Skip to Content

How To Live With An Emotionally Distant Husband (6 STRATEGIES THAT WORK)

It happens way too often in relationships, especially those involving children and years of marriage, where a wife finds herself with an emotionally distant husband.

If you think this might be your marriage, it can be very concerning. Do you accept the behavior and push through to not cause apprehension or do you try and change his behavior and work towards him being more involved emotionally?

It could take years for you to notice how emotionally distant your husband has become, but once you have taken note, it can be painful to deal with.

To help find happiness in yourself and try to work through your relationship, here is how to live with an emotionally distant husband and signs to look for if you think your husband might be emotionally distant.

Type Of Emotional Distance

Live With An Emotionally Distant Husband

There are two ways that your husband might be emotionally distant. The first is if he is only emotionally distant for a short period, where there is something that has caused him to pull away from you for some reason.

This could be that there has been something that has happened in your relationship that has upset him, or he could be suffering a loss of a family member or friend. He might even be going through added stress at work that you might not know about.

You would know if this is the type of emotional distance your husband displays, as he would usually be emotionally available, only to shut off suddenly.

Another type of emotional distance of unavailability is when they suffer from it for life. There are many reasons this could happen, such as suffering trauma as a child or just being the type of person who finds vulnerability and commitment difficult.

There is more hope of reaching through to someone who is only temporarily emotionally distant, but there is a way through commitment and patience to get someone who is always distant to open up.

Signs Of An Emotionally Distant Husband

If you think that your husband could be emotionally distant, but you aren’t sure, you would be wanting to look for signs to cement what you think you know.

It is not always so easy to determine emotional unavailability, as sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it is tied in with other forms of manipulation, and sometimes it is hidden by you not being a very emotional person either.

Here are some of the most common signs of an emotionally distant husband:

He Never Shows Emotion

One of the most obvious signs that your husband is emotionally distant is that he just does not show any emotions. Have you ever seen him cry? Does he conceal any and all emotions, even when it might be impossible to not show emotion?

He might not show any affection towards you either, as this would require some sort of emotion. The small things he does for you or doesn’t do, are good signs to look for to determine whether he is emotionally distant or not.

He Does His Own Thing

While it is always good to have your own space in a relationship, an emotionally distant husband will prefer to do pretty much everything on his own. This could be small things like running to the shop or even booking weekends away or events by himself.

He might just not include you at all or use some sort of passive-aggressiveness to make you feel as though you would be encroaching on his space if you had to come with him, even though you hardly spend any time together as it is.

He Is Highly Critical Of You

It is always healthy to offer your partner constructive criticism. You do it because you love them and because you want your relationship to work and be healthy.

If your husband gives you criticism, but way too often and in a way that is meant to hurt you more than help, it shows that he feels no emotional attachment to you, so he doesn’t mind, or care, that he is hurting your feelings.

He will criticize everything there is to criticize, including your work, your parenting, your cooking, and whatever else he knows will hurt.

His Words Don’t Match His Actions

If he promises you the world and love and beautiful gestures, but never ever follows through, it is a sure sign that he is manipulating you to believe he is emotionally available, but the truth is that he really is not.

Time and time again, you get your hopes up that maybe this will be the occasion he follows through, and something suddenly changes and your relationship sparks up and is happy and loving, but if it has never happened before, and nothing changes, it is going to happen the next time he promises you the world.

He Doesn’t Better Your Relationship

Relationships take constant work, they are ongoing adventures that need effort from both parties. An emotionally distant husband will not put in any effort into the relationship. This could involve him not trying to ask about your day, making no effort to show you affection, or even not talking to you unless absolutely necessary at all.

This ends up with you taking all of the stress onto your shoulders of making the relationship work, and no matter how hard you try, things never work out the way you want them to, and you’re left disappointed.

He Has High Walls Up

Men who are emotionally distant build walls so that nobody can see their fears and weaknesses. Your husband might be this type of person, and while you maybe have been able to glance at his emotions at weak points in his life, he would put these walls straight back up again and push you out.

There is no way to break down these walls if he doesn’t want to, you might as well be banging your head against a literal wall. These walls can cause a lack of connection between the two of you and can be the downfall of your relationship.

How To Live With An Emotionally Distant Husband

How To Live With An Emotionally Distant Husband

Now that you know what signs to look for, and if you think that your husband is emotionally distant, here are some ways you could deal with this:

Make Your Feelings Known

Even if your husband is emotionally distant, you need to let him know that you aren’t and that you expect him to put in some effort to keep the relationship alive.

Let him know exactly what you expect from him, and what he needs to do to meet you halfway. If he really loves you, but battles with his emotions, he will try to open up to you.

Ask Him Upfront

Ask your husband upfront why he has been acting emotionally distant. If this is unusual behavior for him, something might be happening behind the scenes which is causing him to act this way. He might not want you to be involved, but that just makes the situation worse.

Let him know you have noticed a change in his behavior, and hopefully, he will take the initiative to let you know why he is acting the way he is.

Give Him Space

Your husband might be the type of person who feels overwhelmed with too much attention and affection, and this could cause him to pull away and not want to feel emotional with you.

If you think this could be the case, try and give him some space. Let him have time to himself and let him have some breathing room.

While it is a good idea to give him some space, do not do so much that it is detrimental to your relationship, and you are left on your own most of the time.

Understand You Cannot Fix Him

Being emotionally distant does not mean unlovable, and you might still love your husband unconditionally, and him you. You need to understand that you alone are not going to fix him. You cannot will him to become emotionally open with you.

This is something that he needs to do on his own, and whether he does this with space and reflection, or even with going to therapy, there is nothing you can do to control his emotional availability.

You need to understand this, or you will carry this burden throughout your relationship, and it can be so incredibly draining.

Focus On The Good

If his type of emotional distance is simply he’s not as expressive as you’d like, try focusing on the ways he does show his love and devotion.

Maybe your. husband doesn’t express love the way you’d like but is he the type that’s always there for you when you call? Does he make sure you’re taken care of? Is he a good, loving father?

Try and focus on the good aspects your husband possesses. The reasons you fell in love with him in the first place!

If you focus on what he lacks, you’ll quickly become bitter and unhappy in your marriage. Find ways to change your perspective and find the good in him.

See A Marriage Counselor

Speaking to a marriage counselor is highly recommended when dealing with an emotionally distant husband.

Your husband will likely not be in favor of going to marriage counseling but for the sake of your relationship, it is the most important step you can take.

Marriage counseling isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be. And you don’t have to start going when something is wrong!

It’s like going to the dentist or getting checkups, you go to prevent problems in the future. Not when all your teeth have already fallen out.

Tell your husband this is very important to you and it will only take an hour of his time a week (maybe even bi-weekly if he’s really against it!)

Check out BetterHelp if you’re interested in virtual marriage counseling. If you are serious about improving your relationship or feel like you’re on the brink of divorce, I can not recommend BetterHelp enough.

The have licensed and credentials therapists that can help you and your husband overcome obstacles in your marriage and make your relationship stronger (granted, you both are willing to put in the work.)

Living With An Emotionally Distant Husband

Living with an emotionally distant husband can be hard, but it does not mean that your relationship cannot work.

If the two of you love each other and want to make your marriage last, you will be able to work through his emotional unavailability and find a way to meet in the middle.

The key is communication and openness, and remembering to see things from the other person’s point of view.

As long as his emotional distance is not taking a toll on you emotionally, and he is not being manipulative and harmful to your emotions, there are ways to work through it and have a happy marriage. 

Enjoyed this? Make sure to read these next:

How Do I Know If My Husband Will Be A Good Father? (9 Signs!)

21 Unique Hobbies For Couples To Strengthen Their Relationship