Relationship Connection: I’m not sure I want to move with my husband

Question

We have been married almost eight years and have three kids. We recently hit a rough patch in our marriage.

My husband has been relocated to another city for work and I am a stay-at-home mom, so we are putting our house up for sale and moving there with him.

I’m just so worried that we are moving there and he is going to stay the way he has been this last year. He doesn’t talk to us. Even though he is a very quiet person (and always has been), he has never been that way with me until the past year.

He doesn’t help me with our children. I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful, but he really does nothing around the home except fix something he knows I can’t. He pays the bills, so I assume he thinks he doesn’t need to do anything else.

I would love to go to counseling but he won’t and he doesn’t want to talk about our problems and thinks they’ll just disappear.

Answer

Your problems will only disappear if you let them disappear.

You have a voice and I encourage you to continue using it to fight for the lost connection. This isn’t the same as fighting with your husband. Your husband isn’t the enemy. The disconnection is the enemy. Your purpose is to fight the disconnection by refusing to let your marriage go cold and silent.

If you’ve had seven good years during which your husband communicated with you and one difficult year during which he hasn’t communicated, then you should have a foundation underneath your marriage to support you both while you figure out this new challenge.

Your husband’s distance has an explanation. Since it’s not like him to cut you off, then I hope you won’t settle and allow the distance to grow.

Transitions are the perfect time to make changes in a relationship. Even though lasting change takes time, transitions are natural opportunities to evaluate and examine how things are going in the relationship.

Now that you’re not living together, use this time to talk about your observation of the distance you’re experiencing. This will give you both a chance to talk and then have some space to think about the relationship.

Instead of telling him what he’s doing wrong in the relationship, focus on letting him know how important he is to you and how you want to have the closeness back that you used to have. He might hear this as criticism, but as you emphasize how important he is to you and what this connection does for you, he might be more likely to hear you and respond.

Stay curious and see if he might be able to talk about what may have happened in the past year that has caused him to pull away. He might have some concerns and feedback for you. He might be going through something he doesn’t know how to discuss with you or anyone. Whatever the reason, insist on reclaiming the connection with him.

This is a long process of bringing things up with much softness and directness so he knows that this is important to you. Don’t let his avoidance, anger and irritation keep you from trying to address this.

The other areas you need him to care about (childrearing, housework, et cetera) are all areas that need to be addressed, but those will be easier to talk about if you are both connected.

If disconnection is so severe that he won’t respond, then make sure you get some ongoing professional help for yourself to know how to continue responding. You’ll have many other decisions to make if he refuses to let you close to him.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • ladybugavenger June 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    If you were sure, you would. If not sure, you shouldn’t. It’s simple.

  • old school June 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Not sharing job stress or discontent seems to be a male trait even if the situation seems threatening or insurmountable. Excessive concern over livleyhood and family welfare can lead to dispondance and many of the behavioral impacts listed above. I would take the move as a positive step by the working partner to get their lives back on track, though communication is still essential and needs to be balanced with any respect for privacy

  • ffwife June 24, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Unless his interests lie elsewhere.

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