This is the first part of our series called, Unloved. It answers the question, ‘What happens when a woman feels unloved.’
Marriage is designed the be the answer to loneliness. No one enters marriage expecting to feel alone, unloved, or isolated. This is the opposite of what we desire. But what happens when our expectations are not met? When we feel emotionally abandoned? When we feel unloved?
In this series, we want to address (and hopefully answer) those questions.
No one wants to feel unloved. We were created for fellowship (connection, partnership, and relationship).
It is normal to desire this connection. It is abnormal when it is missing.
As stated earlier, marriage is designed to be the ultimate connection in life. Unfortunately, it is not always that way. Many women (and men) feel unloved in their marriage. When the ‘thing’ that was designed to make you feel most accepted and connected doesn’t, it is painful.
What is the remedy? How do we recapture what is missing in our relationship? This series attempts to help you navigate those issues and get your relationship back on track.
To do this we will tackle a few delicate issues. We want to offer practical advice, but advice based on common sense and research. This is not always easy.
Public opinion on issues of separation and divorce vary widely. So our goal is not to tell you what you need to do (your case is unique); rather our desire is to give you the tools you need to work on your relationship.
To do this, we want to answer some of the basic questions couples (mostly women) have about their marriage.
Note: This series is written for women. That doesn’t mean it will not be helpful to men. Human nature is the same across the board. While our wiring may be different (so we approach problems differently), human needs for contact, connection, and belonging are the same. Every human being wants to feel they belong. If you are a male reading this, simply change the pronouns.
In This Article
- Articles in This Series
- FAQ’s About Feeling Unloved in Your Marriage
- Final Thoughts on When A Woman Feels Unloved
Articles in This Series
Here are the main articles in this series.
How to Stay in a Loveless Marriage
How to Survive a Sexless Marriage without Cheating
FAQ’s About Feeling Unloved in Your Marriage
Here are a few frequently asked questions concerning unloving spouses. We will briefly respond to each of these questions, just know that our answers are general. There are many factors that need to be considered. Our answers might be considered the basic responses of most men.
Before we delve into these important questions, watch the short video below from The School of Life where they address why we (as adults) grow cold and pull away from those we really love.
One important point to note; it is easy to hear, read and see things and assume our partner is feeling a certain way. I find it is important to ‘think from the other persons perspective’ in order to keep a balanced view of life. Ask yourself, ‘Could my spouse be feeling left out, alone and vulnerable? Is that the reason they seem so closed and distant?
It may not be the case. But it is the best – and safest – place to start. No need jumping to conclusions. Keep a balanced perspective. Especially as we address the issues below.
How Do You Know When Your Marriage Is Really Over?
‘There is always hope!’ I know you’ve heard it. I have. I’ve even said it a time or two. But is it true? Is there always hope a relationship can get back on track to not only survive but thrive?
It’s not easy to answer that question. It mostly depends on the couple. Some couples have the unique ability to work through the nastiest of problems and come out closer than before. Others never get past the offense (or whatever caused the breach in their relationship). Your response to major marriage challenges mostly depends on your mindset.
So, the simple answer to the question I asked above is, No! Sometimes hope dissipates over time. It shouldn’t be this way, but the pragmatic part of my brain acknowledges that some marriages won’t survive.
The real issue is not ‘can your marriage survive?’ but ‘are you willing to do what it takes to reclaim what you once had? If you can answer that question with a positive affirmation, there is hope for your marriage.The real issue is not 'can your marriage survive?' but 'are you willing to do what it takes to reclaim what you once had? If you can answer that question with a positive affirmation, there is hope for your marriage. Click To Tweet
The bottom line is, it always (and this is one time the word always really seems to fit) depends on your outlooks, commitment, and willingness to work on your relationship. Sure, it takes two people to make it work but the process has to begin somewhere.
And, because you are reading this, I assume you are the one seeking answers to your problem.
If you feel like you are the only one who is working to make things happen, there is hope and help. Lee Baucom developed a program to help people who feel like they are the only one trying to make the marriage better. You can find out more about his unique approach to solving marriage problems here.
Why Is My Husband So Unloving?
There are many factors that determine how we (all people) respond to problems, situations, and events.
- How we were raised
- Cultural mores and pressure
- Personality types
- Beliefs (spiritual, relational, etc)
- Past relationships (previous baggage)
- Personal experiences
These are just a few of the markers that determine how people respond to life events. This is one reason we encourage couples thinking about marriage (and those who are already married but want help) to sign up for a 90-minute consultation with one of our team members.
We are part of an organization called, ‘Prepare and Enrich.’ By answering a series of questions, we are able to help couples narrow down and focus on the issues that are most affecting their relationship.
Back to the question, ‘Why is my husband so unloving?’ The facts above are indicators that help us understand the individual. When we get a grasp on these things (and a few others) it helps you better know what you can do to change the dynamic of the relationship.
The key is to stop ‘stabbing in the dark’ trying to make something work. You might be doing further damage to your marriage. There is no one size fits all when it comes to relationships. Each couple is unique. Each couple has their own ‘dance’ (that’s what my wife calls it – how we relate to each other).
When you figure that part out, you will have a better picture of what to do to heal your relationship.
How Do I Know If My Husband Is Unhappy?
The easiest way to know is to ask. I don’t mean to trivialize the issue, but the best way to get information is to ask for it. Most husbands are willing to talk about what they want and need, but sometimes they require a little prodding. So ask him what he wants.
Do not over complicate it. We run into trouble when we start guessing what is going on with our spouse. The most important part of communication is connecting and understanding one another. Without this, we are merely saying words. Communication happens when we connect by understanding our spouse.
If this doesn’t work, look for these obvious signs he is unhappy:
- He acts frustrated, depressed, or uninterested
- He spends too much time by himself
- He criticizes more than he used to
- You feel he has contempt and disgust for you
- He seems overly defensive about things
- He no longer turns toward you emotionally (the sliding door example)
These are just a few things to look out for. There are many signs and indicators, but the most important thing to take note of is how you feel. I’m not talking about raw or overly sensitive emotions.
We all have an internal barometer that measures our relationships. If you pay attention, you will know in your heart if something is wrong. The fact you ask this question is enough to warrant an investigation into what is happening in your marriage.
Paul Hokemeyer puts it this way:
“An unhappy marriage chronically feels bad. It’s like a cold that lingers, leaving you drained and vulnerable,”Paul Hokemeyer, J.D., Ph.D
Brie Schwartz says:
“Symptoms can include severe headaches, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, neck, and back pain. Many of my patients who suffer from depression claim they’re constantly fatigued, while those who have anxiety report insomnia. I even treated one middle-aged woman who carried such anger towards her husband that she often felt her skin was crawling with ants.”(oprahmag.com)
For more details, check out our article on the five root causes of most marriage problems.
Why Do Husbands Not Talk To Their Wives?
It’s no secret that men and women communicate differently; they also do not communicate (talk) as frequently as most women. This doesn’t mean they do not desire to connect and communicate. It simply means they do not share the same need to talk.
The same ‘reasons’ mentioned above (why is my husband so unloving) can be helpful here. The factors that determine our communication styles impact our marriage.
I’m usually not keen on personality tests. My wife loves them. My opinion is, at best, they are a snapshot of a point in your life.
That said, I do recommend taking the Enneagram Test. Michelle and I took it and found it was very insightful about our core makeup – the big concepts that determine what we think about life. There are a few books on Enneagram we recommend that specifically deal with marriage and personal growth.
There are a few ways it might help:
- It gives you a starting point in understanding your spouse better.
- It gives you something to talk about (you can discuss the results of the test and why you think it is accurate or not).
- You will understand your own needs better
- It will help you develop a plan of action to work on your relationship
You might need a little help with the last one, but any good plan begins an understanding of your partner.
The first rule of battle is to know your enemy. This helps you predict what they will do. While marriage shouldn’t be a battle, you are fighting for (not against) your relationship. Just remember, your husband is not the enemy. But you do have to understand how he thinks in order to know how to deal with sticky situations.
How Do I Live With An Emotionally Distant Husband?
If you stay in a marriage where one partner has ‘checked out’ it can be challenging. The best advice is to create a life that makes you happy – one that is not dependent on your spouse.
I don’t say this to ‘cut them out of your life.’ On the contrary, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and offer them opportunities to join you. This will ensure you do not close your heart to your spouse.
The goal is not to cut them off, but to do things that make you happy and lives a life of purpose even if they choose to opt-out. You can’t force them to engage with you, but you can do things that enrich your own life.
We address this in some detail in our article, ‘How To Deal With An Unloving Husband.’ We offer five things to keep in mind when working through marriage issues when you feel unloved.
How Can I Help My Husband If He Is Unhappy?
The best way to help is to give him genuine care. Empathy is one of the most fundamental qualities of a healthy marriage.
Empathy means putting yourself in your spouses’ shoes so you can truly understand what he is thinking, feeling, and believing. All three of these are important. But the most important ingredient is genuine concern.
We encourage couples to rethink their relationship and view it as a bank account. Just like a financial bank (where you make deposits of money), your marriage is a bank where emotional, physical, and spiritual deposits are made. These gain interest over time just like money.
The problem is, most couples stop investing in their marriage. They coast through their relationship without effort or planning on how to make it better.
When this happens it’s only natural your marriage slips into neutral. The result is either apathy (you no longer care), or frustration (characterized by fights, irritation, and lack of connection).
The solution is to invest daily (regularly) in your marriage. Make deposits that build connection.
It’s really not complicated. We overthink it most of the time. The key is knowing what your spouse needs from you and offering to meet those needs.
Final Thoughts on When A Woman Feels Unloved
No one gets married expecting to live a life of loneliness and isolation. We all have dreams of happily, ever-after.
In this series we discuss what to do when you are in a marriage and feel unloved. Specifically, we address what happens when a woman feels unloved. But these articles are not just for women.
They will help men…
- Who want to love their spouse better
- Who desire deeper intimacy with their wife
- Who feel unloved in their relationship
- Who have habits they need to change
- Who really want a more fulfilling marriage
In essence, if you are in a relationship that is less satisfying than you expected, and if you desire to move beyond feeling unloved to loved, we will address key issues to help you work toward a marriage that meets your needs.
Need more help getting your marriage on the right track? If you feel unloved in your marriage, but want to try to make it work, check out these resources.
The Healthy Marriage Quiz
If you want specific help for your marriage, or you want to know your healthy marriage score, take the marriage quiz. You’ll get immediate access along with suggestions on how to improve your relationship.
The Healthy Marriage Toolkit
Books, Courses, Programs and Tools designed to help you create the marriage of your dreams.
Five Simple Steps Marriage Course
Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. In this 5 part mini series you’ll discover practical steps to redesign your marriage.
Healthy Marriage Courses
Our courses will help you build a strong marriage. Each course is designed to meet a specific relationship need.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.