceptable in healthy relationships.
Is Silent Treatment immature?
Giving someone the silent treatment is not a mature form of communication or a healthy way to handle problems. It tends to be a passive aggressive way for a person to try to get their own way.
How long should the silent treatment last?
If you find that your husband ignores you in order to show that he’s unhappy, the silent treatment will likely last until he feels you’ve done what he wants or until he needs something from you. There is no set time that this could be. You may find that it lasts for an hour or even days depending on the situation.
How do you know if your husband doesn't love you anymore?
If you find yourself thinking, “I’ve been married for a long time and it seems my husband ignores me more and more.” you may be wondering if he doesn’t love you anymore. While it could be a sign that your husband doesn’t have the same feelings for you, it could also be that he’s comfortable in the relationship and has gotten away from making the effort to show you that he cares.
The only true way to know how your husband feels is to talk to him about it. If he refuses to talk with you about his feelings and your relationship, you may find it helpful to talk to a therapist to identify things that you can do to try to improve the relationship.
What a man wants from his wife?
There isn’t one right or wrong answer to this question. Most men want to be loved and respected by their wives. However, if your husband has mental health challenges such as narcissistic personality disorder, they may want a lot more than that. They may believe that it’s their wife’s responsibility to keep them happy. If this is the case, they may use passive aggressive behavior like the silent treatment to get their way.
Talking about expectations as a couple can be a helpful way to understand what you each want from the marriage and relationship.
Why does my husband not talk to me?
If you find that your husband ignores you, it’s normal to want to get to the bottom of it. This can happen for many different reasons. It could be that life has gotten busy and he feels that you’re always giving your attention to something else like the children. It could be because he’s lost interest in the relationship. Or, it could be that he’s struggling with something like depression or anxiety.
There are many reasons that could be behind why your husband ignores you. This is why it’s important not to make assumptions about his reasoning. Try talking to him about what you’re noticing and feeling. This could open the door for important change.
If he’s not receptive to talking about it, there are some things that you may be able to do on your own to improve your relationship. Talking to a therapist can be a good place to start.
What is narcissist silent treatment?
A narcissist uses the silent treatment as a passive aggressive form of manipulation. They tend to be very clever at manipulating others into getting their own way. If you’ve been in a relationship with the narcissist for a long time, it’s likely that you have been a victim of emotional abuse. The narcissist may realize that if they give you the silent treatment, you’ll do whatever they want in order to get on their good side again, so you don’t have to deal with their negative behavior. This is a dangerous cycle and one that should be addressed with the help of a mental health professional.
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