Behavioral Health Consultant, Trainer and EAP Manager

Seattle, Washington

Uncaring Husband

Question:

I get into crying spells and my husband blows me off. He refuses to comfort me and he hides behind the newspaper. Sometimes he ridicules me. My friends tell me to leave him but that’s not an option. What do I do with this guy??

 

Answer:

There are two general directions you can take with your husband. One is to accept that he has the flaws he does (my wife knows about this!), and that pressing him to change is not only futile, but makes you frustrated and makes him more obstinate. It is a little easier to re-label his behavior then – rather that simply insensitive, maybe he’s scared to death of your strong emotions. Which one of you really needs the comforting? Imagine how you might behave if you could adopt this view 100%. It could be worth seeing how he responds.

The other general direction is in some ways incompatible, but not completely. You would decide that in being committed to your marriage, you are committed to doing everything in your power to stop his eroding it. Being careful not to do it in a way that can backfire, you strategize on how to turn up the heat. For example, you might talk to him about your complaint repeatedly, but only when you’re composed. At the times you’re crying, you may not be as assertive, and he’s already shown that he tunes you out. So, at the other times the issue is always at the top of the agenda. In a sense, he’s not playing the game, so you keep pitching the ball until the only thing left for him is to swing at it.

If you want to explore these kinds of options some more, a very good writer on the subject is Michele Weiner-Davis. Check out any of her books, esp. Getting Through to the Man You Love: The No-Nonsense, No-Nagging Guide for Women on one of the retail websites.

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