My DH says he loves me and is committed to me . However, he admitted that he is not emotionally connected to me. He said it is because he is "broken" and that it has nothing to do with me..he says he can not connect with anyone in that way. He has tried counseling which did not help. He tells me he loves me but I feel like that is an empty phrase if he truly does not care. Is there anything more I can do? I feel like I should emotionally detach from him so that I don't feel pain from this. I do care deeply about him, am attached to him and love him.
Don't give up if you love him and you feel he loves you. Try to work with him and communicate with him. It could be people giving up on him and him feeling like he isn't worth it, that caused him to be "broken". Is he worth trying for?
I think when a person has been hurt so badly, especially in childhood, something happens in the brain that makes a person less likely to trust another person. Also if you've had a bad relationship(any kind - friendship, parental, romantic) where you trusted the person and they unexpectedly let you down, a person will "protect" themselves. It's actually a survival skill. Not sure of the history with your DH or if these theories fit with his issues or if he could just be depressed. Since he has said he cannot connect with anyone, I don't think it has anything to do with you or the love you have for each other. As soonerman wrote, don't give up and just keep communicating with him. Hope it works out for you both.
Yes, I do think he has been hurt by something but he can't figure out what, despite years of counseling, therapists, etc. When he was younger he even tried depression medication but he said it did nothing...Yes, he does tend to get depressed and moody. I have some trust issues myself from a bad childhood and then abusive relationships prior to my DH so I thought I was choosing wisely when I chose my DH--I had no idea how emotionally disconnected he was and still is--he seemed to do and say all the "right things" that had me convinced that he felt something. I've tried to pull away myself and just deal with it but then he almost panics (almost suicidal in his thoughts, etc.) and says he can't live without me and for me just to be normal and loving...but it is so hard to be the only one being that way....It is so frustrating because I don't know what more I can do to help him and I need an emotional connection or I feel unloved....
I think it's great that your husband not only recognizes that he has some issues to deal with but he is actually taking steps to resolve those issues. Could you clarify what you mean by not emotionally connecting to you? It seems that the two of you have had some pretty intimate conversations about some pretty personal stuff so he is allowing himself to be vunerable to you. And you said he does love you and has said so. Is it that he is not affectionate (not much kissing, hugging, hand holding ect.) or maybe not romantic? You mentioned that you also have some issues. There is a possibilty that the problem is your needs outpace his abilities, if you know what I mean. Because of your past hurts it may not be possible for him (or any man) to satisfy you, it's not your fault or his. It may just be that you don't have to fix each other as much as you need to heal yourselves. I wish you luck.
We do talk but there are a lot of times where he pulls away and says "I don't want to talk about it and don't bring it up." What I mean by not emotionally connecting to me is that he has great difficulty with any holidays (he feels stressed at Christmas because he feels he is forced into giving gifts), he is quick to get angry if something is out of order or I make a mistake (he can't bear mistakes) and he is a very work-oriented person--he can hardly sit still and just hold my hand. Cuddling for him is a chore--he wants to do it quickly and "get it over with" to get to more important things like work or just being alone. He would like nothing more than to be alone for days at a time, so long as he knew for sure that I loved him and would be around whenever he actually wanted me to be around. He just says he feels empty most of the time, he does not feel an attachment towards me and he has guilt about past relationships where he feels he let good ones go because he did the same thing to them (they left him or fell out of the relationship with him because he either found someone else he thought he could do better with or because their needs were not getting met). My issues are that I have never had both in a relationship--either I get the physical connection without the emotional connection or vice versa and my past bf have said to me at some point or another "I love you, I think you are great, but I just find we are better off as friends--it's not you--it's me." With my DH, I figured he was different because the last thing he wanted was to be friends--he eagerly sought out the marriage and engagement and was giddy about our relationship in the beginning--he was bringing me flowers, etc. Right now, he tries to be kind--he will go out of his way to make me dinner or will do some laundry but he says the reason he does this is because he sees it as "his job" to provide for me and look after me physically--it is like I am one more chore on his list. He says "I love you" but honestly, I think he says it so that he can hear it back so that he knows all is fine and he can go on with work or being alone. I, on the other hand, say it to him because I mean it--I really did think I had connected with him since we do talk and we do go away together, etc. I don't understand someone saying it for the sake of hearing it back.
I am sorry you are going through this. This must be tremendously stressful. I agree with Dove that your husband sounds depressed, deeply depressed. I hope that you can separate HIS problems from YOU, this has nothing to do with you or your loveablity. Do you have children?
I have children from a previous marriage and we are actually pregnant and due in May with a baby. I thought things were not so bad until he admitted he was not emotionally connected to me and now I worry too he won't connect with the new baby at all. He's a good father to the children and I know he will be a good dad as far as providing and looking after things but I do fear that only I will be connected to the baby.
I am trying to realize it has nothing to do with me...but...I've heard this before about the connection from previous bf a long time ago and I wonder if it is something I am doing to cause the disconnection. I've tried being supportive, then I've tried giving him space...I've encouraged him as far as the counseling but I don't want to push either...
I know what's it's like to go through stess when you are pregnant and again I do feel your pain. I know it must be difficult to not take your husbands distance personally, especially given your prior relationship but I really do think the choice of words is coincidence. Please try not to give that another thought. I am curious, you said he used to be different, did he change during the course of your pregnancy? Some men do change when they find out they will be fathers (mine went temporarily insane). It brings up a whole lot of insecurity and fear in them. Unlike women, men don't usually verbalize their fears, they internalize them. I am not saying that's what happened here, just bringing up the possibilty. Whatever the case, remember that you can love and support him but you can't save him from himself, he has to do that on his own. Good luck to you and please treat yourself well.
He used to be different but that was way before I was pregnant..it was at the beginning of our relationship. When we first met, he was outgoing and seemed relaxed and while he seemed a bit intense, it was in a good way--he was always going out of his way to surprise me with notes on my car or flowers at my work, etc. He seemed to want to hold my hand and actually spend time with me. I think that that phase passed once he realized he "caught" me and he hasn't gone back since, unfortunately. While I realize this is normal in every relationship, I do want to still be listened to and cuddled and have him pay some attention to me beyond "pat phrases". Anyway, you are correct, it is not something I can probably do on my own to change him...I would love to see these changes both for himself and for me but I realize it has to come from him first. It is weird, but he can acknowledge the fact that he is "broken" but then that becomes the excuse for everything. He said he doubts it ever can be fixed...which is a frustrating state to be in--I would rather hear him say that he hopes it will be fixed or he will try until it does get fixed--I think the pessimistic view point could hinder him moving forward.
Thanks for your advice....
Has your husband ever been on medication or would he consider the possibilty? Is he still in therapy? You are right that you need some attention too. It sounds like he is using his "brokeness" as a convenient excuse to have his needs met while ignoring yours. I am going to suggest to you that maybe you should get some counseling either with him or by yourself so you can gain a better insight into why you have allowed this to go on so long, maybe you can get some ideas about how to live your best life whether it's with or without him. You really do deserve to be happy.
Yes, he has been on medication in the past--before me. He tried all sorts of medication but nothing worked or altered his mind-set. He went on other medication due to his high blood pressure that also happened to be anti-depressants and remains on that and while it did fix his blood pressure, it did nothing about the depression. He has seen psychiatrists, specialists, doctors, plus the family doctor all to no avail. I later learned that there was one point in his teenage life where he booked himself into a hospital for a few days in hopes to get "cured" but he was a teenager and they didn't take him seriously or at least did not think he had anything seriously wrong after performing tests on him. In fact, he is a very high achiever, very smart, musically gifted and has a high IQ so it never really affected his work performance. If you would see him in a social situation, you'd find him charming, witty and brilliant--everyone thinks he's fantastic and girls always swoon over him because he is so charming and good looking.
Anyhow, he has an appointment booked for next week with a trained therapist that works with matters such as this plus marriage therapy but he holds little hope that will work. Most of this costs a ton of money and the medication is not cheap either, but it would be worth it if we found something that works. Personally, I really do think it has to do with issues with his childhood (he has an angry father who expected perfection from him) plus failed relationships in his teens that he took really hard but I do know that depression can be real too. We both got counseling at one point, but that was mainly pre-marital counseling and then we had counseling after when an issue came up to do with a past relationship that he had a hard time letting go of that was causing nightmares, etc. It "seemed" like we had worked through this..until this week when he finally admitted he can't get connected to me no matter what he tries. He does think that he will have an easier time with the baby and that it will change him for the better but I am smart enough to know that babies can bring added stress, lack of sleep and not all men change.
Have you visited the bi-polar forum on this site? I am no expert but your husband's problems do seem genuine and severe. My concern for you is that he is (maybe not conscientiously) using you as figurative "punching bag". Given your feelings about yourself and the doubts you seem to have about your role in his illness (yes, I do believe he has an illness) I wonder if he is bringing you down in an effort to keep control over you. Maybe he's not even aware he is doing it. I think that if he keeps at it and is sincere that he will eventually find the help he needs. I hope he has an open mind about medication. I hope too that you will keep yourself and your children foremost in your mind.
No, I have not visited the bi-polar forum..although he was assessed by different doctors and they think he has a form of manic depression although not manic. He was tested for bi-polar and they don't think he has it. I will check out the forum though. He does need some help, I just hope he finds whatever it is to help him. He seems to be aware that it is causing me stress and making me upset but then he can't reach out to me because of it all...Yes, the kids are the most important thing in the scenario.
Yes, I agree...I have told him somewhat the same thing but he just gets upset and says" you don't understand, I don't mean to be this way, I am just broken." I agree with you though that it should not be taken out on me because of his childhood. He does not see his childhood as all that bad--I see it as bad only because his dad was angry all the time and expected so much of his son that he gets upset if there is a problem or a mistake. He takes things so seriously and I am usually the calm, reasonable one trying to support him through it. I am sorry you had to go through this too...
i agree with teko. when someone like that is unhappy in themselves, for whatever reason, and you have tried being there and being there and being sympathetic and being sympathetic and things don't change, you have to put your foot down. i had a similar situation with my ex boyfriend where i tried everything known to me to get through to him and try and figure out his needs and all it did was stress me out to the point where our relationship hit a wall. you see, you are eventually going to start feeling like the problem is lying within you, when it is really within him and there is no reason why you should feel bad for not being able to "fix" him. he needs to realize he is pushing you away, then maybe he will come around.
I agree...And I have told him too that he is pushing me away and how hurt I am..I have been open with him about that. He says "I am doing the best I can, stick with me..." and that he loves me. But, I still think it is an empty love. He does admit that he does not know how to love like others love. He recognizes that it hurts me but he says he will try and make up for it in other ways--being a good father, working hard, doing chores around the house, cooking dinner, etc. While these things are great...I need the connection or else it seems like we are great friends and even partners, but I don't know that he is actually in love with me..or that he knows what that means even.
Yes, I agree, I should not be the one that enables him to do it. I asked him about marrying me too..if he didn't feel the connection, why marry me. He said he married me because he loved me...which is still odd to me because you have to have a connection to truly love someone...
Goodness, I just feel this must be so exhausting for you, even during the "good" periods you probably can't relax. If he is in fact suffering from some type of depression he really needs to stick with the therapy (and not omit or hide anything from the therapist). Sometimes the medication can take a while to have any affect. I was on Prozac several years ago and I remember that it took about 1 week for me to feel anything then two weeks feeling euphoric (which as great as it was was not right) and then finally things leveled off. I wish you both the best and please keep us posted.
Okay Krissy, I'm going to try and express something from a male perspective.
I can understand where DH is coming from; however, as YOU are the one affected here, it is up to you to assertain FROM HIM what it will take for the both of you to get back what you had when you took your vows. Marriage is supposed to last forever, but it does NOT, much of the time (especially in this country). I could explain why it happens so often here, but I won't....doesn't matter.
What DOES matter is that the spark (aka ATTRACTION) is lacking, and it is up to you to find a way to spark attraction again. How does one get from where you are, to: "He was always going out of his way to surprise me with notes on my car or flowers at my work, etc."? Well, if you were a 10+ in his eyes (which you were when he pursued you), this would not be a problem; however, now that your femininity and intelligence is not exactly enough, one must remind DH what it was that got him excited in the first place.
One must relive the good times and impregnate a new sense of being, in an old mind. Point to examples where mid-life crisis, depression, anxiety, etc. need not happen, or destroy a person's life goals. Do you both have LIFE GOALS? Having a new baby in the family can often create a new life goal and often brings a couple back together. If you get started now on re-evaluating your goals, reliving best memories, and creating a new perspective on the tainted past, the baby may be just what you need to rekindle your spark for one-another and build support and attraction as you appreciate each others' contribution to raising a beautiful baby. DO NOT let all these things create excuses for you. DO NOT procrastinate on life goals. DO NOT let DH convince himself that his life has less meaning, or YOU are not as significant to him (besides being there when he needs you). His job is NOT that important, nor is his sense of DUTY to you as his wife. Wake up DH, you need some good men in your life to put yours back into perspective!!!
There are many other issues that need discussing, but this is a good start. DO NOT TAKE MEDICATIONS, OR WASTE TIME WITH EXPENSIVE THERAPISTS. There are alternatives that should be addressed first. Let me know if you need further assistance with coming up with inventive ideas to spark attraction! :-)
Thanks for your kind words...I agree..he did think I was attractive and he says he still thinks so but yes, the spark is somewhat gone. Although, I still feel very strongly towards him, his depression or whatever he is fighting or facing is hindering him from feeling much about me. To answer some of your questions, we both have life goals that are similar and we are a lot alike in many ways. While I can get depressed from time to time, it is the normal thing--nothing like this. I am able to snap out of it and be real and I think it is just moodiness from time to time on my part.
I don't know what is going to help--I have tried doing things to get his attention and to show him how much I love him (which he says he does need) but nothing seems to work for very long. He did bring me flowers today....very nice...but has now sunk into a depressed state tonight. He never cries....he just goes very quiet and then he has difficulty sleeping or being around people when he is like this.
He will see that therapist that he has booked an appointment with but I am thinking if he does not see results or at least feel he will see results, we'll have to try something else. Certainly before the baby arrives in May, we are going to have to get some answers...I don't want to add more stress to the situation and I would like him to be able to bond with the baby. Sometimes too I fear he will commit suicide to escape the pain and I can't bear that thought.....
You and your husband should look up two terms - "Alexithymia" and "Aspergers Syndrome". His profile sounds a lot like someone with very high functioning Autism. This is very common in adults but is only now being discovered by the medical community. Most psychiatry pros are not adequately trained to deal with it. His high IQ and depression are classic signs, along with an inability to connect emotionally. Essentially, these folks have high IQs but very low EQs (emotional intelligence).
Check out the following websites and see if anything sounds about right:
This is such an interesting concept and added nearly 2 l/2 years later. It will be interesting to read further discussion on the matter if connections with the site are still in place. I will be checking back. Thank you all for such an interesting discussion.
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