Perhaps you are at the exact moment of putting the puzzle together...the long silences, the hiding of information about shared expenses, that constant emotional distance that baffles you when you want to feel near him...Is like the person you know sometimes is acting in a different movie than the one you are in. When you play "let's be together" he is playing "catch me if you can..."
After watching this interaction several times, you begin to wonder what's going on with him. Isn't he supposed to be wanting to have emotional connection and intimacy with you? Why you get now the feeling of being married to a good but very busy best friend?
You can even have repetitive cycles of this destructive dance:
- You feel lonely and get more emotional, reaching out to him, but he acts as emotionally unavailable
- He watches you becoming upset and thus feels the need to control himself by getting even more “calm and logical”,
- It makes you more anxious to break the wall around him and be really understood,so you get excited and cry or shout;
- Then he gets more and more scared of your emotional display and retreats into stony silence;
- Now you feel utterly rejected and left out. NOW, we have a permanent emotional disconnection.
LET'S clarify your situation just here and now?
FIRST: You have done very little to create his responses;
Probably his behavior is coming from his childhood, where he learned to hide his anger and act it out in multiple sabotaging ways. As he can't express his old anger directly, the tension is released by waging a hidden war against whatever shared projects the marriage can entail. We have described lots of time why being now in an intimate situation it triggers old needs of distancing from controlling parents and making his own space. In short, he is defending against your loving presence in your life as if you represent a feared figure from his past.
This behavior is the only way he has to relate to others. Look at his family and observe the way in which they deal with conflicts: do they take time and explore options with the others involved? Or they sulk for ever without explaining their complaints, thinking that speaking is useless because they will be never understood?
SECOND: Remember that You are a person with her own needs and goals, as everybody else:
Look around now and see how many of the goals for your life you had before marriage are part of your life now…..it can be pretty discouraging to observe that your present life does not resemble anything you’ve planned for. You can see instead that you are engaged in a daily battle for feeling connected, engaged and supported.
If there are, as in normal marriages lots of plans to do things together, but almost little is accomplished, and you feel more alone than before, look back into your previous self, and ask: “Who is the person I wanted to be before?” and: “How can I claim some of these goals for me now?” Keep those goals at hand, write them in a paper that you can see frequently so you can remind yourself of the person you really want to be. Having a clear idea of who you want to be makes wonders for your self-esteem!
THIRD: Remember that a real marriage is a shared project supported by each side's care and responsibility:
You will not be able to keep respecting him if the perception is that only you are responsible for the choices that keep alive the relationship…you need to see him engaged, alive, and an active participant in this shared endeavor that is your marriage.
FOURTH: You need to know more about how to face this challenge, right?
Our book "The Art of Living with a Passive Aggressive Husband" is very near you! In this path of getting to know what's is going on with this challenge in your marriage, and finding doable and practical solutions, we offer lots of support and answers to all your questions. You can see some of them now, in our Q&A page.