Is my partner emotionally unavailable?

Ok I have to get this off my chest. My husband drives me crazy. He’s extremely helpful when it comes to the chores and spending time with our daughter. So he thinks I should be happy. I am happy and grateful even though this is his space and his child as much as it’s mine so really he isn’t doing me any favors. I am still grateful because a lot of other women are suffering with the issues I do not have.
He just can’t have a sit down and a serious adult conversation. Every single time I bring up something that we need to work on or something I didn’t like, he thinks I am arguing with him. Every conversation is a potential argument. Now ok maybe it’s his upbringing and I empathize with that. BUT what do I do? Communication is my core value. I am not arguing I am just trying to have a heart to heart. It’s been a few days.. it’s dawned upon me that I have been deprived of heart to heart conversations. He comes home eats and we watch TV. Which is great. It’s great I get it because it’s relaxing etc. But not even once a week? I can’t have a heart to heart once a week? Before getting married I used to have friends I met up with for coffee and we would talk for hours. Men or women... and it gave me so much joy. After getting married and moving to a new city, damn am I deprived. And the only thing he says is I’m not used to talking or you know everything about me already. When we do get into an argument he goes silent on me for HOURS and then the next day apologizes and assumes that it’s all gone now. Do you know what this is? Because just writing this makes me SO anxious and angry. I have a knot in my gut. I think I screwed up. I try to be understanding. I try.
Am I doing something wrong? If I am doing something wrong please be brutally honesty and tell me because I am willing to work on myself. I am willing to learn. But I can’t talk about this to family out of respect for him. BUT OMG am I sick of this pattern now. Thank you for reading :( ❤️
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
Make friends!

No really some people need a few really good friends to talk things out with. Others like your husband don’t. I do, my partner, not so much. I really need to talk things out. My partner just discovered recently he scores quite high for autism. Which I feel helped us quite a lot, maybe I know now how better to communicate. It’s early days.

I really need people to talk to. To spread the crazy around so to speak.

Are you the sufferer or is he I’m sorry I’m assuming it’s you.

I find it’s easier to communicate with my partner when I’ve already talked things out or vented with someone. You know when the emotions are out of the situation and just the facts remain. Do you have a therapist?

I genuinely don’t think you are the problem. In a perfect world he would also see the the problem and change accordingly but unfortunately some people aren’t ready/willing to do that or they just don’t see it.

You can keep doing what you’re doing and conflict, reconciliation, repeat. You can change (which often feels like it’s giving in) what I mean is finding a new way to communicate collaboratively. You can float the idea of couples therapy. You can leave. You can do a lot of things. There are a lot of options.

You can’t make someone change. They have to do that on their own. You can point them in the direction, support them in the journey etc.

It has been really triggering for me when my partner goes silent. It makes me very anxious and I always thought it was an emotionally manipulative thing to do. Now I realise he’s probably autistic it just means he’s processing and needs quite time. Generally the next day when he apologises is the time to finish the conversation and explain what it means to me how I felt etc. what I would like from him what he expects from me and so on.

I’m not saying this is helpful for you this is just my situation.

Best of luck.
 

Friday

Moderator
Ever heard of the 5 Love Languages?


Cause it sounds like he views talking for hours (words of affirmation) the same as you view doing chores for hours (acts of service).

So I would say less emotionally unavailable & more that the WAYS you two are expressing emotions /attempting to connect with each other are totally missing the mark.


Before getting married I used to have friends I met up with for coffee and we would talk for hours. Men or women... and it gave me so much joy. After getting married and moving to a new city, damn am I deprived.

Also? THIS… which, like the above, you’ve already flagged… but it’s one of those super easy things to get tripped up in when relationships change (moving, starting a family, etc.) and suddenly 1 person is being asked to fill the role of more than 1 person. Not just being themselves for you, or you for them, but also all the people who are no longer in your life. It’s as impossible an ask (in the long term) as asking someone to be a stay-at-home-parent AND work full time, AND go to school full time. But it still feels totally reasonable? (I suspect because virtually anything can be made to work in the short term). But the more exhausted someone becomes by making sacrifices… like attempting to be 5 people or Tetris sleep in naps over 24 hour days? The worse they get at everything they’re attempting.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Something someone told me decades ago, when I couldn't hear it as I was in a dsyfunctional relationship, was: you can't get everything you need from one person.
Couldn't hear it then but carried it with me. And I realise how solid advice that was.

So I also say: make friends!
Be 'you' as opposed to just being you in a marriage to someone.
You have needs to express things. He doesn't.
He should hear you though.
But maybe you can phrase things differently?
How do you express yourself with him?
Is the heart to heart a formal thing or a fluid thing?
Maybe a heart to heart can be done in different ways?
 

joeylittle

Administrator
When we do get into an argument he goes silent on me for HOURS and then the next day apologizes and assumes that it’s all gone now. Do you know what this is? Because just writing this makes me SO anxious and angry. I have a knot in my gut. I think I screwed up. I try to be understanding. I try.
You've written about your dissociative symptoms on the site - I'm wondering whether there's anything about the situation with your husband that might be relating somehow to your trauma event(s)? With PTSD, it's always a good idea to try and identify the roots of our most intense reactions.

Don't get me wrong - what you're describing sounds like one of many possible reactions to conflict in a marriage. I'm wondering how your PTSD ties into it.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
Do you know what this is?

personally, i call it, "marriage." my hubby is one of those strong and silent types that is, overall, my rock of ages and about as skilled a conversationalist as a rock, to boot, unless, of course, the topic is of his manly interest. sports, politics and how the world ought to be can spark his wordy side, but even there he enjoys expostulating more than conversating. he has important opinions to deliver. i confess i enjoy those "conversations" about as much as he likes my chick talks.

for my romantic dime novel, a partner who pulls his own weight with the family needs is plenty, warts and all. even if the perfect man is **out there**, it takes a village to live a healthy life. even if i found that perfect man, i would still need outlets other than mister perfect.
 

caroline_13

Confident
Ok I have to get this off my chest. My husband drives me crazy. He’s extremely helpful when it comes to the chores and spending time with our daughter. So he thinks I should be happy. I am happy and grateful even though this is his space and his child as much as it’s mine so really he isn’t doing me any favors. I am still grateful because a lot of other women are suffering with the issues I do not have.
He just can’t have a sit down and a serious adult conversation. Every single time I bring up something that we need to work on or something I didn’t like, he thinks I am arguing with him. Every conversation is a potential argument. Now ok maybe it’s his upbringing and I empathize with that. BUT what do I do? Communication is my core value. I am not arguing I am just trying to have a heart to heart. It’s been a few days.. it’s dawned upon me that I have been deprived of heart to heart conversations. He comes home eats and we watch TV. Which is great. It’s great I get it because it’s relaxing etc. But not even once a week? I can’t have a heart to heart once a week? Before getting married I used to have friends I met up with for coffee and we would talk for hours. Men or women... and it gave me so much joy. After getting married and moving to a new city, damn am I deprived. And the only thing he says is I’m not used to talking or you know everything about me already. When we do get into an argument he goes silent on me for HOURS and then the next day apologizes and assumes that it’s all gone now. Do you know what this is? Because just writing this makes me SO anxious and angry. I have a knot in my gut. I think I screwed up. I try to be understanding. I try.
Am I doing something wrong? If I am doing something wrong please be brutally honesty and tell me because I am willing to work on myself. I am willing to learn. But I can’t talk about this to family out of respect for him. BUT OMG am I sick of this pattern now. Thank you for reading :( ❤️
You are not the problem.

Not sure if he is.

But, find people you can talk to! Even if it's on the phone or online, if getting together is hard.

Nothing wrong with needing long conversations.
 
Something someone told me decades ago, when I couldn't hear it as I was in a dsyfunctional relationship, was: you can't get everything you need from one person.
Couldn't hear it then but carried it with me. And I realise how solid advice that was.

So I also say: make friends!
Be 'you' as opposed to just being you in a marriage to someone.
You have needs to express things. He doesn't.
He should hear you though.
But maybe you can phrase things differently?
How do you express yourself with him?
Is the heart to heart a formal thing or a fluid thing?
Maybe a heart to heart can be done in different ways?
Thank you so much for this! I am starting to make time for friends now and you’re absolutely right.. I can’t expect one person to give me everything.
He had a rough childhood and growing up he got used to never express his feelings. It makes him extremely uncomfortable. For him just doing things for people is a form of connection which is great but I prefer getting to know people and just converse.
Something you said made me think. You’re right maybe it should be fluid and some of our best conversations were unexpected in an informal setting. Thank you

You've written about your dissociative symptoms on the site - I'm wondering whether there's anything about the situation with your husband that might be relating somehow to your trauma event(s)? With PTSD, it's always a good idea to try and identify the roots of our most intense reactions.

Don't get me wrong - what you're describing sounds like one of many possible reactions to conflict in a marriage. I'm wondering how your PTSD ties into it.
Wow I really do appreciate this. This is something I’ve been trying to think about. I just can’t come to a conclusion yet. Him or anyone for that matter, going silent on me causes me anxiety, anger and eventually dissociation. I don’t know why and I definitely believe that it has something to do with my PTSD and dissociation.
 
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