Suzanne Styles offers advice to a reader with a distant, emotionally detached husband.....
Anonymous writes: “I have been married for 10 years and I feel that I still don’t know my husband. When I buy him clothes or gifts he just bluntly tells me to take them back. He is a very closed person and he doesn’t share anything with me. There is a woman, a work colleague with whom he is very close, and he can talk to her easily. However, when I am with them I feel like the third wheel. I confronted him about her and things have calmed down, but I still don’t know.”
Your situation is quite complicated as the issues to which you refer have been on-going for some considerable time.
Aside from your concerns about his work colleague which you have indicated have calmed down there are other things to be considered. Quite frankly from what you have written neither of you are meeting each-other's relationship needs. Everyone shares these needs; we just all have different ways of meeting them.
What you both need to do is discover which needs you both value and what has to happen in order all your needs - yours and his - to be met
It would be preferable if you and your husband could do this together - communication is always the key to any successful relationship. However, you can do this alone and achieve considerable results, and if successful you may find that your husband wants to participate too. The 6 Human Needs in a relationship are highlighted by Anthony Robbins and Chloe Madanes. I have studied this very closely and they are:
Certainty that we can be comfortable – to have pleasure and avoid pain.
2. Uncertainty / Variety
Variety and challenges exercise our emotional and physical range
Everyone needs to feel special, important, needed and wanted.
4. Love / Connection
Everyone needs connection with other human beings, and everyone strives and hopes for love.
Everything is either growing or dying. We need to constantly develop emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
We all desire to go beyond our own needs and give to others. Everything in the universe contributes beyond itself, or it is eliminated.
These needs are essential and if you aren’t meeting them he will look for them elsewhere, and eventually, so will you.
Take some time and really think about them, ask yourself how you meet these needs, and if you are not meeting them, ask yourself how you can and then start? You will see a change in your husband, and if you are meeting his needs he will want to meet yours.
This is a process and communication is essential, don’t give up on it until you have really, really tried to understand these needs and how they need to be met in order to have a successful relationship.
It takes time - this is not an instant fix. You have been married for 10 years and it’s time to get to know your husband.