What to do when your man doesn’t talk

Q: I recently got married to a guy who should have been perfect for me. The problem is that he doesn’t communicate at all. I feel sad and alone most of the time, and I never know what he’s thinking. How do I get him to open up? — Lonely and ignored

Dear Lonely and Ignored:

Welcome to my world! My husband is the strong and silent type, too. Your answer lies in a combination of acceptance and gentle prodding.

It’s important to understand that he may never become a talker. Some people are talkers, and some aren’t. Me expecting my husband to morph into a conversationalist is like him expecting me to suddenly develop an interest in car racing. Just ain’t going to happen.

That said, you do not have to continue to suffer in silence. Use this advice.

Ask him to listen.
Explain that you don’t need him to chatter back at you, respond, or fix your problems. You just want him to listen with rapt attention. This will take the pressure off him to talk. If you want him to do certain things as he listens, tell him. Perhaps you want him to make eye contact, hold your hand, nod every once in a while, and so on. I know it sounds silly, but these are things that women and some men do automatically. Strong and silent types? They need an instruction manual.

Make a list of topics that you absolutely need him to communicate.
For instance, you may want all financial purchases to be made jointly. You may want some parenting decisions to be made together (what time should Johnny’s curfew be?) and some not (whether or not it’s a good time to play catch in the backyard). Again, the ability to know the difference between Must-Talk-About-Now Topics and Better-Left-Unsaid comes naturally to some, and not so naturally to others. Teach him how to know the difference.

Let him talk when he’s ready. If you need to discuss something that will probably make him uncomfortable and shut down, bring it up calmly and ask, “When would be a good time to talk about this?” This allows him time to think things over, prepare a response, and calm down from the stress of being confronted.

Talk while you are doing something else. Do it while walking, while sitting in the car, or over dinner. This reduces tension, which may allow him to more easily open up.

When he does talk, reward him. This is important, especially if he is finally opening up for the first time. Hug him. Say thank you. Take him to the bedroom.

Talk about your loneliness. Explain that you want to feel close to him and you worry that you might turn to someone else for this closeness if you don’t get it from him. Ask him to help you affair-proof your marriage.

Don’t ask him what he’s thinking or feeling.
You’re just wasting your creative energy on that one. The answer to, “What are you thinking?” is probably, “Nothing.” The answer to “What are you feeling?” is probably “I have no clue.” Instead, ask him very specific questions that cannot be answered with a yes or a no, questions such as:

  • Why do you root for the Mets?
  • Tell me about the most interesting thing that happened to you today.
  • If you could do anything with your life, what would it be?
  • If you could live anywhere, where would you want to live?

Find an outlet for your need for conversation.
It will never be him. Find a group of girlfriends who love to chat. Get involved in online discussion groups. Sit at the local coffee shop, diner or some other hangout spot for a few minutes everyday and chat with strangers.

Do you have advice for Lonely and Ignored? Share it in the comments area!

Send your questions to the Marriage Expert.

89 comments… add one

  • Mel May 8, 2009, 7:28 pm

    Wow. I could have written that question. While I really appreciate my husband’s calm temperament, the lack of conversation used to drive me up the wall! Emotions? Logically I know he has them, however I’ve only truly seen them when his father died and when he left us to go overseas for six months. Other than that I’d swear he wasn’t human! LOL!

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll definately be using some of these techniques in future. There are a couple of topics that I want to discuss with him, and I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t want the angst that comes with his non-discussion.

    Very early on in our marriage, I wasn’t working at the time and was at home all day. DH came home from work one day and was heading off to the computer room. I said to him “I’ve been home alone all day, I need some adult conversation!” He looked at me, raised one eyebrow and said “And you’re asking me?” We laughed over it, but it was totally true that he was not the one I was going to get that conversation from.

    Ever since then I’ve made sure I keep up with girlfriends and have a social life that gives me that conversation that I need. I’m not putting undue pressure on my hubby to become something that he’s not.

    • Janice October 10, 2014, 10:47 pm

      And does he ever need anything from you? Don’t be too hard on yourself and easier on him. I would let him keep to himself if you so let him but make sure that you don’t give in on things that he might like. You can sure do them quietly without making him angry and he will never know.

  • Suzanne May 9, 2009, 11:22 am

    OMGosh! I light bulb moment!!!!!!! I wouldn’t have written this question because I wasn’t fully aware that I have this same … situation (problem? LOL) but I guess I do. This has been so helpful I can’t even tell you. I find myself so frustrated at times I want to scream. Ken is not quiet … but he only wants to talk about what HE wants to talk about and I then feel ignored … so is that a communication issue or selfishness? LOL But I know he does shut down a lot so I’ll read this and re-read it and try some new strategies. Thanks! *SmiLes* Suzanne

    • Hannah May 13, 2012, 10:12 am

      My partner is EXACTLY the same, I thought I was going mad, he’s so bubbly and talkative about himself but at soon as I start talking he goes dead silent. I know its not just that my stories are boring because I’ve told some to other people who are very responsive. He swears he’s listening but I feel so ignored! It seems as though I have to teach him basic communication skills but he hates it when I tell him that I feel this way…

  • Christy May 10, 2009, 5:24 pm

    My husband was and still is to some extent a non-talker. After 20 years together I’ve found a couple of things to be true.
    1. If they don’t respond to a question such as “what do you think of this dress” it’s because they either:
    a) don’t know the correct answer or if there is a correct answer
    b) don’t think anything about the dress – (men really and truly don’t think about such things I’ve found, especially the SS types. If they did chances are they probably have more in common with the Queer Eye guys than you)
    c) probably feel trapped and paniced by the whole question.

    So, I’ve trained my husband as to what the proper answer is to loaded questions. I suggest that you prepare a battery of proper responses to any question and give them to your clueless husband. A few of my favorites that my husband can use anytime.

    * “You’re pretty and thin, and you can eat all you want!”
    * “Yes, she is pretty but not nearly as pretty as you.”
    * “You are the prettiest one here.”
    * “No, I think you need the smaller size.”
    * “You’re right! I never thought of it that way.”
    * “You look good in anything but you look best naked.” – my all time favorite.
    * “Can I help you with anything?” – if they pull this one out, let them help but for gawd’s sake, don’t direct or criticize how they do it! Otherwise it will be the last time they offer.

    If you’re newly married, please understand it may take a couple of years to get him trained. These are ice-breaker responses for him, and made to get him used to responding.

    It also helps to think of training your husband to talk to you like teaching a puppy not to pee in the house. Keep it positive.

  • Alisa May 11, 2009, 11:38 am

    Christy–Those are great responses. I’m going to teach them to my Mr. S&S! Thanks for sharing them.

  • Ginny May 11, 2009, 11:51 am

    I wouldn’t have been able to come up with most of this myself; it’s really great advice. Except for the going-to-someone-else affair-proofing part. I think that is disingenuous, unnecessary and potentially upsetting. It says, “if my need to talk isn’t satisfied at home I may end up sleeping with someone else,” which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. That kind of satisfaction is also pretty arbitrary as a target, so depending on the person, it could just be setting them up to fail. Not the best way to improve a relationship.

    • Chelsea January 21, 2013, 9:32 am

      After 10 years of being with the same non-conversationalist, and seeing him open up and chat with friends, family, co-workers… I can completely relate to the “affair-proofing” your marriage. We have two children, one with a severe non-verbal form of autism. I have been home with our kids for six years now, and feel incredibly lonely and isolated. I do have many friends (that I go out with once a month) and keep in touch via Facebook and text… It’s not the same. I want to have conversations with my spouse, I want to be on the same page. He was raised to bottle things up, and not discuss anything. I hate feeling like I’m raising my husband… It’s incredibly draining and makes me feel very lonely… Like I’m manipulating our relationship into two “me’s” if that makes sense. It would feel so good to not have to baby someone along for once!!!

      • Jane March 14, 2013, 11:32 am

        Try doing that for 28 years. I have a child with Aspbergers who is now 24 and he’s the light of my life. I basically raised him on my own because my husband “didn’t know how to handle” him. He certainly isn’t the same as his father. I do see similarities between my son’s characteristics and am sure my husband also has some form of learning disability. Over the years, he’s trained me to “keep quiet” which is totally against my grain. He lost his job 7 years ago and has been out of work since. Things have gone downhill from there. Up are the walls that silently tell me to “keep out”. If it weren’t for my son, I’d say I should have run the other way when he proposed. Even that didn’t contain a lot words “Let’s get married.” Leaving is so hard but if I wasn’t just over 60, I’d be gone in a flash. We women do “not” have to put up with this lifestyle. There are better things out there, I’m sure. If I have to be alone with someone, I think I’d rather be alone.
        There are some good suggestions here and I will try some out to see if it helps.

      • Ann June 11, 2013, 12:02 pm

        We don’t have kids so my loneliness and obsessive thoughts of what I have done. He basic statement is ‘ never gave that much thought” or dwelling or talking about (most subjects) aren’t going to change anything do why waste the time.” After ten years of marriage I try not to let it overwhelm my thoughts But it is always not far from the surface. We honestly only talk about sports(work off limits since talking isn’t going to make it better) or new rescue dog and a few random things. I get a knot in my stomach when I hear his car in the driveway

      • Carol October 4, 2013, 9:28 am

        I have been married for 30 years. Initially it was lust. We were both young. Then I had children and could not leave. When trying to have a conversation with my husband, I could laugh, talk about politics, be angry, it did not matter. He was going to sit staring at the ground in complete silence. If I was lucky enough to get any response, it would be uh huh, or if you want to. Of course, with no conversation, there are bad bedroom relations. I tried to surround myself with friends, activities and work, but eventually, I had to return home to dead silence. I never wanted to be divorced. My Christian beliefs and my children kept me bound to this man. I just feel as though my happiness and sanity are worth something. One day I woke up and said to myself, “can I spend another 20 or 30 years like this?” My answer was no, and I left. I am lonely and struggle financially, but my stomach churns when I think of the possibility of sitting in dead silence with my husband.

      • Tcbaaa July 7, 2014, 10:11 am

        My husband and i have been married for 10years. He’s been out of work for months now and ive been a house wife since we got married…he is a type of person who likes to be in the limelight as i have learned through the years, but then his bubble popped when my brother told him off bec. He couldnt take his “all about me” attitude. Its been tough for him lately; losing work and getting hell from my brother. The truth is, im kind of glad that it happened. It shook him and made him realize that its not all bout him now…its all about his family. At presnt, he’s still very much his self centered self but with some sensitivity …like what you all have been saying here;about your hubbies who are only interested about themselves and youre left alone to keep all your feelings bottled up. Right now, He’s got these mood changes that really make me want to leave him, but i remain…for now. For my kids and funny thing is I still love him. Advice, stay in touch with girlfriends…they will keep you sane and realize that everyone’s got their own thing happening in life. Its hard, it hurts but stay tough. Time will tell when things need permanent change…

  • Jennifer Margulis May 28, 2009, 11:52 pm

    When my husband isn’t expressing himself in words I sometimes say to him, “Think out loud,” in a gentle voice. And he does and — presto — he’s talking.

  • Caitlin Breznik May 30, 2009, 5:47 pm

    My husband is the exact picture of the strong-and-silent type. He has a bad day at work, and the only person who can get it out of him is our best friend, Chris. He’ll talk, and to me occasionally, but how can I get him to talk to me more?

  • Linda August 4, 2009, 1:08 pm

    Ginny, I think you have a good point but also I think you missed the angle on the one part. The woman worrying that her man will seek out someone else because you don’t have a good connection is what she was really getting at. Not cheating on him to find someone to talk to. I can relate to feeling ‘alone’ in a way that I feel I miss him when he is right there. Then we go to bed and he says nothing and we start making love. Great stuff but leaves me empty emotionally. Now on his part…When men don’t ‘feel close’ and they don’t know why, they most often do end up going to someone else. Sometimes that happens very innocently. Further, I think that when you get your own communication bottled up because he won’t talk, is when it spirals and no one really knows things are going in the wrong direction until something bad happens. I like the advice to tell them to “think out loud”. I think it is calm and subtle enough to get most men going. I myself don’t get what I need from HIM by chatting with women. It is the truly knowing him that I crave. He is the most magnificent man I have ever met and I want all I can get!!! I do things with him that are part of his world and am truly interested. This creates avenues for communication. I will use the suggestion to ask him specific questions more. It does work. I spent the weekend just doing things with him and not needing anything from him. He thanked me Sun evening for a great weekend. It said a lot. I guess learning to hear the message in his words sometimes and getting what we need out of it is our lesson!

    • Anonymous September 5, 2014, 1:04 pm

      Thanks for your encouraging reply to Ginny, Linda.

      I adore my husband; he is the SS type, caring, steady, smart, will do things with me most of the time, asks about my day/work, etc. He is supportive and it’s important to him how I feel and how life is going for me. He is physically affectionate and I know finds me sexy. All this is fabulous! What stumps me is that, while he will ask me in any given situation, “How does that make you feel?”…He will NEVER verbalize how he feels. I think I know when he is happy or content, but he never says it. He never admits to feeling worried, sad, uncertain, irritated….and I have never seen him truly angry in the nine years I have known him. I am not at all sure that he knows what he feels. I’ve noticed that this happens not only with me, but with his elderly father and with his three adult kids, all of whom he loves dearly. He simply does not talk about himself….what is going on with him, or how he feels about it.

      Maybe I feel like a “mess” by comparison LOL! I am very verbal, have no trouble showing anger and other “negative” emotions, or joy. At times, I feel lonely and at times bored and disappointed….as if our relationship would have more emotional interest and spice if he would verbalize…if there was more back and forth, more exploration.

      All that said, I am committed to my basically happy marriage, and to my wonderful husband. Am trying to learn some new relational and self-management skills so I can truly love and be loved by my partner without constantly criticizing him in my mind for not being more like me, or wishing things were different. When I do this, I miss out on the huge good that is there for me.

      It’s not easy being an adult, is it? LOL.

  • Lynn August 11, 2009, 5:03 pm

    My husband and I use to talk all of the time. We lived in different states the first year of our relationship and talked on the phone for hours. I moved in with him and then we continued to hit it off. We would talk about anything. Then he started getting more and more into the computer and we moved back to his original state and closer to his friends and now he comes home from work and pretty much goes straight to the computer or will talk about his day and then he goes to the computer. He doesn’t ask about my day or if he does, doesn’t really listen to my answer. I try to talk to him away from the computer about different things and he just ignores me or gets upset. I email him through out the day and he never emails me back. Says he is to busy, but then will say something about helping someone else or finding something on the computer. I miss our talks and don’t know what to do to find them again.

  • sunnie March 29, 2010, 1:36 am

    In reading this response and so many of the comments, I am baffled.
    If all these women have husbands who don’t talk, then what do you all do together?
    Do you have children?
    How did that happen?
    (I’m serious btw!)
    Is it possible to make love with someone and create a family without…talking and expressing feelings?
    WoW! I could never do that. I give you all some real credit!
    My hubby is my best friend in the whole world and if we didn’t have each other to talk to, life would just not be the same.
    How do folks get married without talking? Do the guys write a note when the propose (LOL!)
    I never knew that people who didn’t talk to one another could get married – I honestly thought that finding your soul mate meant you matched up in every way – and that includes someone who enjoys the same things you do — and talks about it! ;)
    Hopefully, this woman was able to get her hubby to open up. That would sure be lonely not to be able to talk (esp when it comes to expressing yourselves — that makes the intimacy soooo much more enjoyable….you know?)
    Thanks for sharing – I wish the best for everyone.

    • olgy February 23, 2013, 12:54 am

      Sometimes they change….use to talk and express feelings and after some years and children they stop……so then what do u do??

    • Susan March 6, 2013, 2:57 am


      Life is not the same for all. Consider yourself extremely lucky if your husband does not fall under this category. It is every woman’s dream to have her husband as her best friend. But if he is of this category, she is not left with too many choices. One still has to live life as if everything is normal and bottle up everything.
      Intimacy is definitely enjoyable if it could be more expressive. However, you cannot clap with one hand. you need two hands.

    • beth January 14, 2014, 5:14 pm

      My husband is very kind and handsome and gentle, and would make a great father. When we first met I had a large group of friends that we would often hang out with wherein neither of us had to be very talkative to have a great time, and afterwards we could talk about what happened or what was about to. I did notice before we got married that he didn’t like talking about the future, but I figured that was just because it was all hypothetical and he preferred to cross that bridge when it appeared.

      Then my close band of friends fell apart, and most of my friends at work disappeared. I started having to rely on my husband for conversation, and before long I found that I was running a deficit. He never wants to talk about his work, doesn’t think to ask me about mine. He refuses to talk about the future, and doesn’t respond to “what are you thinking”. It’s like every word costs him a dollar. Our communication seems to be limited to meal logistics, and what we were doing this weekend. Now I’m not a huge talker, but I definitely miss feeling connected. And because I have no clue what he’s thinking about, I feel like I’m roommates with a stranger who occasionally wants sex.

      I don’t know if I can stick this out. Maybe I shouldn’t try?

      • lisa February 13, 2014, 9:48 pm

        Hi Beth,
        I am just sitting here the day before Valentine’s day wondering if there is any way to change a marriage with a non-talker. I have read the books (Men are from Mars …) and tried various tactics (intentional dialogues), but all I really want is a little chit chat. My husband seems to be content not ever asking me what I am thinking or about my work. His work is off limits because he is unhappy, but earns a living. All he wants to do is fantasize about the future (unlike yours I guess). But this is IT. There is no magic other life out there. Anyhow, my life sounds like yours — I could have written everything after the “and doesn’t ….” But I think roommates were easier because you did not have expectations that they would satisfy your emotional life. I thought for a long time that I had found happiness, but now it is gone. It makes me so sad. It is really hard because when he sees me upset, instead of comforting me, he basically just leaves the room. At least my dog is here to keep me company! It is interesting how many women out there seem to relate to this (except that one up there with the best friend husband; don’t know what she was doing on this board!). If you have any brilliant insights, let me know :)

  • sunnie March 29, 2010, 1:45 am

    (sorry for adding another post…i just saw lynn’s, too)
    I’m so sorry lynn, that does not sound good. anyone who spends too much time on the computer is a scary thing to me.
    you never know what they are doing or up to.
    that sounds like an addiction.
    i wonder if you couldn’t schedule at least one night a week out of the house.
    ie: make reservations (and don’t cook dinner!) at a local restaurant and plan a nice walk around a lake or park or something afterward.
    something that gets him out of the house (but not something like a movie — that’s just another distraction!), but something where he has to be engaged.
    dinner is a good start – but it needs to be followed up with some other activity – like a walk or going to hit golf balls at the driving range (does he golf? every guy golfs lol!) – or playing putt-putt, something were you two could be together doing something, but still be able to spend “quality” time together and perhaps talk.
    If there is an activity involved, then it won’t seem like you are trying to get him to talk – it will just come naturally in the course of the activity.
    dinner could also be followed by going to an ice cream stand or a dessert bar, etc.
    Or taking a bike ride (i like the physical activities, but trying to give you enough suggestions that would take care of one or two nights a week for several weeks).
    You’ll think of some things, too.
    I know men don’t always like to shop, but if you went to dinner and then to a Sporting Goods store, well that would be a different story. Men love to look at sporting goods. In the summer, maybe you could go fishing or for a boat ride together.
    Point is — he needs to get OUT of that house and AWAY from that computer!
    I’m sure you can do it – -and I hope something like this works for you.
    He just needs a little coaxing (but a pre-planned activity)….in fact…..you may even want to have him meet you for dinner, directly after work, so he doesn’t even have a chance to go home first! LOL!! I wish you luck….you seem like you really love your hubby and i’m sure he loves you, too, just got into a habit that he needs a little nudging out of. Good Luck! :)

    • michelle May 29, 2014, 1:04 am

      I thought i was going crazy …. i have been with my husband married over one year….been his gf and living together 5 years ..at the beggining everything was ok ..he would go out alot with his friends and i would come along i didny mind ..then i started to realize that i wasnt really part of his life…and that his friends ment alot 2 him .so i told him to hang out more with me n less with his friends ..he didnt like it ..but he did it …i use to work and go to school..so i didnt see him much ..but then ..i stopped working and .had alot of time to spend with him …it came to the point where i found my self asking him why he didnt talk to me…..his responce was that he knew everything about me and that he had nothing 2 say …lefy in shock …after this …i still married him …i guess that is wat love does ….anyhow..i found my self in a bed with him so close but yet felt so alone .and speechlesss..and wondering was i crazy for me wanting him 2 talk 2 me ?..because he wud always say that i had issues that wat did i want him 2 tell me…and ..i would cry and wonder how i let things get this far …he only talks to me to have sex..or when he is hungry ..or when he wants 2 do something ..everytime i to talk 2 him i see he is un intrested ..so i just stop …i am 23 yrs old ..not 2 b cocky but i am pretty…and i feel like a bouquet of rosses waiting 2 die in silence without even being admired….sometimes i go over the limit..dressing up and with the make up and all and i cant get him to say how pretty i look ..only after i say ..y u dnt say that i look preety and he will say well u already know…….i love him ..but i feel like i am hurting my self.he also recently told me that he only does things to please me and that he pretends to like things just so i dont get mad…so am like u pretend to b some1 ur not..and u think its ok …ur idea of my happiness is to love someone that doesnt exsist?? He said wat i pretend is my problem not urs…amd am like hello ur pretending with me…i dnt know wat 2 do anymore .i feel lost ..and when i try to talk 2 him about the problems ..he just tells me well ..if you dont like it then its up 2 u ..dnt b with me ….i feel so stupid….becasue i love him ..but i dnt deserve this ..and i wish he would talk 2 me or atleast listen 2 me when i speak..i dnt know wat 2 do anymore..or wat 2 think or even believe….

  • Drummer Guy April 30, 2010, 3:02 pm

    The 5 most important words a husband can learn to say. YES DEAR, YOUR ABSOLUTELY RIGHT :-) Okay it’s a joke but apripoe lol

    • Daff August 19, 2014, 12:10 pm

      Oh Oh!!!! I hear you all… There is a huge difference in my husband to whom I am married for the last 39 years. He never talks. He only talks to other women and other friends. EGO is the sickness. He has had multple affairs and I cannot talk to him because he looks like a lion and dont let me talk to him. I have been along alone in this marriage. He shut his face by wearing a face of an angry lion. My culture, religion, children and fear of angering this man… made me stay in this marriage.

      Today, I have grown old, empowered and see myself as having been a very foolish woman to have stayed in this marriage.- silence silence silence and the pain was silent – anger was silent – today, I am not silent but its too late. I have a good support system – friends of all kinds with who I can have a chat. But, its hard to come home to an empty home.

  • Drummer Guy July 20, 2010, 10:02 am

    I was just rereading this post. I don’t know if anybody will even get this comment but I have a thought or two. I think a lot of misunderstanding comes from the fact that we each expect our spouse to do, act & think like we do. Truth is each person is different & brings different personalities to the table. Ad to that the difference in the way the different sexes think, process thought & how they deal with thought & some real misunderstanding can happen.

    In general when we as males are asked “what are you thinking”? The answer often is nothing. May not be a popular answer but many times it is true. It’s not popular thought in today’s society but men & women process ideas, issues etc. TOTALLY different than men do. Women tend to put much more thought into most things than men do. So when they get this answer they can’t understand how we couldn’t really have an opinion on it when they do. Perhaps a lot of misunderstanding could be avoided if we took our spouse at his/her word. We sometimes have to aknowledge that we do think differently & what may seem important to one may not be as big of a priority to the other. Sometimes one spouse just didn’t realize how important it is to the other.

    That being said then yes we need to make things that are a priority to one a priority to the other. Sometimes I may not understand why something is so important to my beloved but I have learned that if it is important to her. I need to make it important to me. We both had to learn that we can’t expect each other to think the same on matters. Sometimes things may be important to me that may seem trivial to her. After time we each had to learn not to get upset with the other because we really didn’t realize it was important to me/her. So I guess what I am saying is opening discussion is a good thing. Just don’t get upset that your husband/wife didn’t initally see it as a priority. Most are loving & after seeing it is important will be happy to discuss it. Just my 2 cents..lol

    • Odette June 5, 2013, 6:44 pm

      @Drummer guy: Your insite is highly valued and appreciated. I am stuck though….. I get what you are saying about guys often not thinking when we women think too much….. thats absolutely spot on! My problem is during intimacy, that is so important to a man, he is silent. It is so hard to connect to a man in this instance when he is silent and “doing”….. I guess its a bit like when a man is making love to a “starfish” woman….. I just cant understand how a man can NOT want to express some kind of verbal communication when intimacy is so close and wonderful. The lack of affirmation for a woman brings up all sorts of demon doubts in her mind and makes her feel like a vessel, rather than a person that is attractive and desired.

      What might be going on in his mind that stops him from wanting to share….. is it that he is simply not attracted to her enough to verbalise it?

      This question is driving me crazy and I can feel my passion for a wonderful man seeping away….. :(

    • brit April 9, 2014, 7:32 am

      The fact that you took the time to write this lengthy post means that you are not the type of guy we are talking abouthere and that you probably couldn’t ever understand the severity of this problem for people whohave it and the people who live with them.

      • Janice August 19, 2014, 10:27 pm

        I agree with Brit on this one. I feel like drummer guy probably has a healthy relationship where the rest of us wouldn’t be reading these letters if we didn’t have problems with our non talking spouses.

  • Eve January 1, 2011, 8:44 pm

    Sunnie, how long have you been married? Things can start out great, and then, well life gets in the way. Kids ,jobs ,money and stress. If things start to feel unfair, like one partner is doing more, making more, ect. Also when you have kids and differing job schedules it can make it very difficult to spend quality time together. Not to mention money, It’s one thing to spend time at home together but especially as home grows it becomes even more important I think to “get out” with your partner (thus the time and money angle).

    And for my part, I no longer believe in “soul mates”. He can start out being that but without maintenace it can all go down the drain. It sounds like you and your husband talk a lot and I’m happy for you.
    It’s been my experience though that things like a man being worried that he isn’t providing for his family as well as he thinks he should be, can lead a man to NOT talk because he feels inadaquate.

  • Margaret February 15, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I agree with Sunnie – if you don’t communicate, what’s the point? I am hopelessly lonely in my marriage and have been for some time. More lonely than being not married, I think, because at least if I wasn’t married, I could seek out the company of someone I was compatible with.

    • Sally December 9, 2012, 4:31 am

      Are you still married? I’m in the same sad situation but don’t find myself leaving. It’s not that he is mute he is just not natural talkative so he doesn’t share much and doesn’t listen well. It’s like there’s no real interest or curiosity in the fruits of conversation. It serves a purpose but intimacy is not it.

  • Sha September 19, 2011, 5:59 am

    I have a husband who doesn’t like to talk much and I find myself getting lonelier and lonelier. I also shifted countries after we got married and have left behind my family and friends. I have made some new friends but it’s just not the same.
    I used to think that after we got married, he’d start feeling the need to share more as he’d have someone to do it with. But nah- mistake no.1, coz you can’t change people.
    I don’t have any answers but have started thinking that it’s beget to be alone than be with someone and feel lonely.

    • Carol October 4, 2013, 9:35 am

      Amen! I used to tell my husband… “If I am going to be alone, then I want to be by myself”.

  • Ashley November 25, 2011, 4:22 pm

    I’m 24. I just decided 5 months ago, after dating women for the past 4 years, that I would give men another shot. My boyfriend(21) of 2 1/2 months is/was strong, sweet and said all the right things. It seemed like love from the very start. But he stopped talking 2 weeks ago. It’s like he knew all the right things to do to have me head over heels for him. Now he’s lost. He still calls but remains quiet. I decided I’d be silent as well. But he says, “Sweetheart, talk to me.” I told him I’ve been talking to a brick wall and it’s his turn. He gets mad but doesn’t talk about it. He says, “Ugh!”, “Okay Sweetheart”, or “I’ll work on it”. But he never does. I’ve asked what’s wrong. He says NOTHING. I ask him to talk. He asks what do I want to talk about. I ask if I’ve done anything wrong, if he’s not feeling me anymore. He just laughs and tell me to stop clowning. That’s because he doesn’t understand his silence is a problem. Last night(Thanksgiving) family members kept pulling me to the side asking if he’s okay.

  • Ashley November 25, 2011, 5:14 pm

    I don’t blame them because he had been sitting quietly for 3 hrs. He would take & make phone calls. I asked him 2 talk 2 me like I’m one of his friends. He only smiled. My little sister’s fiance told her I looked like I was gonna pass out from boredom & he wonder how long it would last. I had been asking myself the same ? all night. Then my sis walked in with playing cards. He asked me if he could play. I told him 2 do whatever because it’s not like he’s here anyway. He played a while then asked me 2 walk him out. Once outside I let him know I can’t work without communication. He asked 4 a hug & kiss. That’s like working in a fast food restaurant all day on an empty stomach. He got frustrated & said he hates arguing. After bickering a while as he cont. 2 remain silent he finally said he’s going home 2 think abt the situation & would call with his thoughts. He went 2 a club altho he had 2 work at 6 this mornin. He text at 7am sayin he loves me but still no thoughts. Wondering… breakup or give him time. ???

    • Khayra January 22, 2012, 6:33 pm

      I so get what you mean. Needs for validation and verification are so important because what if you’re doing the wrong thing and he’s not saying it because… There’s no end to the reasons why since he doesn’t say anything!
      Easiest thing for your own health is to take a good look at his intent. At first I can see what you think are highlights of the problem but then I see sentences like “He says, [...] or ‘I’ll work on it’.” Wow. That’s big that he didn’t just hang up out of frustration of not knowing what you want.

      He asked your permission to leave you to play cards? Then he wanted you to see him off? Then he wants a proper goodbye? Then he says he doesn’t want to argue? He seems so polite. So this 21 year old polite guy doesn’t ramble but IS WILLING TO LISTEN TO YOU? What? Intently? I bet you’ll tell me he even knew what you were talking about by the end of it.

      Best case scenario is that he’s going through a rough patch and doesn’t want to burden you with them (granted, it’d be easier for you if he told you because the curiosity is killing you, but let’s take it from his possible view). Worst case he’s been working for the mafia and can’t tell you. Why would you want to know? If he had another girl, why would he waste time listening to you ramble on the phone instead of being with her?

      Intent, is what I’m getting at.

      • Sally December 9, 2012, 4:32 am

        Leave. Avoidant types do not change.

  • Erik January 18, 2012, 10:44 pm

    I’ve read this article and all the discussions and I just want to be totally honest with all you ladies–these men are running on empty and only think selfishly, they work at boring jobs where they are stimulated very little or not at all and come home feeling empty in the brain. They receive their stimulation from addicting websites (like the dude I think Lynn was talking about). They may be testosterone-deficient because nothing makes them “jump” anymore. What you ladies need to do is get spicier, get rid of their computer, talk in ways that stimulate them, make them problem-solve without making situations too heavy (or you can pretend they are heavy when they really aren’t), make them think, make them want to articulate, MAKE THEM LAUGH (GET REALLY STUPID AND SILLY), make them want to correct you / fix you. Gang up on your husband with a friend, poke him, stir him (stimulation). Don’t talk behind his back, be completely open and critial but in a FUN way. It has to be fun or else it won’t work. It will be a short-lived response you get back from them but it’ll be profound and will keep your marriage at least decent, make you think, “Hey, this guy loved what I said and cared enough.” Us quiet guys love tough spouses with wit and youthful-spirited and who are armed with cattle prods. It’s a tall order but you don’t have to be perfect, just get their brain cells firing. Men like these really are about as reptile-like as you can get while still being human.

    • Mel August 23, 2014, 9:21 am

      Thank you, complete stranger on the internet who left a comment over two years ago! This, for me, is fantastic advice. My husband is my best buddy most of the time, but becomes impatient and bored when I bring up anything heavy, even when I’m just venting about work. It leaves me feeling lonely and rejected, and it really hurts, especially when I’ve come to him from a vulnerable place — I feel like I’m wasting his time by saying anything at all. What I keep forgetting is that he is not a girlfriend who I go to for advice or to vent, he’s a fucking BOY!

  • Erik January 18, 2012, 10:49 pm

    Oh yea and make sure they eat healthy food. Junk food will only make shy guys worse. Caffeine and alcohol may seem to work for a short while but in the end it will just make them even worser, make sure they do not become alcoholic!!! If you think they’re quiet now, imagine how much more boring they would become if they ran on alcohol.

  • Emma February 26, 2012, 2:04 am

    Interesting reading all these posts, filled with advice about how to stay married to a non-talking marriage partner and others say, one can’t be happy at all, so just leave to find one you can talk easily with, and share, like soul-mates.
    I myself, am married to a non-talker, and for nearly ten years I have tried to “be happy” and “make it work”, firstly because I made a promise to love him “in sickness and in health…good times and bad…until death do us part”. Secondly, and importantly, if you have children in the marriage, a divorce or separation due to “communication” woes, is devastating to them. Family breakdown really rocks their self-esteem, identity, and faith in relationships and marriage.
    I would LOVE to take off and meet and fall in love with a guy more compatible to me, for me to be fulfilled and for me to be happy…don’t you see? It’s all me, me, me…
    But when kids come along…they want mummy & daddy together & it’s up to each person in the marriage to seek happiness in the best way they know how, to keep family together (hobbies, friends, religion, some cause).
    Marriage is a Huge compromise and sacrifice and often disappointments run rife because the person you married was not the one you are married to today.
    Basically, when kids are involved, and you’re not being beaten up or your man isn’t sleeping around or having an affair… Then stay.
    It may be that when you are 80 years old, you will be glad you did, when all the grandkids come and gather for Sunday lunch!

  • ally June 4, 2012, 3:04 pm

    What if your partner is so non communicative that you’re way off moving in together cos he just won’t talk, even if I start the conversation?

  • R June 15, 2012, 12:45 pm

    I am married for two years now…My husband and I started off as friends..courted for seven years and eventually tied the knot….I am facing a similar problem…he is extremely uncommunicative, inexpressive..in fact I feel that he doesnt love me anymore…I have tried talking it out many times but it just leads to arguments and fights…thats that…he comes home from work and immediately sits with the computer or his iphone…and that goes on and on…till I prod him to come and eat…I eat alone most of the days…I am really sad and helpless.

  • J June 27, 2012, 4:38 am

    same situation although mine is different in that hubby had an affair with a hooker and got “hooked” into believing what she was saying. Sad he felt his life was so pitiful that he’d believe her over me! It’s been a struggle in regards to forgiveness. He keeps doing stupid things and says I don’t know but continues to say I want to be married to you! WTH? Says he isn’t thinking anything. Our communication was never that good a couple years after we married. Like he had me then decided it was too much work (communication) so kept quiet. We worked opposite shifts for 15 years but still had days off together. The last several years we both had different days off and that’s been hard on me and I’ve told him I’m lonely but it was He who had the affair…. go figure. Each time I bring up anything that isn’t superficial he gets upset. I know he is ashamed and doesn’t want the reminder but come on… we need to either build a life together again by trying or hang it up!

  • Jennifer July 25, 2012, 4:11 am

    My husband is quiet. Or at least I thought he was, until reading your comments! He talks more than these situations. All I can suggest is get active, involved in the daily schedule. Keep talking. Talk about your day. Be flirty, look cute, do your hair, put on some mascara! If you want to talk, do it! I used to get on my husbands ass if he gave me 1 word answers! Lol. He has the same interests as I. We have kids and have been together 10 years. It’s possible to fix this! Be consistent. Don’t be rude. Be kind, sweet, lovable. Love him… Give him attention. Make dinner, engage him, rub his leg while you ask him about work. Did anyone at work mess up, get written up, etc. just be his friend. Go camping, the beach for sunset, casino, start a garden together, sneak on a golf course and $#@&!! Make your relationship fun. New adventures make for new conversation and new memories! Good luck ladies :)

    If being the initiator and loving and understanding spouse doesn’t work… I don’t know…counseling?

    • J September 9, 2012, 6:09 am

      I give him massages (foot and back most every night). I talk and he tunes me out after awhile. He won’t go to counseling but says he wants to stay married. I caught him in so many half truths and he still was trying to contact the hooker. Maybe he wanted to feel young again, maybe bored with his life, wanted excitement. I come up with suggestions and he knocks them down. I think there is depression involved as well. He won’t talk about any of it so….? Says he’s embarassed. How can you build a relationship again on a man that doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own actions? I have to be the one who comes up with what we do 99 percent of the time. He wouldn’t tell me what kind of fun they had together. I’m not shy sexually and he used to tell me I was more than he can handle? I don’t get it

  • Emma November 3, 2012, 4:10 pm

    My partner doesn’t talk to me, I too spend most of my free time away from work alone in the house, eating alone etc. if he is home he is staring at the tv, I pad or I phone. If I sit talking to him he doesn’t take his eyes off the tv/I pad and doesn’t look at me. If I ask him to look at me he ignores me. He’s sat on the other sofa asleep right now. He’s spent 7 hours with his friend today, working on his car and chatting to him. He comes home, barely speaks then falls asleep/sits on I pad. I’ve tried so many things to get him to talk to me but they normally end in arguments. Because I get so upset and passionate about the subject yet waste my breath when he doesn’t even look up. And this makes me worse and we argue. I’ve never felt so alone in my whole life.

    • Rosie November 8, 2012, 5:27 pm

      Emma, I feel very sorry for you. I am in a similar situation. I married my husband only 18 months ago. He is a total mummys boy, we have nothing in common. I thought he would settle down and change-now I know people don’t change. I do love him but my love is fading because he never communicates. There is no depth of character to him. I went out with my girlfriends last week, we had such a laugh, maybe you could do this? I think it would do you good to get away from your situation and have a good time.

    • bri July 27, 2014, 9:47 pm

      Emma your comment really hits home with me, everything you said is what’s happening with me too. My husband doesn’t think there is a problem even though I tell him how unhappy I am and I cry to him about my loneliness. He refuses to go to therapy or to try any of the communication techniques I suggest (from sites like these). I want a divorce (we have no children) it’s only been three years of marriage and we were married young….I am so embarrassed to have a failed marriage and fear judgement from my family, and I don’t know what I would do on my own I don’t really have a financial way out yet. I’m happy to have read these comments, they make me feel less alone in my situation.

  • Cindy November 26, 2012, 4:47 am

    I’m partners with a pretty quiet guy for over 20 years. When we first got together we did lots of things together that we rarely do anymore. I’ve asked him what has changed and he doesn’t seem to want to expend the energy to think and talk about it. The only topics he will discuss are politics, his job, our animals and what’s wrong with the world today. I feel like there are so many things to discuss but he’s not interested and spends lots of time on the cell phone or ipad, newspaper, magazines, tv. He seems to drift off into his own world or change the subject when we do start to talk about anything. I get frustrated, resentful, angry, snarkey and withdraw. He figures I’ll get over it and I do but it just happens all over again a few days later and he acts like nothing has happened – like on some level he lives from moment to moment and there is no past while I’m still feeling empty. All of this I try to explain but he says my voice makes him so calm he wants to sleep and my reaction is to speak really loud and accuse him of needing a hearing aid which he ignores. There are some really good suggestions on this site I will try to incorporate because I can’t believe this is all there is to our relationship(?)!! He really is a nice guy but really oblivious and probably stubborn too. I wish the best of luck to all who have written in here about this issue which seems fairly common.

  • Natty December 4, 2012, 12:56 am

    I don’t know why I married this man, yes I love him. I prayed for him, I listed to God what I wanted as a husband and father to my kids, however I forgot to say enjoy my company, engage me and open his mouth when spoken to! (Yes, he is sleeping on the sofa tonight- he pissed me off this afternoon n i’am still a lil upset)
    I’am very careful with my words, I try to say as little as a person can but still get the message across. Ill ask him a question wait a bit for a reply than ill give it a hour or two and come back and ask the question again! But by the time I have to ask him the 3rd time both of us are annoyed. – if I ask something more than onces shouldn’t that tell you it’s important and we need to make a plan n talk about it?!?!?

    We have sex more often than not, I try texting him because being on his phone seems matters to him, I tried emailing him – most times no reply unless its about the kids… I dance badly to make him laugh, I make jokes, I don’t give him a hard time over little stuff, watch football with him and CNN …. Blah blah

    His iphone comes before me, his ipad comes before me and sports comes before me! His friends n co-works come before me! Not just me, the kids too!…I’ve thought he just doesn’t respect me! I’ve thought he doesn’t trust me with knowing how his day went or what his plans are… So many things I tried to help me stay and not give up.
    But turns out he is the SS type! Ill use some of the tips :/

    • Elaine September 15, 2014, 2:20 am

      I am replying to your comment due to your obvious christian faith
      It has been a while since you left your comment
      Have things improved?
      I have been married for 32 years. There is a ten year age gap between me and my husband, who is a farmer. He is “at home” all day long, in and out of the house for meals but he only ever speaks to me to ask me to do something …. “Get me my dinner”, ” where’s my jacket” etc etc
      He will sit all evening without talking
      All through our marriage I have been tormented by loneliness, to the point where. I have had relationships with other men, ( emotional affairs)
      He does not appear to care!!
      We are very sad at the moment, have not had sex for over two months ( that was one area of our lives that was always intact)
      It is my fault. I can’t let him near me because I feel so emotional and lost. I feel that if I were to go “there” I will fall apart emotionally.
      I wish I had never married him and I wish that I could move on. But I love him!! He has been a good provide, faithful etc etc etc BUT we have nothing in common! I tell him how lonely I feel and how worried about our realtionship I am and all he says is “we are ok”
      I want to scream at him and say NO WE ARE NOT
      My minister says I should leave him, that all of my problems are rooted in this realtionship and that God is the God of second chances. ( ongoing)
      I have no clue what would happen if I left. His business would be destroyed ( I am a partner ) and I truly don’t wish this on him or my family!
      It just seems that this is my life!!
      I do ahev friends but they are all married, so I constantly feel I am intruding on their relationships!!
      My thinking about my husband is that as long as he has food I front of him he doesn’t need me for anything else at at all and it just makes me fee so crap about myself!

  • Sally December 9, 2012, 11:46 am

    I recommend everyone here read Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. It’s all about avoidant men.

  • ANN March 25, 2013, 1:05 am


    I sit here at 2am Monday morning looking foward to Monday because my silent husband (actually turned up the remote the other day as I was talking to him)..Monday he works all day (1 hour away) has dinner with his mom and goes to AA meeting and I have the house and day to myself until 10pm.
    Feeling so alone when there is someone sitting a few feet away from you is awful. After 10 years together, if I was financially able I would ask him to move out and we could get together here and there. I go down to the basement and cry all the time….Together 10 years, married 3. Going to Aruba (8th) year and I just don’t want to go. No kids but I have wanted to go to Disney for our vacation for years. I can’t just sit next to a silent man on the beach all day and all night for 6 days..that is how bad it is

    Anyone still out there suffering like I am I am a very happy, social person. A day with him and I am miserable….thank goodnes for my precious new rescued dog Murphy

    • J March 27, 2013, 7:30 am

      yep still here doing the same thing. I was always happy go lucky! Seems as though when I wanted to discuss anything other than the superficial he’d say, “Oh J you are so funny!” My always response, “I’m not trying to be funny. I’m trying to talk to you!” Never got me anywhere. It sucks to be lonely. Seems like all of this happened with my first marriage too but he was abusive and it took me awhile to feel good enough about myself to get the heck out. My husband I think, is depressed and I’ve told him that. He’s done some very intolerable things in the past but doesn’t want to talk about them. I guess they remind him of how badly he’s hurt me? Looks like he’s just floating through life. I’ve decided to make a way for myself and create better stuff. I’ve been going monthly for massages to relax. It’s my only outlet for what I do for ME! I’m slowly getting in touch with who I am again and the man I had on a pedistal (note had) is no more and that’s idolotry anyway and thats wrong. My expectations were way more than he could handle. There, he knows now the pedistal has been laid flat. Perhaps now with less pressure he might be responsive somewhere along the line. I guess I’ll have to see.

  • Reese April 14, 2013, 6:16 am

    Has anyone on this site looked up men and Aspergers? I recently found out that my husband has it, I have been married 6 years and going through the same as everyone on this post. I was at my wits end and ready to file for divorce when I found out about this syndrome.

    Normal expectations of marriage
    People who do not have Asperger’s Syndrome enter a marriage with the normal expectation that the marriage relationship will be the priority and will be about togetherness, mutual terms and meeting of needs. From the stories I have heard it seems that people with Asperger’s Syndrome also have this expectation, at least in theory, but countless testimonies indicate that in reality by some process of attrition the relationship ends up being more one of practicality and convenience for the person with Asperger’s Syndrome than for the loving and meeting of emotional needs of the marital partner.
    A sentiment expressed by some non-Asperger partners is that they feel their Asperger partner must have analysed them prior to marriage and assessed them as being capable of filling a compensatory role for his or her own social, relational and functional deficits. The non-Asperger partner unwittingly becomes the social bridge and interpreter and often fills the role of personal assistant. In the privacy of their relationship, the person who does not have Asperger’s Syndrome will more than likely be physically and emotionally drained, working overtime to mediate relationships for his or her partner and keep life on track for both of them. Perhaps the relationship has taken on more of the characteristics of a business partnership or arrangement.
    For those who had normal expectations of the mutuality of marriage, there will be bitter disappointment, a sense of betrayal and a feeling of being used and trapped. Instinctively they know that their partner needs them to carry out these vital roles for them, but feelings develop that the relationship is about the needs and interests of the person with Asperger’s Syndrome and that there is not even room for their own needs.

  • del June 13, 2013, 6:21 am

    welcome to my worls can you believe that we have been married 40 years and we still have this problem. most of the time I could cope we had our daughter and family friennds we both worked but when we retired early I thought id go mad as he didn’t even try to converse he d read paper half a dozen times and could keep a conversation going if our daughter and her family calls in or may be friends will call and he might say a sentence or two but I think its mental cruelty to sit at home offering no conversation at all the silence is deafening im heart broken to think we have been together 45 years all told and it still hurts that he wont change when I bring the subject up he tries for that day to converse but then quickly goes back to the silence I try to surround myself with people who can offer a conversation but if we are at home all day very often ill go to bed and hel have hardly said to sentences I wonder what went wrong I look back and I feel so lonely we can be shopping in the car going for a walk and nothing changes I hope you can sort this issuwe out don’t be like me and tolerate it if I was younger I think id get a job and move out nothing is going to change I love him but ineed to stop feeling so lonely its killing me don’t leave it to long I don’t know if councilling is the answer im 63 I keep in good shape have my hair done every week wear make up keep up with the latest styles but this hasn’t helped we have our grandchildren twice a week and they are chatty and bubbley and we sing dance play games and have a great time when they go home the loneliness hits me and I feel heartbroken don’t end up like me seek help if anyone as any advice id willingly try it good luck

    • McKnight July 2, 2013, 4:44 pm

      Your story is my worst fear in my marriage. I keep thinking, “What is going to happen when the kids are all gone?” We have 6. The oldest is 19, the youngest is 5. I actually pray for the day the youngest is 18. If it werent for the kids …..

      • Fleur Liz March 17, 2014, 3:03 pm

        I have been married for 14 yrs. right now I’m lying in bed with my husband beside me, the both of us in total silence. Last night we argued , things just came to a head for me and after 14 yrs, I’m sick of it. I have spent my whole marriage walking on egg shells with this man, learning to not express my hurts or upsets because it’s always the same response. “I don’t want to know”. Basically, he is happy as long as I don’t complain about my emotional needs. I feel emotionally and mentally abused. Last night I asked him why he never wants to listen and he said that he has never been a communicator, that he is afraid to communicate. I suggested Counselling and he said it’s never going to happen. He said if I didn’t like it, then I could go find someone else. I am 55 yrs old. I don’t want anyone else, I love my husband. All I want, is for him to show me that I, and our marriage and relationship, are worth the effort.
        We talk about superficial things rarely. If we have any interaction, it will be one or 2 words maybe every 4 hours. We are intimate, but our intimacy is ALWAYS through his fantasies. I never feel that I am the person he is being sexual with. I almost feel like a mannequin.
        If I can’t express my hurts and problems so that we can overcome our issues, why should I have to settle for this disrespect?
        Heaven knows, I don’t want a divorce, and I am prepared to do all that it takes, but I deserve better.

  • Ms. J June 25, 2013, 2:24 am

    We just got married 35 days ago, we knew one another for 2 years (dated). My husband does not communicate with me at all about anything. We work in two different country’s, I am in Kuwait and he is in Afghanistan, we both work 12 hours a day 7 days a week but I still have time to talk with him. I just want to be able to say good morning and good night. He text sometimes…when we are together he is always on the computer…yes we our sex life is good but we only see one another every 4 months. He talks to his Military buddies on a website all the time, he even wakes up in the middle of the night to check his email. I am lost for words because I feel very lonely all the time and feel like I am begging for conversation. I have spoken to him about this but he just hangs up on me if I call. We both are 50 years old. I have no children and he has grown kids but does not keep in touch with them either. Before he met me, he did not have communication with his family for 10 years. Wow!

  • McKnight July 2, 2013, 4:41 pm

    It isnt ONLY about the silence …… the silence carries over and causes other problems, like lack of sex, romance, raising the kids, feeling loved at all. I got married for partnership, for love. I feel like I married my brother and somehow managed to get pregnant by him a few times.

  • Ms. J July 3, 2013, 3:14 am

    I understand what your feeling. Its like living with someone but still be lonely, which is painful.

  • ANN July 3, 2013, 10:51 pm


  • Joy August 26, 2013, 2:36 pm

    I hate hate hate that half the time its women who always seek out help to inject some life into relationships. And the advice is always about doing this or trying that to make the man happy. Whilst they gladly (or in this case, silently) sit back and watch you scurrying around them, walking on eggshells, manipulating, bending over backwards to make things work. Its kind of the accepted norm. So.Not.Fair.

    • Janice May 6, 2014, 9:20 pm

      I so agree with that statement. It isn’t fair at all. Women are always the ones bending over backwards to please.

  • Gina Stone September 4, 2013, 9:24 pm

    I totally agree with you Joy. I am totally exhausted in feeling like I am the only one who sees the problems in the relationship. I feel like the relationship is so one-sided.

  • Maria September 8, 2013, 1:21 am

    I am typing this at 7am on a Sunday morning after a weekend of not speaking to my husband. The reason for my not talking is that I think I want to punish him for not talking to me. I want him to feel how I feel when he does the ‘strong silent type’ thing that he does. He has noticed that I am not my usual self but obviously because I haven’t told him the reason for my silence, he doesn’t know why I am being this way. I have been married nearly 8 years. I love my husband but I feel desperately alone and isolated. I too seek out friends to chat to and sometimes spend up to an hour on the phone just because I am looking for that human verbal connection. I think he loves me as he mouths these words at least once a year.

    The interesting thing is that as soon as we get to bed he is intimate and he gives cuddles (without talking). But outside the bedroom there is no intimacy what so ever. No conversation what so ever. Sometimes I think I am going crazy. I want to communicate that if there is no intimacy during the day then I find it difficult to open up in the bedroom.
    I have tried to bring this up in the past and he says that he has always been this way and he doesn’t think he knows how to change and I believe him. But I do worry that I will turn to someone else for that closeness. When I find myself feeling like this I try and look at all his positives. He is a good dad, we share the household duties quite equally, he can cook, he is good with money and has never put us in debt, the bills are always paid, he is not a heavy drinker and he is always there. Yet I feel that there is a connection missing. I start a conversation and after a one sentence answer he shuts down. He NEVER initiates a conversation and I think he relies on me to do the talking. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t want to leave him but I know I don’t want to live like this either. I have great friends and a great job and a beautiful child yet I feel frustrated and lonely and its really bringing me down.

    • Natalie September 9, 2013, 1:03 pm

      Maria your life sounds much like my own it’s scary! I too spent all weekend mad at my husband because he doesn’t talk to me and I’m tired of doing all the talking! I have now moved into the guest room indefinitely because after 10 years of having argument after argument about communication I’m tired of trying. I have been the one trying urging conversations, encouraging we read relationship books and nothing. He too says this is just who he is and he just doesn’t have the capability to have deep meaningful discussions yet he’s a social butterfly when we are out.
      He too wants to be intimate when we are in bed but outside of the bedroom even when we are out he doesn’t hold my hand, and far from affectionate. Don’t get me wrong he used to be much more affectionate but about a year or so things changed. Now I find we live like roommates.
      He too is a good father and a good person everyone loves him, but I am stuck in a relationship that is just so lonely. I have no problem being alone but when you live with somebody who is supposed to be your partner in life yet they choose to be silent on the journey it is draining.

      • Amanda September 16, 2013, 7:18 am

        Thank you everyone for your stories and advice. Until now, I thought I was all alone and that its my fault that my husband of less than a year, decided to ignore me. I felt all alone, and I still do, but I feel better. Thank You All.

    • Janice May 6, 2014, 9:24 pm


      I have tried the silent treatment myself so many times hoping that he would see why I was also silent. Believe me men don’t get it! Mine always said “I don’t get why you’re not talking” and it would go into the next day or two unless I would be the one to speak. It’s so not fair but that’s the way it is.

  • BS December 13, 2013, 1:32 pm

    I got married 3 years ago. My husband does not talk to me, does not spend time with me. He will spend all his time with his friends and cousins just gossiping n roaming around but to me he talks only when he needs food :x… When i confront him, he says “you are crazy. i cannot do anything if you think like this..”
    Even when we go out for shopping, eating, or on trips he drags along his buddies. After 3 years i feel that i cannot take it anymore. I am frustrated and depressed. Dont know what to do.. There is no “US” in this marriage, its just me and him :(

  • Faye January 15, 2014, 1:49 pm

    We just got married less than a year ago. We had been separated by his job while dating so we used Skype to talk over the next two years before we married. After getting married, I moved to his place for the remainder of his duty time in that country of six months. Beforehand, I was very apprehensive about leaving everything behind knowing that I wouldn’t be able to work or drive in that country but I decided to take a leap of faith anyway. As the time has ticked by, my life was unrecognizable while his remained the same. After he returns from his job, he proceeds to spend the remainder of the evening watching tv and getting on the internet every single day until bedtime without having any conversation with me at all. Because I was in a foreign country, I no longer was able to talk with my former friends due to the time difference. I have become so very lonely and depressed. When I’ve tried to talk to him he becomes exasperated and says that he doesn’t want to talk. I’m so tired of trying to talk to him so mostly I end up just sitting quietly for hours until he feels like talking for a minute or two and then I’m alone again.

  • Eva February 1, 2014, 7:19 pm

    I agree with Lynn and the others who say seeking conversation in others is not going to work. Speech and conversation are basic human communication skills. Mute people learn sign language. When I got married, we’d known each other 1.5 years and most of it long distance. We met overseas and fell in love fast, and as most early relationships, it was romance and lust. He talked in the first few months of our dating, but on the phone, I held up the conversation. When we had conflicts during our engagement, he would silence me with a gift, sex or he moved up the wedding date. We never talked anything out. His sense of humor were put-downs and tricks. The first few years of our marriage he was in school and we both worked. On our third anniversary, I asked, “What would you like to improve about our marriage?” He said I should talk less. I said he should try to talk more. I suggested communication counseling at my church. He didn’t want to go. Our fourth year of marriage, his mother asked me if I “had gotten him to talk yet.” Whoa, now I knew it was really a problem. I tried being quiet but it lasted only a week. It was just too quiet in the house with no talking at all!He was just so quiet, at parties, with my friends, with his friends, even his family. I didn’t understand, but accepted it. But if we were to have children, I knew we would need to talk more. I suggested counseling again and started reading a marriage counseling book. He wasn’t interested in either.

    In the meantime, I saw an old friend from high school and college who was going through a divorce. My comforting him turned to him comforting me, and one thing led to another. It was an affair but more of a fling. We are still friends, but my husband and I separated during this time and eventually divorced.

    It IS BETTER to be alone and start over than to be lonely and depressed, craving intimacy and companionship in your marriage and being disappointed over and over. I have been single 15 years, dated a lot, own my own house, had to completely start over financially and change careers–which was a struggle–but I know my husband wasn’t happy either. I had shifted into the role of his mother, and I didn’t like that feeling. It is not sexy. I didn’t get married to teach someone how to talk. They need to go to speech therapy. My husband COULD talk. He talked at work. He just didn’t WANT to talk. It’s called “withholding.” He didn’t want to say what he was thinking or feeling. He might have been too lazy, didn’t want to upset me, or just didn’t care. We moved 5 times in 5 years for his job, and he didn’t consider me in these moves. He would take care of it when I was away from home, then inform me of the plans when I got home. He withheld thoughts and feelings for manipulation. After 7 years of marriage, he had what he wanted, a sailboat, a great career, a pretty wife who cooked, cleaned and took care of him completely and had sacrificed her career for him. He was infantile in his development, getting all of his needs met without asking about mine, in fact sometimes he talked in a baby voice at mealtime.

    After I left him, I learned that he did go to the counseling eventually on his own. I hope that he learned how to talk. I was not a speech therapist and simply didn’t know what to do with him, and reconnecting with my old friend Steve from college was the catalyst that reminded me you can connect on many levels with a lover; it is as basic as speech itself, and that I could leave my husband and continue my life with people and friends who talk.

  • Cecilia February 27, 2014, 5:20 pm

    I’ve been married for honestly about 6 months (married Aug. 10th, 2013), and already I’m having difficulty with this. I knew he wasn’t the extremely talkative type, but I’d figured it would be less of a battle to get him to relax and talk to me. I’ve told him on numerous occasions that sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself, or that it’s like he literally “stays in the game” long enough to hear the end of what I had to say, and, right after i’m done speaking on something, he’ll completely change the subject to something so unrelated, that it makes me want to throw a mustard-filled sandwich at him.

    Part of the issue is that I’ve recently been a snooper. Coincidentally, every time I check his phone, or something personal (that he said directly to me that I have every right to take a look into lol), there’s 90% of the time a conversation with a girl I have no idea about, and it usually gets flirty. Not like “I can’t wait for you to take your pants off” flirty, but something he’ll tell them (yes, THEM), like “text me, I miss you.” Or how about if they tell him about a guy they’re interested in, I’ve seen “He ain’t better than me lol,” or “Just remember that I come before any of them lol” (& yes, there’s always a “lol” involved). Or the beautiful “Text me, we should chill.”

    Now, I get upset with him because 1. We’re married, & that alone makes it a WTF moment, 2. I’ve mentioned to him that as a couple, it’s important to cultivate relationships that make us both comfortable, & that some of these conversations don’t scream to me “I’m happy with my wife,” and 3. There have been conversations with different females regarding US, in that he would rather talk to someone he’s known longer than I and therefore “abides in”, rather than the one he’s dedicated his life to…?

    I can’t help but think we rushed into this, but I love him to pieces, & I know he loves me too. We have a daughter together, but she was a baby that I had before I met him (she’s 3 now). A part of me thinks that maybe this is too much for him? He’s constantly changing who he is to impress a multitude of people, and I’m so career focused. We got married when he was 20, I was 23. now 21 & 24, he’s not the partying type, but he’s very social…with everyone but me, & it hurts. Especially when that “social butterfly” comes out right into the ears of someone else.

    • Cindetta February 28, 2014, 10:15 pm

      Maybe as a couple you need some kind of family counseling. I personally agree with your point of view about how you feel but I’m unclear if you are trying to talk to him about this issue and if so, is that another thing he ignores? I also think mine has a touch of ADD which I see in his mother. That whole thinking of something else while you are talking may be a symptom of ADD but I feel he (mine and yours) should be aware of it and work on it if he does it to others as well as you. If he doesn’t then that is another issue which you may already be aware of. I definitely think ideally he should be open with you about these other women he is supportive of and give you the chance to participate if you want to know them and involve yourself, he needs to empathize with your feelings.

  • Jane April 6, 2014, 10:36 am

    Wow. All this coddling and protecting their delicate egos. These men think talking about problems is a waste of time? Or that you must gently coax their true feelings out? Horse shit. There are a growing number of ‘mature’ men out there who ARE discussing problems and taking on issues of the heart head on, without kid-glove treatment. I would look for one of those rather than have to painstakingly deal with the strong/silent sulking boy. It’s time for everyone to grow up and realize the only way to resolve issues fairly is with open, unfettered discussion. Immature men who think the problem will go away if they refuse to look at it… or Might is Right in solving problems are due for extinction. They are a waste of our time and resources, and in this fast-paced world society, is no place for a stick in the mud. This is precisely why women make better leaders today.

  • Janice May 6, 2014, 9:08 pm

    I married a man like that and now that we are empty nesters it has become worse. Fortunately I have a group of friends that I get together with once a month and converse with because it certainly isn’t him. I will talk about things with him and get no response in return. This is very frustrating. Remember if it starts out that way it will not get better.

  • Clare May 17, 2014, 9:52 pm

    It’s been really interesting to read these comments. It certainly makes me feel less alone. Night after night, hub sat beside me on the couch, watched tv and fell asleep. I felt ignored and unloved. Then he often complained about our lack of intimacy. I tried to explain that intimacy comes from sharing and caring. He wouldn’t even meet my eyes when I asked him bluntly to answer me, and often would just insult me or change the subject to bring up something I’d said years ago. He often called me cold, even though it was him who denied me the dignity and respect of a direct answer. After 22 years of marriage, and so many arguments about this very topic, he found another woman and threw me out on New Year’s Eve. My suggestion and advice to you all is ‘get out while you can’. Men like this are so self absorbed and empty that they will never extend to you the respect you deserve, and hold it against you when you are not satisfied with the scraps of attention they throw your way. Usually in their own interest. You are all good people, or you wouldn’t be here, seeking answers to your dilemmas. There are good men out there who may not have much to say, but are willing to try because they love and respect you. Go find one before it’s too late.

  • DIANE May 27, 2014, 5:51 pm

    I\’m so tired of us women always trying to coddle up to the men, like they\’re children. Some of it is our fault for taking the crap for so long so guess what – they\’re going to play it out and not own up to any of their communication problems for as long as they can. I do notice, the second they hear \”I\’m moving out\” or the knock at the door to serve divorce papers, all of a sudden it\’s \”what? I didn\’t see anything wrong with us! Can we go to counseling?\” Too late by this point.

    • Stacy June 22, 2014, 8:51 pm

      I’m a newlywed and going through the same problems. My husband is always quiet. For example he will ask to go out to eat and completely zone out and ignore me. He stated that he can’t focus when there is a lot of noise from other patrons. If that is the case then I will prefer that we do not go out. He has gotten a little better about not being so rude and ignoring me. We don’t talk at home much and I try to excuse that because I have read that men are tired after work and just want to relax so I get that and that leads me to get on the Internet for entertainment. Well then he says I’m on my computer all the time. I’m at wits end and feel lonely. Is there a word for being lonely when your not alone? He has also stated that he doesn’t have meaningless conversations. I forgot to mention that he is in the military and that he signed up to leave me to do military duty without talking to me about it. I told him that it’s a good opportunity because he will make as much as we make together and he said he isn’t doing it for that reason but he is doing it for his county. So it feels as if I don’t matter. I keep thinking that I’d rather be alone than be unhappy. I’m not sure if I’m in love him anymore.

      • Natalie June 23, 2014, 9:05 am

        its annoying, i know. My husband has gotten a little better. We came across a role model, sounds weird. but we both admire him and his family, how he handle situations and etc. since than things are better, not great just better. We have two boys together and we have been going on school interviews for my 11 year old, both the boys are getting his bad habits of not looking at people when they are talking or look at them when they talk. our two year acts as if doesn’t hear people when they talk to them. anywho i got off subject.

        what i wanted to say is… it may feel as if you will never love again, but no one is that lucky, ppl will always find love, if you aren’t happy have no kids, please go and be happy.

  • Shrutie Srivastava September 4, 2014, 12:01 pm

    Hi !! I am amrried for 6 months and my husband talks to all his office collegue and family except me. Though he is non conversationalist and I feel so depressed and lonely. I dont even know and wonder if he loves me or

  • bri September 4, 2014, 12:20 pm

    My husband doesn’t think there is a problem even though I tell him how unhappy I am and I cry to him about my loneliness. He refuses to go to therapy or to try any of the communication techniques I suggest (from sites like these). I want a divorce (we have no children) it’s only been three years of marriage and we were married young….I am so embarrassed to have a failed marriage and fear judgement from my family, and I don’t know what I would do on my own I don’t really have a financial way out yet. I’m happy to have read these comments, they make me feel less alone in my situation.

    • natalie September 4, 2014, 2:01 pm

      “you would only be so lucky to be single for the rest of your life” – for most ppl, we cant stay single for long. their will always be someone, may not be better or may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
      Talk to your family about what is happening with your marriage, if they will support you and help you get your financial saturation together… you will be fine, even if they don’t it will make you stronger women.

    • H October 4, 2014, 2:45 am

      Bri. I completely understand how frustrating it is to deal with a situation like this. I would suggest make yourself financially independent. I myself am not but I’m working towards it. It will give you less time to think about all this. .. Make you more confident… And sorry to say but less needy.
      My husband too refuses counselling. ..gets angry when I cry… says he’ll try change…but back to usual in 2 days.
      I read this piece somewhere…it might help.


      It’s not a failed marriage as long as you don’t think of it that way. You have every right to deserve all you want. I would say pls try and asses youself first to be sure of what you might be doing wrong. Try not giving him a chance to conplain and if this don’t go well and he doesn’t understand you still… You should move on.


  • Casey October 13, 2014, 5:25 pm

    I want to say so many things. First of all I am 22, and I live with my 35 year old boyfriend. The all too common phrase, being lonely when you’re not alone, could not be any truer for me! It’s awful. He isn’t working right now, and spends most of his days taking online courses. Then when he is finished it’s straight to Netflix. When I come home from work, and try to talk to him…nothing. I try to be silly to catch his attention, which only makes him mad. Or mostly I will just sit and watch tv with him but I can only watch so much tv! It’s driving me mad!

    Sex is great but hard for me to get into because as someone state earlier, I also need interaction outside of bed in order to make a connection in bed. There is also the concern of selling weed. I caught him once before but almost got myself thrown out of the house when I brought it up. I didn’t feel comfortable knowing he could be selling from the house I also live in. Men come over to the house on occasion, and I just assume they are his friends. They always go into his office room to talk. This actually happened just the other day and when I asked who his friend was he replied “I don’t know” and told me he was trying to watch the tv show. He then proceeded to leave the room, and lock himself in his office (where there is another bed). Any time I bring up the issue of our lack of communication or interaction he just tells me that is how he is and if I don’t like it I can move out and find a new bf. I hate this idea, it upsets me to no end. I know I’m young but I’ve never liked anyone else so much before. The connection we had when we first met was incredible, almost too good to be true. Don’t get me wrong we still have good days, however rare that may be. Like many of the other posts on here I am just tired of dealing with it and feel so alone and sad.

    • bri October 13, 2014, 8:38 pm

      Casey I highly suggest you get out of this relationship while it’s not a legal issue…I know it will be hard but it’s harder to leave a man you’re married to and possibly have children with than to leave a boyfriend..I only wish I had been aware of my situation and been able to read sites like these before I got married :(


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