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Get Your Husband to Stop Lashing Out and to Open Up
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your spouse is to give them space, as Dr. K. suggests to one reader.

Getting your husband to open up takes a few skills that are simple to learn.

I fail to understand my husband most of the time. I always believed that the moment one got married they were to become one and not two. We are at a point where my husband doesnít want to share anything with meófrom his experience at work, to his projects, to his dreams. He gets very angry very fast and will keep quite for a month without touching or speaking to me lovingly. He has become quarrelsome and, at times when you comment on anything, he tells me to go find someone else, and he means it. Should I take him seriously? I am getting fed up with his behavior. He is so childish and immature. Please help.

When you love someone and the behavior they demonstrate back to you is so negative, itís hard to maintain a positive attitude towards them. Based on what youíve written, itís very understandable that youíd feel fed up. And, of course, since your husband is non-communicative, it makes it very frustrating for you to be able to know exactly how to respond.

Of course, not having more details, I canít know for sure whatís going on either. The first question is whether the behavior you describe is different. In other words, was your spouse always tight-lipped? Or, has he in the past, been very open with you about what was going on in his life?

The reason I raise this is because if your spouse always tended to be close to the breast, then this is his style. What Iíve found is that peopleís behaviors donít change after they get married except that whatever they were initially likely becomes more so afterwards; they no longer have to put their best foot forward to make a good impression.

However, that having been said, my years of experience lead me to believe that there is something likely going on thatís troubling him. It sounds as if he doesnít feel comfortable sharing it with you. This could possibly be due to his not wanting you to be burdened or perhaps a sense of shame on his part. Men often react by either shutting down or lashing out when theyíre upset.

I donít think he really means for you to find someone else. Rather, when he says that, itís just a way to create space for himself. As hard as it may be to do, the best thing you can probably do right now is let him know that you love him and care about him. Donít keep asking what is going on. Reassure him that you are there for him when he is ready to open up, and let him know that you are willing to share whatever concern he is tackling. Then Ö try to go about business as usual.

If in a short period of time, say a month, he still has not come to you, you can check back with him again letting him know that you are not going to judge him but will support him in any way you can. If this still doesnít work, then you can let him know after a little while longer, that though it is his choice to not share this with you, it is having a negative impact on your relationship.

Though what Iíve suggested is a tall order, I do believe it is the right way to deal with this challenge. Once the two of you get past this particular issue, it would probably be a good idea to work on learning better communication styles with each other when one of you is having difficulty. At that point, seeking the help of a professional might also be needed.

Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is the author of "Mindfulness and the Art of Choice: Transform Your Life" and co-author of "Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make it Last." You can sign up for her free monthly newsletter with relationship tips at www.ChoiceRelationships.com

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