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  #1  
Unread 28th March 2012, 05:35 PM
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Husband incapable of emotional intimacy...

Hi there. My husband and I have been married for a year and a half now, and it's starting to become clear that he is not capable of giving me the emotional intimacy that I need.

We've talked about this so many times that I feel like I'm beating a dead horse. I purchased a book for him which explained in great detail what it is that women need from their husbands and why. He read the entire thing and claims to have understood it. Every time I bring it up, he musters up some of what I need, just enough to "fix" me, and then goes back to normal. Which only proves even further that he does understand what I'm talking about.

From what I can tell, his father was the exact same way, if not worse. We've talked about this as well, he agreed, and it didn't change anything.

He is the same way in all of his relationships, completely unable to open up emotionally or share any part of himself. He has no close friendships, probably never has.

Naturally, this is starting to spill over into our physical relationship. I do my best to do what the bible tells me to do as a wife in that department, but there is no desire. My husband knows this, and again, we've talked about why, but it seems he's willing to settle for less than the best if it means he can avoid emotional intimacy.

I really don't know what to do any more. I don't want to spend the rest of our marriage in a cycle of learning to forgive him, and learning not to sin out of my anger, and learning to not resent him, etc. I try so hard to remind myself that "It's not all about me" - but in this case, I know that if it's somewhat about me, he will be much better off as well.

I'm just so frustrated, and we're about to go around the "talk about how I feel, he pretends to do something about it, I feel better, he shuts down again" cycle for the 3rd time this month! Everything in me wants to put up a wall and just completely shut him out so that I can stop experiencing the pain that this is causing me, but I know that will only hurt the situation more.

Does anyone have any advice at all? Thank you...
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  #2  
Unread 28th March 2012, 05:39 PM
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I guess I dont concretely understand what you mean when you say you're husband is incapabable of emotional intimacy. Bear with me here, I think its a popular thing now among women that men have to be just like women in the 'emotional/talk' mode. But many men just are not talkative or dont know how to show affection. How do I know? I married a man that was hard to get to know, not very affectionate and other than the things of God, we dont talk about deep things. But this doesnt mean he's void of any emotional intimacy, he just shows it differently.

Maybe your husband shows it differently or like my husband has a hard time with the whole affection/talking thing. It's probably just not his love language although I think over time it can grow. My husband has changed a lot in 3 years but from the outside people cant really see it a lot.
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  #3  
Unread 29th March 2012, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JRSut1000 View Post
I guess I dont concretely understand what you mean when you say you're husband is incapabable of emotional intimacy. Bear with me here, I think its a popular thing now among women that men have to be just like women in the 'emotional/talk' mode. But many men just are not talkative or dont know how to show affection. How do I know? I married a man that was hard to get to know, not very affectionate and other than the things of God, we dont talk about deep things. But this doesnt mean he's void of any emotional intimacy, he just shows it differently.

Maybe your husband shows it differently or like my husband has a hard time with the whole affection/talking thing. It's probably just not his love language although I think over time it can grow. My husband has changed a lot in 3 years but from the outside people cant really see it a lot.
Thanks for your response...from what I understand, this is a very common problem in marriages, whether people are able to pinpoint it or not. Here are some resources that describe what I am experiencing in great detail:

9 Signs Emotional Intimacy is Suffering in a Marriage

The Emotionally Distant Husband | Marriage Missions International

Increase Emotional Intimacy in Relationships

intimacy in marriage

intimacy in marriage

intimacy in marriage

I believe that because men are created in the image of God, they are naturally designed to express great intimacy in their relationships, however, our society has taught them to with hold this intimacy. Furthermore, I believe that this is a great deception that satan has put in place in order to destroy the family unit - and it's clearly working, with the divorce rate being up around 50% now. I see that women have found all kinds of ways to cope with this, most of which further bury the root of the problem, but I for one am not willing to let my marriage be destroyed by a tactic that I can plainly see. But other than prayer, I don't exactly know what to do about it. I see myself being tempted put up walls, and find distractions, or to believe that this is "just the way men are" or that "people don't change", or that "I married the wrong person and have to live with it" - but those are LIES designed to keep our marriage in this oppression. I see all of this, and the worst part is that my husband see's it too - but he's not doing anything about it.
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  #4  
Unread 29th March 2012, 10:04 AM
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Have you guys tried counseling?

I hear you loud and clear about the lack of emotional intimacy. Unfortunately, trying to "force" it can make the spouse retreat only further.

Would he go to counseling?
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  #5  
Unread 29th March 2012, 11:17 AM
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Your last line is 'hes not doing anything about it"..and he is the only one that can..Your only hope is that he cares enough to take you seriously and gets engaged..Unfortunately since of course hes been "trained" to be the what?" the siilent type" ?then he may take the view that there is nothing wrong with that therefore you are just nit pickig at him and you shoud just 'love HIM' the way he is..It may be that he cant change I dont know..

Another interesting thing i read form a chapter in a book a friend linked it talked about how a man(this MAY apply to women as well)..isnt moved to "change" over YOUR pain or unhappiness..he is only moved to change over HIS pain or unhappiness..In other words you can be extremely unhappy..while he is perfectly content..he will even "put up with' your occassional "nagging' about this issue..ride it out until you shut up again and get comfortabel again in complacency..

Anyway I can relate..and especially on those links about the sex thing..you become distant that way..next thing you know hes running around yelling and complaining you won't have sex..(or enough sex or you act like its a chore)..and the ENTIRE focus switches to what YOUR problem in bed is..if you try to explain you don't have it IN YOU becasue you have ZERO bonding outside of bed and you cant CREATE passion that does not EXIST only on a matress....then you will be accused of using sex as a weapon or to manipulate him..and if he does start "trying' only at that point its very possible hes only forcing himself to go through the motions himself..to get his goal..sex...the lie becomes ya''ls "issue " is sex..when its not..sex is a symptom of the bigger issue..

Sorry to sound so grim..but the writing is on the wall unless you get into counseling NOW and stay in it..where possibly he can LEARN how to be connected to you becasue quite frankly he may just not KNOW how and needs instructions like a map.then over TIME it wil be more natural and flowing.Also I agree with JR...try hard to RECOGNIZE subtle ways hes trying to connect with you even if they arent exactly how you want them..and appreciate that ..COUNT that as him loving you and engaging with you intimately.Notice things things and stop and tell him..SEE thats what I love I love when you shared about 'blank"..or when you did "blank"..Otherwsie he may start to feel like "no matter what he does its not good enough" (which of course isnt true because it ISNT no matter what because hes not doign the #1 things your ASKING for) but still try and TAKE his gestures of love as intimacy ..the non sexual kind..TRY very hard and fervently not to just dwell and focus on the things you need not being given..WHILE working towards that goal of course..because I know you cant help it and its not WRONG for you to want this emotional intimacy outside of bed..

I guess what I'm trying to say is ..it might be a LONG time if ever you see what it is you want develop and it may NEVER be how you "imagine"..so in the meantime dont fall into an abiss of misery ..it will KILL YOU ..WORK on the problem BUT find the silver linign at the same time..as you go..Do NOT allow your self to be dependent on him for your core happiness or feelings of value/self worth..thats not even fair in the first place..And just like you cant "demand" passion out of someone sexually ..you cant "demand" emotional intimacy outside of bed..he apparrently doesnt feel the "urge" or desire..so you have to cultivate it somehow with him if HES willing..and I think counseling with the right counselor is your only hope..

Dallas
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  #6  
Unread 29th March 2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by donnamabob View Post
Thanks for your response...from what I understand, this is a very common problem in marriages, whether people are able to pinpoint it or not. Here are some resources that describe what I am experiencing in great detail:

9 Signs Emotional Intimacy is Suffering in a Marriage

The Emotionally Distant Husband | Marriage Missions International

Increase Emotional Intimacy in Relationships

intimacy in marriage

intimacy in marriage

intimacy in marriage

I believe that because men are created in the image of God, they are naturally designed to express great intimacy in their relationships, however, our society has taught them to with hold this intimacy. Furthermore, I believe that this is a great deception that satan has put in place in order to destroy the family unit - and it's clearly working, with the divorce rate being up around 50% now. I see that women have found all kinds of ways to cope with this, most of which further bury the root of the problem, but I for one am not willing to let my marriage be destroyed by a tactic that I can plainly see. But other than prayer, I don't exactly know what to do about it. I see myself being tempted put up walls, and find distractions, or to believe that this is "just the way men are" or that "people don't change", or that "I married the wrong person and have to live with it" - but those are LIES designed to keep our marriage in this oppression. I see all of this, and the worst part is that my husband see's it too - but he's not doing anything about it.
I understand. ITA with you that it's a device our enemy is using to destroy families, and that the lie is being spread that "men are just like this". I am going to sit back and just read the other responses, as I don't really know the answer (but, I completely agree with Dallas on all that she posted).

As far as counseling goes.....I don't know if you husband is characterized as saying things that he knows people want to hear, even if it's not true......if he is, I would "counselor shop" alone first, to find a counselor you feel comfortable with and one that understands a fear of intimacy. From experience, I've found that poor counseling can be worse than *no* counseling. If the two of you went to a counselor that didn't see this as an issue....your husband may feel vindicated to continue on in this way and say the counselor "diagnosed" this as YOUR issue---not his.
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Unread 29th March 2012, 12:10 PM
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I have to preface this by saying YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY! I mean no disrespect, but have a completely different take than what I've read so far. And - we're practically neighbors. I live near Fayetteville & work in Manlius.

I'm curious... did you have "emotional intimacy" in the beginning of your relationship? Did you realize that this was a potential issue? You are still newlyweds... could this be part of you two learning each other? It's sad that you're having issues when your marriage is so new!

I confess that I actually had to look up what emotional intimacy is. Some of the articles you posted were kind of harsh towards men. I guess I have a different outlook on the subject. Men are not like women. They are hardwired differently. It goes beyond the testosterone right to the chromosomal level. For example, as an infant, my daughter cooed & made sweet little sounds... my son made growly sounds like a truck sometimes! I'm not raising them differently, but where my daughter comes to me and talks about her feelings, I have to actually draw my son out to get him to talk about his feelings & it's not always easy.

My husband is a manly man. The things that attracted me to him are his strength, that he's a leader, his wonderful masculinity, that he's frank about things - plus he's sexy & handsome! Men like mine definitely process things differently than women simply because they're men (mine is definitely an alpha male.) I have learned to tell him that I'm not asking for him to solve anything when I just need to vent. Because his natural reaction is to think I'm asking for help when all I want is an ear. I have to remind him that sometimes I just need to be held - and roaming hands takes the affection out of it for me. He was really confused the first few times I pulled back from an embrace that was turning into sex, because men sex that as affection. For a woman, they are two different things. I truly believe that these things are just inherent differences in wiring. In his case, that wiring was reinforced by his upbringing, but I don't believe it was caused by it.

Here's an example of different wiring--- when my MIL passed away, he only cried briefly. A week later he started tearing out the drywall in her old room (she lived with us) and redid the insulation, wiring, installed new drywall & painted. Man, I was confused! I called my Mom, completely baffled by his behavior. She told me that when my Gram died, my Dad repainted every room in their house! My Dad is definitely not what I would call emotionally unavailable. They process their emotions differently than we do. They need to act, to distract themselves from the pain. Do I think it's weird? Yeah! Really weird! But as my wise old Gram used to say, "It is what it is.... they're MEN." I think we need to stop expecting them to think like we think and have the same emotions as women do. The only men I know that are wired like us are gay.

I guess I don't expect my husband to meet all of my emotional needs. I have a close relationship with my Mom, aunts, daughter & my best friend since high school. I have hobbies that actually help me if I'm feeling frustrated - nothing like metalsmithing to get a little anger out! I meditate & pray while I garden. I enjoy tending our chooks & peas with my son & sharing our love of books & NASCAR. I enjoy my work, volunteer work and life in general. My husband is my rock, my stability, my knight in shining armor, my Beloved, my lover, the love of my life & my soulmate -- I can't ask for more. I don't want to change my lion into a tabby cat.

Sometimes in marriage you both have to compromise - find a middle ground where you can both function & be happy. Sometimes you just have to realize that men and women are different. I don't know the extent of your husband's emotional distance from you, and I may be totally out of line for your circumstances. Maybe I'm wired differently than most women! And maybe marriage counseling would be the best thing to do. I hope I didn't offend you. I just have a different perspective.

Last edited by gabrielle2012; 29th March 2012 at 12:16 PM.
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Unread 29th March 2012, 12:17 PM
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...try hard to RECOGNIZE subtle ways hes trying to connect with you even if they arent exactly how you want them..and appreciate that ..COUNT that as him loving you and engaging with you intimately.Notice things things and stop and tell him..SEE thats what I love I love when you shared about 'blank"
Right. This is good advice.
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Unread 29th March 2012, 12:17 PM
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As far as defining "emotional intimacy"....I LOVE this book:

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Unread 29th March 2012, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JaneFW View Post
Would he go to counseling?
I think that he probably would go to counseling. I guess I just wanted to exhaust some of our other options first. I'm starting to feel like counseling would be a good idea at this point.
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