A knot tightened in her stomach.
Didn’t he hear what she just said?
He just looked away like she doesn’t even exist.
With tears rolling down her cheeks, she felt totally abandoned and neglected.
Jane, a woman in her 30s, was married to a man who stopped paying attention to her. Distressed and with no clue what to do with herself, is there a way out of this?
If you find yourself in a similar situation, this article’s for you. There’s hope even if you’ve run out of ideas and don’t know what to do next. We’ll break down the different ways that you can address this problem and you’ll finally understand what has gone wrong.
Why Are You in A Marriage Where Your Husband Ignores You?
Strange question, isn’t it?
But it’s an important one. As much as your husband plays an important role in this topic, so do you.
We can’t control what happens in our lives, but we can be responsive to those events.
– Jachym Jerie
When you look for faults in your husband like how ignorant and selfish he is while not taking any ownership of the situation, you’re completely powerless. Everything depends on your husband and him changing.
It’s not a good place to be. No wonder you’ve been feeling helpless, right?
That’s why we’re approaching this topic from another angle: what if it isn’t about your husband but about you?
Don’t freak out yet. This approach will get you more immediate results in your relationship and how you feel. It’ll all make sense in a second. No more waiting for things to change, let’s take the reins and dive into it.
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What Do You Believe About Yourself?
‘I’m not good enough! I’ll always have men like him. It’s just not fair.’
Debora, a client of mine, looked at me in distress.
‘Isn’t that an interesting statement?’ I replied: ‘I’m not good enough. How do you know that this statement is true?’ I enquired further.
You see, we filter our perception of the world according to our beliefs. Debora believed that she wasn’t good enough and she found plenty of evidence for it. If she believed she was good enough, she’d also find plenty of evidence for it.
Not only do we filter what we perceive, but our behavior is directly impacted by our beliefs as well.
Have you ever noticed someone who’s very insecure about themselves? How can you tell?
You saw how they talked and how they held their body. That’s a perfect example of someone’s behavior being impacted by their belief.
You’re not naturally insecure. You’re only insecure when you believe your thoughts.
– Jachym Jerie
So let’s come back to you: What do you believe about yourself in regards to your husband ignoring you?
Let’s dig a deeper and consider the following questions:
- Do you deserve a lack of attention?
- Are you not allowed to voice your needs?
- What would happen if you were to stand up for yourself?
- How would life be different if you’d deeply know that you’re good enough?
Uh oh. We couldn’t have given you a more uncomfortable list to ask yourself right?
Don’t back out yet! Solving your marital problems isn’t always easy. To really get to the bottom of why an issue persists, we do need to face topics that we might not be comfortable with.
Know that you’re safe as you approach these questions. Take a deep breath and open up your heart to what’s really going on. Take your time with those questions and be honest with yourself.
You’ll have a much easier time changing your circumstances when you come from an empowered place. But you can only come from an empowered place, if you have seen through the illusions of your beliefs.
Considering the questions above is the first step to bust the beliefs and see them for what they are. Let’s go even further and get to the bottom of why the current situation has become a problem for you.
Your Husband Is Ignoring You, So What?
Don’t get us wrong.
It’s wonderful to be in a loving and caring relationship. After all, that’s what we help people with. But to be able to actually change your situation, we have to take a different perspective. Have you ever wondered why this problem has become so serious and personal to you?
If something impacts you so much then it’s worth looking into the reasons behind it. So what exactly is the problem with his ignoring you?
What do you feel when he does that? You may have one of the following two reactions:
‘I feel like I don’t matter. I feel worthless.’
‘I feel like I need to reach out to him. He must have a lot on his mind.’
Do you see the difference?
In the first example, the person’s taking it personally. If he’s ignoring her, it means that she doesn’t matter. She’s worthless.
In the second example, she’s concerned about him. It doesn’t even cross her mind to doubt herself. Crazy how different those reactions are, right?
Like we mentioned earlier, our beliefs can seriously shape our experiences and how we perceive the world. Because of that, both of these reactions are possible to have.
If our reaction is emotional and taking things personally, that can:
- Worsen your insecurities
- Create misunderstandings within the relationship
- Build up future problems in your marriage
- Fuel unnecessary drama in your relationship
How can it have that much of a negative impact? Let’s understand how it works and how we can take things less personally.
Why Do You Take Your Husband’s Ignoring Personally?
Don’t you feel insecure when your husband does that? Doesn’t it look to you like his behavior is causing you those feelings? But here’s the thing: his behavior, while not desirable, isn’t what’s causing your feelings.
Then what is?
It’s your interpretation of it. It’s how you’re making sense of his behavior.
You can see it by going back to the example above. If you’re reacting like the first one, you’ll have all kinds of doubts about yourself. The way you’re interpreting his behavior is that it’s you that’s wrong.
His behavior becomes a direct reflection of your worthiness or lack thereof. Do you see how you’ve merged someone else’s behavior to your well-being?
Consider this: what if that’s not true? What if you are worthy no matter what your husband thinks and says or how he behaves? Even if he becomes defensive.
What if you could be secure in yourself? How’d that change your relationship?
Are we saying that you shouldn’t address your husband’s behavior? Absolutely not. You do need to address the behavior. You are in a relationship together. His actions directly have consequences for you and vice versa. But you don’t have to fight in order to address it.
What we are saying is that his behavior says nothing about your worth.
This is a huge pivot, we know. But when we’re so stuck in a problem that’s exactly what we need. No drastic change is going to come in your marriage if all the beliefs, actions and reactions stay the same.
This is one of the key reasons why so many couples get stuck on emotional topics and can never get to the bottom of it. We know that it’s a big transition. But it’s an insight that will change your marriage forever.
Now that we’ve addressed your side, let’s take a look at your husband’s and what’s happening for him. Because just like you, his behavior is an expression of his own meaning-making.
Why Does My Husband Ignore Me?
There are many possible reasons why your husband is ignoring you. We’ll cover a few common examples here and discuss possible solutions.
1. He can’t handle too much closeness
Somewhere in their life they’ve learned to be fearful of closeness and try to avoid it. Most of the time they’re unaware of their behavior. Their behavior can include:
- Emotionally distancing themselves.
- Not showing up for important events.
- Keep conflicts in place, since resolving them can bring you closer together.
- Ignoring their spouse.
Do you see how his behavior in this case has very little to do with you? It’s all about him: his fears and the meaning he’s making about your desire of wanting closeness.
How to Address It
If you’re in this situation it can be tricky to get out of it yourself. You want more closeness, but the more you want it, the more he feels threatened. We do advise you to seek professional help to break the pattern.
Why? The problem here isn’t just that you feel ignored. The deeper issue is that there is chronic distancing and your relationship goals are innately misaligned. One wants closeness while the other wants the opposite.
Like we mentioned earlier, these beliefs and behaviors are often unconscious programs running in your life. That’s why reaching out for help will make the biggest difference in this case. It’s the best method to resolve issues that you’re unaware of.
That said, we don’t want to leave you hanging. Here are a few practical steps you can take today.
1. Take Care of Your Own Insecurities
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2. Be Crystal Clear
The clearer you are on what you want, the easier it is to create it.
– Jachym Jerie
- What kind of partner do I want?
- What kind of relationship do I want?
- How would my life change if I had this kind of relationship?
- What am I willing to do to have such a relationship?
- Why did I choose to have a relationship with my partner?
- What attracted me to him?
- What’s changed?
It’s vital that you know what kind of relationship you want and what you’re willing to do for that.
It all starts with you.
You have the power to create an amazing relationship. Whether that’s with your current partner or with someone else. The conviction to have such a relationship must come from you. It can’t come from your husband, because he’s busy with other things.
I know it would be great if you’d both be on board with creating a better relationship together. That’s not the case right now. The best you can do is to become very clear yourself. You’ll have a much easier time addressing your husband.
Those two steps are vital and will help you to talk to your husband. But please make sure that you also understand his point of view. Otherwise it’s a very one sided conversation.
Here are a few questions that’ll help you understand him more:
- What does his ideal relationship look like?
- What’s an ideal wife for him?
- What are his dreams and aspirations for a relationship?
- Why did he choose to be with you when you first met?
This way you’re making it about both of you. The underlying intention should always be: how can we create a satisfying relationship for both of us?
We’ll admit it: This first reason for why your husband may be ignoring you is a tough one. Reread this section if you need to and consider if it applies for you.
There’s always a solution.
Sometimes you can resolve your relationship problems with the guidance directly in this article or sometimes it takes a lot more work than that. Either case, there is a way. When you’re ready let’s move on to the next reason.
2. He can’t handle your communication style
We’ll look at two of them:
Here’s what happens when you use one or both of those communication styles:
If you’re criticizing your husband or using contempt against him, he’ll become defensive or shut you down completely by ignoring you (stonewalling).
The reason people shut down is because they get emotionally flooded. There’s a physiological response to the criticism and contempt, like higher blood pressure, elevated heart rate, adrenalin etc.
When the person can’t handle this kind of response, their only way to get out of it is to shut down what they perceive to be the threat.
How can you make sure that this isn’t happening between you and your husband?
Here are some questions to check your communication style. Are you:
- Nagging him?
- Attacking him?
- Criticizing his character?
- Using words like ‘never, always’?
- Feeling righteous in what you say?
If you’re using any of the above, we recommend putting some effort into changing the way you talk to each other. Check out this article on how to communicate in a relationship to greatly improve your marriage communication.
3. He’s under a lot of pressure at work
If this behavior is new, it might just be that your husband has a lot on his mind. Check in with him to see how he’s doing at work and in his social life.
Her: ‘I’ve noticed that you’re a bit absent minded lately. What’s been going on for you?’
Him: ‘Man I have so much to do. I barely get to eat at work.’
Her: ‘Sounds really stressful. How have you been handling it?’
Him: ‘Not really well. I have trouble sleeping. It sucks.’
Her: ‘If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know. I can’t take the workload off you. But maybe you’d like a massage at night to relax a bit?’
She’s not trying to solve his work issues. She’s simply offering a listening ear and showing him her support by offering a back massage. If he doesn’t like that, he can ask for something else that could be useful for him to deal with the pressure at work.
Remember your husband is capable of dealing with life. He’s not a weak man. The more you trust in him, the more likely he is to show his strength.
How come a husband might ignore his partner? We’ve now covered the basics.
Since understanding this topic from different angles, it might not have turned out as simple as you thought originally. But this article alone has enough practical ways for you to tackle this problem.
By asking yourself these key questions, you can fundamentally change the way that your marriage operates:
- Why are you in a marriage where your husband ignores you?
- What do you unconsciously believe about yourself?
- Why has this topic become so personal?
These questions aren’t easy, but we’ve broken each one down into practical steps. You can also consider the top three reasons why a husband might ignore his spouse. But as you’ve learned by now, it takes two to tango. Even if you only examine your own patterns and reactions, it can already make a great difference in your relationship.
Don’t wait for your spouse or relationship to change. From what we’ve seen, many couples never stay with the same problem until the bitter end.
You’re smart and capable. You know what you want.
So don’t waste any more time expecting someone else to make it happen for you. Pick one of the questions that we covered today, implement the processes that we suggest and take charge of your own happiness.
Respect yourself and apply the tools.
Treat yourself and live the change.