5 Ways to Tell if Your Spouse is Emotionally Unavailable & What To Do Connected with a spouse who's emotionally distant can be a challenge, but not impossible. BY CRAIG MILLER
If you have trouble connecting emotionally with your spouse try these tips.
“ The unemotional person can tune everybody and everything out, which can be very aggravating to those that want to relate.”
A widespread problem that is difficult to understand is when one mate has difficulty showing emotions and affection, which then leaves the other family members to exist in a world of loneliness, disappointment and disrespect. Living with someone that is emotionally unavailable is a very common, yet subtle, form of disrespect. This disrespect is often misunderstood and is a destructive problem of major proportions that can be hard for couples to identify or resolve. However, many emotional mates struggle in these relationships blaming themselves when they are not able to fix the relationship. Without knowing the truth, the lack of emotion can destroy the ability to have a heartfelt love connection and creates bitterness as the emotional mate can lose their own heart, mind, identity, and soul in the process of trying to make it work.
Identifying the following characteristics will make you aware of what type of person you are living with and decrease the chances of losing your own identity control within the marriage.
Relates with facts and logic, and tunes out when emotions are in a conversation or being expressed. Discussions will focus on facts and rules rather than being able to have a sensitive conversation to understand how the person feels or how they are dealing with the issues. The unemotional person can tune everybody and everything out, which can be very aggravating to those that want to relate. The good news is that tuning people out is typically a choice and the emotional mate should tell the unemotional mate how it makes them feel when they are tuned out. Too much information can be overwhelming and conversations need to slow down to discuss one issue at a time.
Rarely shows emotion or initiates physical signs of tenderness. The unemotional person rarely shows compassion, tenderness, and empathy since they do not have the capacity to use feelings to connect with their own heart. Typically these individuals grew up in a home without physical signs of love and feelings were not expressed. As a result, they are unable to understand the significance of giving or receiving love. The good news is anyone can learn how to express feelings. Healing is more about changing the heart through inner healing of the childhood trauma than a mental exercise.
Unable to emotionally validate others in a conversation and disregards or disrespects the expression of feelings from others. When you don’t use emotions, you do not understand the need for emotions in others and often become insensitive about emotions out of a lack of tolerance. Unemotional people are often insecure and become defensive when others are emotional because they are afraid of doing something wrong. Typically these people grew up in home with strict, unloving, critical, emotionless and/or abusive caregivers. The good news is the unemotional person has the capability to change when the emotional mate becomes firm enough to expect it. Counseling from an experienced counselor is also recommended.
Demonstrates love by performing tasks or giving material things, rather than emotion. The unemotional mate relates out of their head rather than their heart. As a result, gifts, events, or plans are out of duty and responsibility rather than out of a heartfelt sentiment. This can be very disheartening and frustrating to the emotional mate, especially when the unemotional mate must be reminded. The good news is, the emotional spouse needs to first appreciate the little they are getting and learn to ask for a hug or create intimate time. In addition, seek counseling to learn how to change together rather than trying to just change your mate.
Either has a strong need for sex or no need for sex with little capacity to nurture or initiate intimacy in a close relationship. The unemotional person is clueless to understanding the meaning of becoming sexually close or intimate with his mate. If the unemotional person is a man, he needs to be trained in the art of pleasuring their mate, since it does not come naturally to him. He’s wired to solve problems, conquer, and believes sex will solve it all. A woman needs to feel loved, adored, and significant before she wants sex. When either person feels their needs are not being met dissatisfaction, distance, and resentment are the result. The good news is the couple needs to have a serious talk about the differences and needs between each other and come up with a plan to meet those needs.
Usually the unemotional behaviors were learned during the early years and continued to grow as a way to survive what was happening. A person has a better chance to change when the hurts that started the behaviors are healed and ways of expressing feelings are learned.
Craig Miller has been a therapist in medical and mental health settings, and currently the co-founder of Masterpeace Counseling in Tecumseh, MI. His passion is healing of the heart, mind, spirit, and relationships through counseling, national speaking and publications. For information or to personally ask Craig a question about your relationship or to purchase his book, "When Your Mate is Emotionally Unavailable, visit https://www.insightsfromtheheart.com.