Discover the reasons your husband won’t talk to you and what you can do about it to make your relationship better–for the both of you.
When men stop talking to their wives, it is not something that makes them happy. In fact, it makes both them and their wives miserable.
The reasons for such behavior ranges from poor communication skills to a desire to punish and control their wives.
If you respond in a way that rewards that behavior, it will only get worse. With a few simple steps, you can learn how to reverse this behavior–helping your relationship to get to a better place.
Understanding why your husband won’t talk to you
There is a simple key to understanding people. People do things because of some perceived benefit for them or to avoid pain. The key to understanding your husband’s behavior is to figure out which of these two reasons apply.
Which is more rewarding for your husband? Talking to you, or avoiding you? Which brings him the most pleasure? The most pain? By working to increase his pleasure and decrease his pain, he will enjoy talking to you more.
Possibility #1: Your husband won’t talk because he wants more love and affection (the pleasure motive)
His not talking to you may be because he doesn’t feel that he is getting enough attention from you. But, rather than seeking attention from you in a good way, he attempts to force it from you. This is the essence of needy behavior–trying to force from our partners what we need.
As long as he is able to get more attention this way, then you can count on him continuing to do it. This behavior usually only happens when he really isn’t getting enough attention otherwise. It is important to ask yourself if you are giving your husband as much affection and attention as you used to.
Possibility # 2: Your husband won’t talk because he doesn’t like conflict (the avoiding pain motive)
Your husband may be upset at you for something, but not want to say anything about it for fear that it will cause conflict. He may be following the old adage, “If you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all.”
Although you may believe that if he would only tell you what was bothering him, then the problem could be resolved. Honestly, though, this is often not the case. Were he to tell you what was bothering him, it might lead to even more conflict than you have now.
Think back on when your husband has shared what was bothering him. Has it been a good thing? Is there a good reason why your husband doesn’t want to share with you now? Do you do a good job of helping him feel supported when he tells you what is bothering him?
Possibility # 3: Your husband won’t talk because he has given up hope
Perhaps your husband has repeatedly talked with you about some ongoing problem in your relationship. He may have given up on that actually changing. This is a clear warning sign that he may be getting ready to leave your relationship. If your husband says he wants space to figure what he wants, you will need to take action soon.
When men stop working on change, it is not usually because they have become okay with things as they are, but because they have no more hope. His hope may start coming from outside of the relationship.
Is there some issue that your husband used to be concerned about, but no longer is? Could his not talking to you be a step toward moving out of your relationship to get what he wants?
Possibility # 4: Your husband won’t talk because he is punishing you
Did you do something your husband doesn’t like? If so, he may be doing something that you don’t like. Since men are goal oriented, his goal is to teach you not to behave that way anymore.
If he knows that his not talking to you bothers you a lot, then he knows it is an effective way to punish you. Men who use this style are often punitive toward others as well, whom them blame for causing their problems.
Is he never wrong? The more right he feels, the more justified he will feel to judge others, including you. Does your husband typically feel that he is a victim of other people’s behavior? Is his way the only right way?
Possibility # 5: Your husband won’t talk because he is trying to force something from you
There are many things that people can do to try to get their way. Unfortunately, withholding love, affection, attention, or talking are some of them. These always do damage.
The more fearful you are of losing your husband, the more likely you are to give in to this kind of psychological manipulation. As soon as you do, your husband is rewarded for doing that and so is even more likely to do it again.
Just like giving in to a child who has a tantrum in order to get what he wants, giving in to psychological manipulation only makes this problem worse. Has your husband been doing this more and more over the years? What has he learned that is encouraging him to continue doing it?
Possibility # 6: Your husband won’t talk because he is intentionally creating emotional distance
There are a number of things that people can do to create distance in their relationship. A very common one is arguing about trivial matters. Another is not talking or only talking about practical matters–avoiding all personal communication.
This is one of the warning signs that your husband is preparing to leave you or is already having an affair. In order to feel justified for such actions, people often create distance in their relationships. Most people would feel guilty to cheat on or abandon someone they have a good relationship with.
Men in this situation typically are not interested in marriage counseling or will sabotage it, if they do go. Does your husband seem to go out of his way to create conflict? Do you get rejected even when you treat your husband very well?
The needy wife’s response when her husband won’t talk to her
Because needy women are afraid of abandonment, any kind of withdrawal by their husbands triggers anxiety. Their natural inclination is to go to their husbands and apologize, give in on something they don’t want to do, or treat their husbands extra lovingly.
With so many payoffs just for not talking, their husbands find this an excellent way to keep their wives in line and get what they want. Men with such needy wives will use withdrawal more and more in the relationship and may even get to the place where they are threatening divorce.
Men who want to divorce, divorce. Men who want to control, threaten divorce.
The secure wife’s response when her husband won’t talk to her
Secure wives have two obvious qualities. They treat their husbands very well, and they don’t accept any mistreatment from them. As a result, they have both a high level of respect and attraction from their husbands.
Becoming this way will strengthen your relationship, although it will initially be a difficult adjustment for your husband. You will need to stop giving in to whatever he is trying to force from you when he won’t talk to you. You will also need to make a concerted effort to give him good love and affirmation when he is not behaving this way.
He will continue to do what works
When to never give in. If he is trying to force something from you by not talking, you must never give in to that. Even if he is just trying to get your attention, you must not go to him whether to apologize or to argue. You must leave him alone in withdrawal.
If you do give in, then he will have this behavior more and more. If you are able to hold out for a little while, but then become so needy that you give in, you will only have taught him that he needs to withdraw from you longer in order to get what he wants.
Women who do not give in to withdrawal from their husbands, and who are able to carry on well if their husbands do withdraw, don’t have husbands who withdraw.
Good changes always makes things worse at first
When you first refuse to give your husband what he is trying to force from you he will maintain that behavior longer–much longer. He also will show his anger in other ways.
However, when he finally realizes that won’t work, he will again talk to you. At that time it is imperative that you don’t talk to him about his not talking, but instead just treat him normally.
Also, while he is behaving distant, be sure that you are carrying on with your life so that he can see that he is hurting himself only, and not you. If you can do this consistently, you will end his withdrawal behavior.
Boundaries can’t do all the work
If you only use boundaries, you will lose his love. Think about how you treated him when you were first dating. You probably gave him lots of attention, were very interested in what he wanted to share, gave him compliments, and made him feel that you really admired him.
These connection skills are just as important when you are married as when you were first dating. If you don’t know how to connect with a man, you can get coaching and learn.
Treat your husband wonderfully, and your boundaries will work well. Neglect your husband and your boundaries will just be one more reason for him to leave you.
The same could be said of children. All boundaries and no love will destroy your relationship with them. But, some boundaries mixed with a lot of love will work wonders.
You can completely turn your relationship around
Help your husband to enjoy talking with you with some free email lessons to do on your own. I get many emails from women telling me how these lessons restored good communication with their husbands. One of many:
Thank you so much for all of your help Jack, I have been using the skills that you taught me through “Building Love Through Better Communication,” and things are pretty good between my husband and I.
Use a book to learn how to use boundaries if your husband is angry, selfish, unhappy, or avoidant.
Use a book to stop your own damaging behaviors and get more love from your husband
For more intensive help, especially if you sense that your husband is on his way out of your marriage, you will want to get a one on one coaching package with me, Coach Jack.
When you stop trying to change your husband directly, and instead change the way you respond to your husband, you will end conflict and have a closer, more emotionally satisfying marriage.