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Husband Never Talks About His Feelings

QUESTION: I have been married for two years to a wonderful man. He married me when my daughter was one, and she adores him. The problem is that he can't talk about how he feels. Not about anything -- even to tell me he is sick! I try to get him to open up but to no avail. Lately he seems depressed, but when I ask what is wrong he says nothing. Please help.

ANSWER: Your husband is shutting you out emotionally -- no wonder you are upset. Let him know that you are unhappy because you don't know what is going on. The greater his silence, the more you drift apart and the more your fantasies of what is wrong could damage your relationship.

Marriages often undergo a change after two years. The honeymoon is over. Differences now surface. Clearly your husband is unhappy, and so are you. If he won't talk about what is bothering him, speak up. This is your marriage too, and it doesn't seem to be evolving the way you wish.

Perhaps you are afraid to upset the apple cart, but you cannot go deeper unless you are willing to address your conflicts. You may be thankful for your husband's role in taking on a wife and a baby. You may need to feel that you can be there for him the way he has been there for you. Intimacy is a two-way street: Let him know that you need to reciprocate and that he is blocking the development of your marriage.

Conflict is inevitable, natural and healthy in any relationship, so develop skills for communicating and resolving problems instead of avoiding them. Marriages dissolve not because partners fall out of love but because conflicts remain unresolved.


Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. . She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.

Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.

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