10 Agonizing Signs Of An Emotionally Unavailable Husband

It’s not easy to understand the signs of an emotionally unavailable husband. Although they seem normal from the outside, they are unwilling to share their genuine feelings with anyone. If you are unable to have deep, serious conversations with your husband and feel like he doesn’t express his love or emotions properly, he could be emotionally unavailable. When you feel low and need someone to be there for you, it’s hard to accept that you are all by yourself even though you have a family. Although you know he cares about you, somehow, he fails to show it through actions. He might not initiate sharing anything from his side, nor does he acknowledge your emotions. You may also notice your husband disinterested in showing love and affection or having a hearty chat with you. But this is not how married life can continue, and some changes are required from both ends to make it better. So, here we are to tell you how to identify signs of emotional unavailability and deal with them. You can also figure out if you are emotionally unavailable as well.

In This Article

Type Of Unavailability

They have difficulty in committing

Image: IStock

There are two types of unavailability: temporary and chronic.

Temporary emotional unavailability happens when a person is unable to open up due to a reason that holds him back. For instance, people who are highly ambitious and want to achieve a certain rank or position. They may not be willing to commit until they achieve their dreams. Then, there are people who are emotionally scarred following a divorce or a bad relationship. It can be the case that they have been hurt by a parent when they were a child, therefore, committing to another person or relationship becomes extremely difficult for them. All of this makes it difficult to gauge if the problem is just a passing phase or a chronic one.

There could be a few signs that you could look out for. Read on to understand those signs!

Signs That You Are In An Emotionally Unavailable Relationship

If you have felt that something is amiss in your relationship, then it can probably be an emotional disconnect from either side. Here are some ways to determine if your partner is EU or not.

1. Prefers to do things alone:

If your partner never includes you in any of his vacation plans or other leisure activities, it is possible that he is an EU person. Such people always want to keep their distance and do not try hard to get to know their partner. They are evasive or unable to provide a good reason for not wanting to do things with you. Some use criticism or aggression to keep you at a distance.

2. Shows no emotion:

Never saw a man crying? It is a popular notion amongst women that men are emotionless. However, it is not. Men may hide their emotions but not always and not entirely. However, if your spouse conceals all of his emotions or does not occasionally shower you with love and affection, it means that he is not connected with you on an emotional level. A man’s gesture speaks a lot about him.

3. Says something but does something else:

When your partner says one thing and does just the opposite, it creates a sense of insecurity and mistrust in your mind. He may make big plans for you and promise lots of love, making you hopeful of having a fruitful relationship, but when it comes to actions, he does not fulfill them. In fact, do not be surprised if such a man goes missing during your testing times.

4. Vague and inconsistent:

Initially, your relationship will be hot, with him giving you lots of attention and being too involved in your life but a few months later it all fizzles out. He may then start showing interest in just the physical aspect of your relationship and may withdraw from any other kind of emotional involvement. Or may do the exact opposite, i.e., he may speak of great love and affection but may not get physically intimate with you. Such men are not ideal for long-term commitment. He can only offer you insecurity and stress and no emotional attachment of any kind.

5. The mother-in-law treatment:

Being overcritical, emotionally unavailable husband

Image: IStock

A mother-in-law is known to be the harshest critic of her son’s wife. However, in your case, if it is your husband taking that place and is being overly critical of everything you do then there must be something wrong. He dislikes the way you dress, the food you make, the way you laugh, your profession, and just about everything that concerns you. This only boils down to the fact that he is fully detached from you.

protip_icon Quick tip
Remember, people who are highly critical of others may suffer from low self-esteem. So stay calm in such situations and don’t take the criticism personally, as it will allow your spouse to use it as a tool to provoke you.

6. Shirks responsibility:

Not only does he do nothing to maintain your relationship, but also avoids taking on any responsibility. He pushes you off the limit and then blames you for any conflict that arises. He totally ignores his role in the relationship and keeps reminding you of how you failed him on numerous occasions. A partner who shirks responsibility is someone to be steered clear of at all costs.

7. Does not contribute to the relationship:

A man who is not emotionally invested in a relationship will do nothing to maintain it. He never initiates conversations, remains uncommunicative, always talks about himself, and shows no interest in knowing about your life. He tends to forget dates or events important to you. A partner who adamantly refuses to contribute towards developing a relationship will always be emotionally unavailable to you. Beware of sexual cues: too flattering, charmers, initially good at intimacy, but once the things get real, they may even avoid sex to sabotage the relationship.

8. Compulsive liar:

A man would blatantly lie in two situations: to save a relationship and to avoid any confrontation. If a man feels no sting while lying to you, it means that he barely respects you and will constantly lie to avoid your probing. He may pretend to love you, but in your absence, he will only be seeking new company. He will lie just to keep a lid on his secrets.

9. Always behind his walls:

Some men suffer from low confidence and are not comfortable showing their true selves. They always hide behind a wall that they create for themselves and rarely divulge anything that will make you think low of them. For a woman, it is exasperating to break a man’s wall to see the true person behind it. However, you must understand that in this case, it isn’t always the lack of connection that is building the wall. A man may feel vulnerable and fear that if you come to know his weaknesses, you may not like him at all. Hence he will never want to share his deepest, darkest secrets with you.

10. Does not reciprocate:

Be it love, care or appreciation, you may feel like giving them all to your spouse in abundance. But in a relationship, if you are the only person giving all the time while your partner never reciprocates, then you must know that it isn’t right. Love does follow the barter system, so you cannot expect only one-sided trade. In this case, you must be more than just aware of how EU your partner actually is.

A wife and a blogger by the name of Fierce Cork Woman explains how she is not able to have a meaningful conversation with her emotionally unavailable husband. She says, “I feel a mixture of exasperated and anguish at how he is struggling to do this, it’s like watching a toddler stumble but not rush to pick them up. I have no idea how long it will take for him to get to a point where a normal conversation about how we both are is possible (i).”

How To Deal With An Emotionally Unavailable Partner

As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to identify an EU person, which is why many women find themselves stuck with partners that they never seem to understand. In case your partner is EU, and you want to save your relationship then here are some ways to deal with a partner who is emotionally unavailable to you.

1. Be upfront early on:

If you have just started seeing a man and have noticed that he is always guarded when it comes to expressing his emotions, then let him know how you feel about it. From the very start be clear of what you expect and what you want from him. If he is willing to be truthful and open with you, then take the relationship forward. But if he refuses to divulge more about himself then take the hint and leave before you get seriously involved with him. Pay attention to the facts, otherwise you will be left with nothing but pain.

2. Identify the reason:

If you know that your partner loves you but seems withdrawn for some reason unknown to you then try to find out what it is. Some men build walls around themselves to hide their weaknesses. They do that to maintain a good image for you and make you love them. They protect themselves by showing only their tough (often perceived as masculine) side to you to gain your trust. In such a case, you need to show him that you love him and accept him with his flaws. He needs to know that it is OK to have weaknesses and that you will support him and his choices in any situation. But keep in mind that you will not be the solution for him, for a real change he may need therapy and chances are that he may be aggressive towards you and threatening to leave the relationship rather than accepting help.

3. Ask him directly:

Know the reason for his behavioral change

Image: IStock

If you feel that, your partner was not always emotionally so distant and that it has been happening recently, then talk it out with him. Ask him what’s troubling him and the reason for his changed behavior. Tell him how you feel about this sudden change and that you are prepared to hear even something unpleasant from him. If he does open up and say something that you may not like to hear, then do not be harsh or unaffectionate toward him. Reacting angrily will make him recoil in a shell, and he may never be open about things with you. Always listen to him patiently. Sit together and see how you can overcome the problem together. But you need to protect yourself, do not accept abusive behavior.

4. Shift your focus:

If talking to him does not work then try to give him some space. We often need time to think over things and consider our choices. Give him time, he will be back once he has resolved the issue and will appreciate you for being so considerate. Do not prod him excessively to speak up. Instead, shift the focus to yourself. If he seems uninvolved, engage in things that interest you and be busy with them. This will help you grow as a person and will make your relationship stronger.

5. Do not try to fix him:

Most women have a tendency to try and change men hoping to make them better individuals. But they do not realize that we cannot really change a person. If you do not like something about him, ask yourself the reason for it. Try to see if you can ignore it or get used to it. Attempting to change a man with an unyielding spirit will only earn you his contempt, not love.

How To End A Relationship With An Emotionally Unavailable Partner

Despite all your efforts, if your partner continues to be emotionally aloof and unresponsive then it may be time you re-evaluate your relationship. If going on with it becomes difficult then here are some ways to end a relationship with an EU partner.

1. Ask yourself:

We know that breaking a relationship abruptly is not an ideal suggestion. It takes time to accept the harsh truth and do something concrete about it. It often happens that even after breaking up with a partner, women find themselves going back to them in their moments of weakness. So before you break up, ask yourself if you have done enough to understand the reason behind your partner’s indifference and cold attitude. Evaluate yourself and see if it’s you who has been EU or your partner. Once you have your honest answers, you will know what to do next.

2. Create the gap:

When you are sure that you have done enough and cannot save the relationship alone, then the only option is for you to break free. If he has been unwilling and un-cooperative then it’s time you start doing the same. Make it clear that you can no longer be the only one contributing and that he either be more involved in the relationship or let go off you. He must understand that he cannot take you for granted and act like an unfeeling person.

3. No more loving gestures:

Ask him to contribute in the household chores

Image: IStock

If you have been the only person doing all the household chores without any help from his side, then stop being the free maid to him. Ask him to cook occasionally. Share chores with him. Tell him the ways by which he can contribute to the relationship. Do not be soft and give in to his reluctance. Instead of despairing silently at his unloving attitude, be firm and see if he obliges your request to share work or continues to take your favors.

4. Show him that you are done:

Get on with your life. Once you have separated, it is likely that he may try to hold you back. It most probably will be less out of love and more out of habit. He must have grown accustomed to having you around, and your absence is sure to shake him. So, he may text you, call you, mail you but you should ignore any kind of communication with him. This is the time you show your resolve and not fall prey to his attempts at getting back together. Emotionally unavailable men are not the ideal choice for commitment. He will want you back only to use you and not to work on your relationship.

5. Love yourself:

It is natural for women to lose themselves in a relationship and focus solely on the men they love. But when you know that you will get nothing out of a relationship where the man refuses to be open to you then there is no point in dedicating yourself to him. Live for yourself. Stop doing things to impress him. Do things that you enjoy doing and not those that please him. Let him see that you are good even without him and are not emotionally dependent on him. Have a life of your own. Get serious about your career and focus more on it. Do stuff that will help you grow and keep you happy.

protip_icon Quick tip
Indulge in self-care by starting a new workout regimen or practicing meditation or yoga. You may also use your time productively by making new habits like journaling or gardening.

6. Finally, let go:

You may feel tempted to be friends with your ex but before you decide to keep in touch ensure that you have gotten rid of the romantic feelings you had for him. It will not be easy at all, but it has to be done. Believe in the fact that some people are not meant for each other. Some people are good individually but not as partners. Some couples just cannot connect with each other the way other couples do. Accept the truth and move on without any hard feelings for him. Make friends with him only if you are sure that you do not harbor any kind of feelings.

Mind you, all of this should be done only when you know for a fact that your partner is EU and not you! While you may think that your partner is neglecting you, think hard before your jump the gun! Could you be EU too?

Signs That You Are An Emotionally Unavailable Wife

Women often complain of men being EU. But rarely do they realize that they too can be EU. Take a look at these signs that indicate you are an EU wife.

1. Less communication:

You talk less when your husband is around. You do not react much to what he says and keep mum most of the time. Lack of communication with your spouse is the first sign of being EU.

2. No grooming:

Women generally want to look their best when going out with their spouse. They take great pains to ensure that their husbands are happy with the way they look. If you do not feel motivated to look good for your husband, it clearly shows your disinterest in the relationship.

3. Frequent arguments:

Lack of love in the relationship

Image: IStock

Fighting way too often with your husband? And for no apparent reason? This could mean that there is hardly any love in your relationship. Frequent fights are obvious signs of a discord between two people.

4. Friends are priority:

When you are in a relationship, it is very important that you manage your time with friends and family. If you prefer being out with your friends or when at home, you are always on your phone chatting with your friends then you clearly are spending more time with them than your spouse. This shows that you are EU to your spouse.

5. Disinterest in partner’s activities:

Your partner is a passionate gamer and often invites you to try playing a game with him, but you don’t have any interest to oblige him. You make no efforts in sharing common interests with him. It is evident that you are not emotionally available to him.

6. Lack of intimacy:

Do you despise the idea of getting physically close to your partner? Do you discourage any attempt at getting intimate? If yes, then do not overlook this glaring sign of being not just emotionally but also physically unavailable.

7. Trust issues

Trust issues can indicate emotional unavailability because it reflects your inability to form deep emotional connections. If you are struggling to fully invest in the relationship due to past hurts or fear of vulnerability, you could be emotionally unavailable. Trust issues can create a barrier to the development of a secure and intimate emotional bond with your wife.

8. Avoid conflict

Avoiding conflict can be a sign of emotional unavailability in a marriage. You might steer clear of conflict to sidestep emotional intimacy or vulnerability. This avoidance can hinder healthy communication and problem-solving, creating a distance between your wife and you. Addressing the root causes and actively engaging in conflict resolution are essential steps toward overcoming emotional unavailability and building a secure relationship.

If you show all or even most of the signs mentioned above it signifies that you are an emotionally distant wife.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is emotional neglect in a marriage?

When one partner fails to provide for the emotional needs of the other, emotional neglect creeps in. Feeling dismissed, ignored, inclination to spend time alone, and lack of physical intimacy are some significant contributors to emotional neglect in a marriage.

2. Can a marriage survive emotional detachment?

The emotional attachment between partners is the foundation on which the edifice of marriage stands. It is not impossible but indeed difficult for a marriage to survive emotional detachment. It can lead to fading romance, depressing thoughts, and emptiness, ultimately affecting married life.

3. What causes a man to be emotionally unavailable?

A man may be emotionally unavailable because of past experiences such as heartbreak or due to his upbringing. Traditional gender roles may prevent men from showing emotions. Moreover, he may feel difficulty in showing vulnerability to his partner. He may have communication issues or even believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness.

4. What is the difference between emotionally unavailable and narcissistic?

Being emotionally unavailable means an individual finds it challenging to connect emotionally with others. Their quietness could be a defense mechanism against past hurts. On the other hand, a narcissistic person has grandiose thoughts and is extremely self-centered. They lack empathy and usually view relationships as transactional.

5. What are the effects of being married to an emotionally unavailable husband?

The wife of an emotionally unavailable husband can feel emotional distress due to loneliness and frustration. She may be unable to communicate with her husband and hence may be faced with misunderstanding. Moreover, with time, her self-esteem can suffer. Prolonged loneliness could also impact mental health.

6. Can an emotionally unavailable husband change?

Yes, but it requires plenty of time and patience on both sides. The husband should have enough self-awareness to accept his condition and look for ways to overcome it. Once this is established, he can indulge in open and non-judgmental communication with his wife, a therapist, or a trusted friend or family member. Remember, it is a slow process, so don’t expect miracles overnight.

7. How can you differentiate between an emotionally unavailable husband and one who is simply introverted or reserved?

An emotionally unavailable husband avoids you consistently and is unwilling to change his attitude despite knowing his behavior is affecting your relationship. On the other hand, an introverted husband may gradually grow closer to you and even start sharing his feelings with you. Moreover, he listens to you and changes his behavior to make you happy.

Living with an emotionally unavailable husband can be highly challenging. However, you must not blame yourself for a failed relationship because of someone else. You should always remind yourself that falling in love with the wrong person does not indicate that the right person or your soulmate does not exist. Lastly, it would be helpful to evaluate your behavior with your partner. It will allow you to see if you can work on anything you feel that needs to be changed about yourself. However, if everything else fails and he remains uncommitted or unemotional, you may consider couples therapy to save your relationship from further damage.

Infographic: How To Deal With An Emotionally Unavailable Partner

When you want to have a meaningful conversation or a romantic moment, but your partner is distant and distracted, you start to fall apart. So, if you are in a similar situation and feeling lonely even in the presence of your partner, use these tips to deal with them and help yourself find solace.

emotionally distant husband (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • A partner who is emotionally unavailable prefers to do things alone and avoids emotional closeness.
  • Limited emotions, love, and affection are shown by the emotionally unavailable partner, and they are vague in their commitment.
  • Inconsistency and doing the opposite of what they say create insecurity and mistrust in the relationship.
  • One should communicate their expectations, try to understand the reason for their partner’s behavior, give them space, and avoid trying to change them.
  • To end the relationship, one creates space, focuses on self-love and self-care, lets go of romantic feelings, and considers being friends after letting go of all emotions.

Are you facing issues in dealing with an emotionally unavailable husband? Explore effective strategies for managing the challenges that arise when dealing with an emotionally unavailable partner with Dr. John Gray.

Personal Experience: Source

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Dr. Lourdes Mantecón-Garza holds a post graduation in Internal Medicine, a certification as sexuality counselor by AASECT, and Sexologist by the ACSI. She offers in-person and virtual private sessions from McAllen, Texas, on sex counseling and education for teenagers, their parents, individuals as well as couples. She has 14 years of experience and specializes in addressing issues pertaining to painful...read full bio