My Husband Is Emotionally Distant
My Husband Is Emotionally Distant
How I Got My White Picket Fence After All
Rachel Hanna, Laura Doyle Certified Coach
All of my life, I had my eye on the prize: being married to my one true soulmate.
I imagined us laughing together on the couch and gazing into each other’s eyes, deeply in love. I imagined a love of such closeness and comfort that we could have a blast together at the grocery store. I also imagined accomplishing big dreams together–white picket fence and all.
I yearned and prayed my heart out to meet him, a focused mission I made my top priority as I became a young woman.
Then I met him, and I knew right away.
He was sensitive, gentle, brilliant, and shared the same dreams as me. From the time we met, he felt familiar and comfortable, like a brother, and also the man I knew I would forever love more and more deeply.
When we got married, I naively said we would be different from other couples. I expected smooth sailing from day one because we were gentle souls aimed for kindness and sweetness towards each other.
Despite that good foundation, within a few weeks the challenges began.
He had taken a job with long, late hours, which didn’t match my vision of the evenings we would spend together as newlyweds. I complained, telling him it was wrong to work so late when we were newly married since we should be cuddling and laughing all evening, as true soulmates do.
It wasn’t long before he was withdrawn and distant.
My husband was working hard to provide for our family, once I became pregnant a month after the wedding, but I saw only the flaws in his actions. This created tension and conflict between us most days, as I couldn’t get filled up from our short evenings together.
This started a trend of me complaining about two things: his job choices and our lack of emotional connection.
I convinced my generous husband to switch to a job that had more normal hours. But I found flaws with that job too. I complained that he didn’t receive insurance, which sent me into panic mode with my pregnant belly growing.
So he took a job that had normal hours and benefits, but this job went against his very moral code. He vented about this often, and instead of being supportive, I criticized his frustration in the evenings as a barrier to our emotional closeness.
As time went on, I initiated many hours’ long discussions about our emotional closeness, requesting more vulnerability and spontaneity of verbal expression.
As much as I demanded such closeness, it felt too vulnerable for me to show affection or even to say “I love you.” I would sit rigidly near my husband, frozen with numbness wondering if I was proper enough and lovable enough for him to embrace forever.
To my surprise, he became increasingly withdrawn emotionally, without much to say.
It was too painful to sit in my hurt and loneliness, so I made it my mission to change my marriage and my husband to create the picture in my head. But the more I tried to mold him into the man I knew I deserved, the more he pulled away. I had no idea how to get what I wanted.
Then, I was chatting with a local woman on Facebook about her marriage. I was drawn to the happiness I saw exuding from her and her husband after their many years of marriage.
I asked her secret, and she said it was the book now entitled The Empowered Wife.
I read it immediately and started by relinquishing control of my husband. That’s when he lost his full-time job with benefits. It was a blessing in disguise because this was the job where he was asked to do immoral things.
With the support of the book–and G-d’s guidance every step–when my husband shared he was out of work, I hugged him and said, “I trust you will figure this out in the right way.”
I was pregnant and scared, but I let go and soon started seeing a new man whom I could totally trust. He was handling everything well. He quickly started a business and found a new job.
He didn’t change; my perception of him changed. And my letting go allowed him the space to be who he had been all along: a dependable, reliable, responsible hardworking person willing to do what it takes to care for me and our family.
I have learned to tune into my desires, express them, and care for myself daily. I show up to our marriage as a happy, whole woman, not a needy one relying on my husband’s time and attention to fill me up.
I don’t demand closeness now but allow it. I let my guard down, initiating hugs, kisses and I love you’s. My husband opens up and shares and loves fully, and the love really flows.
I now have my white picket fence, which is getting more beautiful by the day.
Our marriage is peaceful and, best of all, filled with more deep love and closeness than I could have ever imagined. I have become receptive and vulnerable, creating the intimacy I had always yearned for.
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