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Dealing with emotionally absent partners

Being in a healthy relationship is what men and women desire but sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Many couples are dealing with a myriad of challenges that are threatening the love they hitherto, professed for the other person. One of such challenges is dealing with emotionally distant partners.

If you are dating or married to an emotionally unavailable person, you would feel that your needs and wants in a relationship are not being fully met. In such a situation, you may be expressing more affection, care and commitment than you get in return. These men and women share their coping methods with emotionally absent partners.

Ifeyinwa: My husband doesn’t care about my feelings

I have been married for over 14 years but I don’t feel safe expressing my true feelings to my husband. This is because, whenever I pour out my heart to him or tell him things in confidence, he refuses to listen to me. He has a way of dismissing my feelings that it hurts so bad. He doesn’t listen to me. He doesn’t care about my feelings. He doesn’t consult me before he does anything.

His quick temper and fault-finding made me get scared to open up even when I was hurting. Gradually, our marriage became one of basic everyday exchanges with each of us finding other ways to get our needs met. He does his own thing and I do mine. This way, peace reigns at home. I don’t know where he goes and what he does and he doesn’t know my movements too. This is not the kind of marriage I wanted for myself but I’m coping well because my friends are always there for me.

Johnson: She had issues showing her emotions

My former girlfriend has issues showing her emotions. She is always and neglects the important people in her life. I have been able to confirm that she has always been like this and it’s a problem rather than a choice. She can’t bring herself to redeem herself or reconnect out of fear. Her feelings for me were strong and genuine, but her fear of getting hurt was more dominant that it affected our relationship negatively. We recently parted ways and it was the best thing for both of us.

Amanda: I broke up with him because he was unwilling to be there for me

I grew up with an emotionally unavailable mother and father. As I matured, I looked for emotional stability and availability in the men I dated. I felt this constant need for approval and emotional connection. I felt the need to please them so that they could reciprocate by constantly being there for me whenever I needed them. I told myself, ‘’If I do this or that and the other thing, he will love me and all will be right with the world.’’ But along the line, I discovered that the more I felt I needed my present partner to be present, showing love and care to me, the more he was unwilling or unable to engage me in a mutually acceptable way. I had to break up with him.

Beatrice: He is more open to his friends than me

After 10 years of marriage and three children, I realised that my husband was emotionally unavailable. He had problems opening up about issues bothering him and I am tired of doing the work alone of trying to build what is left our marriage.

We have been through a lot together. I needed him emotionally. He wasn’t able to give that part if himself to me. He withdrew and dug himself into work more. He was already a workaholic. He won’t open up to me, but he does that with some strangers. He tells his friends things bothering him without letting me in on his many inner struggles and work challenges.

Anne: He blames me for his unhappiness

I am married to an emotionally unavailable man. But it is even more than that. Somehow, he blames me for his unhappiness. I gave him my opinion about some business that didn’t pull through and he resents me for it.

We have five children. Later on, he lost his job. That was the first and last time I saw him shed a tear. He promised to do his best to take care for us. What he actually did was slip into depression and refused to work for over five years. He became rude and distant emotionally.

He did start working again but when at home, he plays video games the greater part of the days and shows no interest in me. I have cried, begged, screamed, I have tried ultimatums, all to no avail. Nothing will influence him to even address my grievances. I’m stuck and I am trying not to slip into a depression myself.

Dayo: When we make love, I notice she’s far away

My wife is emotionally unavailable and we have been married for four years. I knew from the start that she had some issues but I didn’t realise the enormity of  until it was too late.

I love her a lot but she’s not reciprocating. I have tried almost everything to make her see that I can deal with her emotional issues but she’s adamant. She’s uncomfortable whenever I express my feelings earlier in our marriage. She would recoil instead of telling me what she truly thinks about something or the challenges we are facing.

Recently, she told me she’s no longer attracted to me because of the smell of alcohol whenever I hang out with my friends. But I think this was just in an effort to detach from me and avoid intimacy.

I have tried reasoning with her, but she has made up her mind to be distant from me. We live like flat mates these days. She prefers to sleep alone instead of being intimate with me. Even when we make love, I feel like she’s far away. I am heartbroken.

Charles: She’s so cold that she scares me

I have been dating a lady for months now. We love each other but I noticed she’s emotionally distant. It’s like trying to break a rock with an egg whenever we were together. She’s so cold that she scares me. I am ready to settle down but how can I live with a woman I cannot connect with till death? I have asked her if she was a victim of rape or assault in the past, but she said no. She finds it hard connecting with me the way I want it. I am an emotional person and love to connect emotionally with people but she’s making things hard for us.

Yemisi: I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with an emotionally distant man

My husband is not interested in making something good out of his life. I have been trying to make him happy and build our lives together emotionally but to no avail. I am extremely sad and distressed that my husband will not support me through this process.

I understand he is an adult and capable of making his own decisions but I am not sure I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who isn’t there for me emotionally. He is quick to point out my faults. I am so confused on what to do.

I have tried talking to him but to no avail. I begged our pastor to come talk to him but he turned the tables against me, accusing me of having an affair with our pastor. He also stopped going to church with me. I have made up my mind to ignore him. I am living my life now like a single woman.

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