I’ve forgotten the last time my husband even looked at me when I was talking to him. Why is my husband ignoring me? What have I done to him that he can’t even listen anymore?
Is this happening to you too, mums? Have you recently asked yourself the question, “Why is my husband ignoring me?” and been genuinely puzzled about why he does this? Well, the good news is that you’re not alone.
There are reasons to why husbands ignore their wife, and also solutions you can both work on.
“Why is my husband ignoring me?”
It hurts when someone you love treats you like you’re invisible, and ignores you. It hurts even more when this person is your husband. In fact, research shows that the act of ignoring activates the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain.
Once, you were happy in each other’s company. He couldn’t get enough of what you had to tell him — you could see it in his face and eyes that he was paying attention. But now, you’re just two strangers sharing the same house. He’d rather chat with his phone buddies or work on his laptop, than interact with you.
The longer this behaviour continues, the more anxious you get. Your imagination runs wild with possible reasons for his behaviour. Usually, time heals problems but not so in this case — it only gets worse.
That’s because it’s hard to get intimate again once you’ve drifted apart and that communication gap has widened. In fact, a distant spouse is one of the main reasons for divorce, as either partner starts looking outside the marriage for someone to talk to, someone who won’t ignore them.
“Why is my husband ignoring me?” At the root is almost always a communication issue. Image: File photo.
Why? What is the root of this behaviour?
If you are in the same boat as many other women and are constantly wondering, why is my husband ignoring me, we have some answers.
According to experts, ignoring a spouse is common when there is an underlying issue in the marriage.
This could be anything — small fights taking a toll on your marriage, or your spouse feeling like your relationship is stale. Ignoring their partner is also common behaviour among cheating spouses who feel guilty.
But it could be smaller issues too, that might not even cross your mind. For example, your husband could be really busy or stressed at work, or he wants to find some space in the chaos at home if you have little ones.
It’s just that he might not talk to you about it and instead, choose to deal with it by retreating into his own world.
Whatever the reason, being ignored by your partner is tremendously damaging. In a study conducted by Paul Schrodt, PhD, Professor of Communication Studies, it was found that “the silent treatment” is extremely damaging to a relationship.
It “decreases relationship satisfaction for both partners, diminishes feelings of intimacy, and reduces the capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful.”
“Why is my husband ignoring me?” Find out why by re-establishing communication. Image: File photo.
What can you do about it?
While there could be many reasons as to why your husband is ignoring you, one thing is clear: there is probably a lack of communication between the two of you.
Step one: Bridge the communication gap
“Why is my husband ignoring me?”, you ask. You’ll never know until you attempt to re-establish a connection with him. In order to mend your relationship, it’s important to find out what he’s going through that causing him to ignore you.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you attempt to start a conversation.
- Don’t accuse. So, instead of saying, “you’re ignoring me. Why?” or, “you stay away from home all the time”, try saying, “I’ve missed you”, or “I feel like we haven’t spent a lot of time together lately.”
- Don’t rush the conversation. Pick a good time and this means not when you’re both tired or rushing to get somewhere.
- Listen to his perspective too. In fact, ask for it… and allow him to have his say as well.
Step two: When you find out the root cause…
If you’ve had a good chat and now have an understanding as to why your husband is ignoring you, you can work on fixing the problem.
Experts suggest you keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t dismiss his suggestions to improve the situation, even if you don’t wholeheartedly agree with them. For example, he might feel estranged because you’re always busy with work, the kids, or housework. He might want you to spend some time with him instead. Now, while you might feel exasperated by requests like this, try to think about what you can manage. You could suggest that maybe both of you work together to get the kids to bed early and then watch a movie together.
- If he reveals that he is stressed or depressed, reassure him that you are there for him. It might means getting your head around the fact that until his big fire at work is sorted, he might remain distant. Or if he’s depressed, then you could encourage him to seek help.
- Avoid nagging and accusing. This might make him withdraw even more, especially if one of the reasons he ignores you is because you nag in the first place. Try constructive criticism instead.
- Work together to re-build intimacy. It takes two people to make a marriage work. So work together to clear your schedules for time for each other. It’s really easy to allow parenting, work and a million other chores to take over your life. Yes, these things are important, but so is your relationship. Make time for a dinner date. Cook a meal together. Watch a movie together (even if this is at home, it’s okay). You could even ask someone you trust to mind the kids for you for a weekend and book a one-night romantic stay in a hotel. The possibilities are endless!
“My husband is ignoring me because he has an affair…”
So you’ve had that chat with your husband to understand why he is ignoring you. He tells you the stuff nightmares are made of: “I’m having an affair”. What do you do now?
Relationship experts suggest you keep these things in mind:
1. Don’t act in anger – You are likely to be very angry and often women react violently and say vicious things to hurt their husband who has hurt them so deeply. It will not be easy, but try to avoid speaking harshly to your husband or hurting him physically. It will only escalate an already bad situation.
If you are having a tough time dealing with your rage, it is best to seek professional help or find a safe outlet to vent your anger.
2. Time apart – Discovering an affair will expose very intense and raw emotions. At this point, your thoughts and feelings will be running amok. You’ll feel angry, depressed, sad and even hopeless. Spend some time apart from your husband.
If you can, have someone look after the kids. Take the opportunity to go somewhere quiet and reflect on the situation. If you don’t want to be alone, go to your family, best friend or religious leader for a listening ear and to help you to emotionally process all that is happening.
3. Assess the affair – Was it a one-night stand or a deep friendship-turned-relationship affair?
Both situations are wrong. But while the one-time event is easier to accept, relationship affairs can be harder to overcome especially if your husband claims to have strong feelings or even love for the other woman.
If he is willing to work things out and has already ended the affair, you might see it as an opportunity to save your marriage.
If you think you can forgive him and want to work on rebuilding your marriage, then:
1. Express your feelings to your husband. Tell him how hurt you feel and that you are willing to forgive him if he stops his affair once and for all. Remember to be the better person. Be honest but respectful.
2. Ask for help from a marriage counselor. Seek the assistance of an expert in rebuilding and strengthening your marriage in order to avoid a divorce. A counselor can also assist you to work through issues that could have led to the breakdown in your marriage.
3. Forgive your partner. It may be difficult but you need to forgive in order to move on and trust him once again. Understand that forgiving is not the same as forgetting. Both parties must realise that forgetting requires a lot more time, effort and commitment.
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