He emotionally abandons me

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Q: Anna asks:

We have been married for three years and this has gone on since. I never know when or for how long, he finally told me that his ex who he was for 8 yrs had them same "complaints” as he calls my concerns, he really doesn’t have a reason to offer me. When we are emotionally connected its great but for no apparent reason he leaves emotionally. I have tried discussing this with him, writing my feelings to offer to do anything to prevent this from happening again but I get no real answer We went to counseling tried 3 different ones trying to find one that wouldn’t come to the conclusion that he is an emotional cripple what can be done. I’ve been told my counselors that i need to accept this and not take it personally or leave the marriage because the pain is destroying me. Do you have any ideas for me.

A: Love Coach Rinatta Paries answers:

Anna, your husband leaves emotionally when the two of you get too close. Perhaps not too close for you – but for some reason too close for him. Don’t try to figure out what you can do to make him not go away. Short of keeping your distance at all times, nothing you do will make a difference.

Well, that is not exactly right. There are many things you can do to make this situation better, but nothing that you can naturally come up with will work. Being nicer, not causing arguments, trying to please him will not work. He abandons you because he experiences intimacy as threatening. Being nicer will only make him run away faster as when you are nicer there is probably more intimacy.

So what do you do? First read "How Do I Get Through To You" by Terry Real. Offer your husband the opportunity to read it as well. Then take the advice of the therapists and learn to live without emotional closeness with your husband – not for always, but for now. Build your self-esteem and your internal strength so that you are fine on your own and are not affected by his behavior.

Then you can start to work on helping him learn how not to run away from you.

I can help you with this process, and give you specific steps along the way to save your marriage. And I can offer you the support and comfort you so desperately need now and through this process. If you want my help, let me know and we can set up our first advice & coaching session and figure out your strategy.

Good luck and know that you are ok regardless of what your husband is doing or not doing.

From the Heart,
Love Coach Rinatta

Ready to ask your question? Click here to ask me!

Comments on this entry are closed.


Gigi August 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I hope someone is still reading this! If you talked to me three years ago, I was still ‘hoping’ and wishing all my hard work (4 plus years/on/off relationship) would be leading somewhere.
No, it never did grow b/c he didn’t allow it! If he got close, he’d have to REVEAL his secret life and no, that couldn’t happen! I never met his parents or his kids, what does this say about me? I’m much better than THAT. Also still hooked to his ex wife, ex girlfriends, ex lovers, you name it (said he didn’t burn bridges…why no, so he could “pull one in” if he and I had a row!) There was no DEEP availability for this slippery man.
Therapy and cold turkey off this “drug” of a addicting relationship has done wonders for me. Please do yourself a favor and find someone who is worthy of your love and affection!

Debbie October 7, 2007 at 6:51 pm

I know about feeling abandonment as I experience this also. We have been married for alittle over three years and most of this time I have lived in the shadows of his ex wives. I just landed a job that I make really good money and he has nothing to say good about it. I have gained weight about twenty pounds since we married, he has not said anything and i have some health problems that make it tough to lose those pounds, insecurity in myself has caused me to wonder if I will be able to live up to everyone expectations. I never use to be that way , I have very few friends and seldom do anything outside my home but work. We never go out or take walks. He spends his time on the internet if he is at home. He is a hard worker and does take care of our financial responsibilities. Any ideas how to put some life back into both of us Debbie

Love Coach Rinatta Paries August 19, 2006 at 7:57 am

to set up a coaching session go to http://www.whatittakes.com/Coaching/coaching.html

Candy August 18, 2006 at 12:09 pm


Three months later and we still need help. I’ll contact you directly to set up a session.

Thank you,

Love Coach Rinatta Paries May 29, 2006 at 11:11 am

Candy, first of all, a couple should not go on for days without speaking – it’s unhealthy and painful. Second, your guy does sound like he has intimacy issues and if he is not willing to work on them, you may not be the right woman for him. But first, you could try working on yourself, and see if the changes you make help him to naturally change and grow. But you should not do it behind his back.

What I would do is tell him you are going to work with a Love Coach to help you be healthier in your relationship with him. See what he says. If you say nothing about him, he should not have a big reaction.

If you do decide to get my help, I would want to hear what exactly is going on in the relationship day to day, what leads to this emotional shutdown and where else are intimacy issues showing up. Then I would teach you to deal with you guy more effectively, so that both of you have more of a fighting chance of keeping this relationship healthy and satisfying.

Does this answer the questions you were asking, give you the help you were looking for?
Let me know what I can do for you.

Love Coach Rinatta Paries

candy May 26, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Rita, regarding your words, “…yet here you are on my blog, talking about your relationship issues.” All I can say is well spoken, straight to the point, and 100% accurate. Please accept my apology…my tongue has been known to develop a sharp edge when I am hurting.

Uncle, I give up, I do not know how to work myself out of this negative spiral that is destroying a wonderful man, woman (me), and a wonderful relationship. I have been sitting on this blog response from you for the past 3 or 4 weeks now and while I have seriously contemplated asking for your help, I have not done so for several reasons. The most important reason being that I don’t want to do anything “behind my lovers back”.

I have suggested several times that a few counseling sessions would be a good idea for us before we get married (we have been living together for 15 months) and never got a reply back. After pushing the topic a few weeks ago, I finally got a reply. With a contorted, red face (did I mention that flames were shooting out of his eyes?) he said, “I’m not ready to do that yet”.

Yesterday morning in the heat of an argument, I finally said the words “you have some intimacy issues”. It actually felt very good to say them. I have avoided those words like the plague while still trying to convey the same message for months now because I KNEW how he would respond. “If you really think that, you are not the right woman for me.”

We have not made eye contact or spoken a single word to each other (other than polite, short, conversations regarding meals etc.) since that time. This is nothing new for us—this is our norm for days (sometimes weeks) after any verbal “rub” no matter how big or how small. What is different this time is that I am intentionally distancing myself from him. I did not “melt” as usual when he finally gave me a good morning kiss for the first time in days. What can I say? I really think that he has some intimacy issues and therefore I might not be the right person for him. I feel like it would be foolish of me not to put on my “emotional life jacket” this time and try to protect my heart from further injury.

So Rita, help!

Love Coach Rinatta Paries May 13, 2006 at 5:49 pm

Candy, you have to know that what you have in your relationship now is not all there is. Most men in our society have intimacy issues; most of them do not know how to connect. But they want to, badly. Men want love as much as women do, they just don’t know how to bridge the gap between where they are – fear of intimacy and emotional shut down – and where they want to be – love and connectedness. It is your job as the one in the relationship who knows about intimacy and connectedness to lead the man in your life into intimacy. You need to tell him that he has something to learn and fear to overcome. You need to ask him to grow into a man who can connect with you fully. The women who can do this with their men and make no excuses for it stand a greater change of getting the love their want.

And yes, I know you don’t know me, yet here you are on my blog, talking about your relationship issues. I want you to know that paying for help is nothing out of ordinary. If you really want to be happy in your relationship I really can help by teaching you just exactly how to teach him – and yourself – to create the kind of relationship you really want with him.

candy May 4, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Dear Shirlee,

Thank you for your reply…and you are right! Funny how timing works in this life, I just came to the same conclusion re: putting it out there and then just letting it be a little over an hour ago. After having a very hard heart to heart last night I woke up this morning knowing that his personally would not allow him to be “loving” (and I easily accept that part of him) but that today would be more pleasant because some of the stress had been relieved. And I was right, it was not at all a loving day, but it was a very pleasant day for me. In fact he was very preoccupied all day and in spite of a few unsuccessful efforts on my part to engage him in conversation, we only had a very small handful of short, superficial, exchanges.

Well just as I was patting myself on the back at the end of the day for not taking his inattentiveness personally and allowing myself to go about my day enjoying every simple pleasure. Everyone is entitled to a “me” day when their focus is on other issues and they overlook their mate—right? Well, I was dumbfounded when he asked me if I was all right because I had been quiet and had not initiated any conversation with him all day. He was honestly concerned that I might still be upset.

After bring up several examples of times during the day that I had indeed initiated conversations with him several times, I assured him that I had a very pleasant day on my own and that I was hot harboring any ill feelings or resentments—I could see by the look on his face that he was completely clueless. I did share the thought (and the small hurt) that came to my mind after hearing him say that. I simply asked him, “If you thought I was upset all day long, why did you wait until the end of the day to check on me?”

He went for a short walk and came back in a pleasant enough mood. But for the few moments he was gone, all I could say to myself is—I don’t get any better than this. I can “do more” and “try harder” but the bottom line is—this is as good as I get. Many men would be thrilled to have a woman the respected their need to take care of other things today. And that is all I did, respect him for being him…I didn’t whine, complain, or demand attention…I was simply happy being me.

I’m still not open to the idea that this is not the right man for me—because he is—he really is doing the BEST he can do to figure this all out and he really and truly loves me and also wants this to work. I know this is true with every fiber of my being. But, all I can do for now is, “put it out there and then just let it be”.

Shirlee May 4, 2006 at 5:21 pm

Dear Cindy:

I think you can try to hard to convince someone you love them. It may be a lack in their self-confidence (or they just aren’t in to you). It seems to me you put it out there and then just let it be (easy to say). But really, you need to have the confidence that if it is meant to be, then it will be. If not, you may have to move on. That’s just the way I see it.

candy May 2, 2006 at 10:41 pm

I lied….I’m clueless…..“intimacy issues” with men are alive and well and living on MY house!!! Soooo short of paying some woman (no offence Rita) that has a website (that I have never heard of) money to help me…how does a woman get a man to believe that she loves him and accepts him for who he is warts, fart, burps (did I say really, really, really loud burps and farts), butt cracks and all?

mademoiselle March 17, 2006 at 8:32 pm

I agree with pretty much everything Candy said. Most of it is likely our own doing. I believe guys cannot make us feel the way we say they do – abondoned, neglected, alone, etc. I think if you believe in yourself as that smart, attactive and caring woman, then when something happens that hurts your feelings, and he pulls away like he does best, you won’t take it so personally. But you have to continuously work at building that foundation of self-confidence and eventually, if a man pulls away as he likely will do, you have faith in yourself so that your negative reactions to the situation diminish. It takes effort to see the situation from a place of love and not from a place of hurt. And I’m 100% sure your reaction will be a far more pleasant one if it’s coming from a place of love, and it’ll be a reaction that will be far more likely to create the results you’d be happy with. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can call ourselves caring, understanding, and all that, if during the tough times we are so out of control with ourselves and our emotions that we create more chaos. So, my advice in all this – try to approach everything, especially the trying situations, from a place, thought process, and a perception of love, and the way you react to those trying moments will be far more pleasant for yourself, because those are thoughts and beliefs that will make you feel GOOD in any circumstances. :)

Candy March 10, 2006 at 11:24 am

You know, as I was reading these comments, I could not help but wonder—how many of the “intimacy issues” that we women have with men are our own doing? I for one am an intelligent, attractive, warm, loving, caring person. However, when my feelings get hurt (even though I am bright enough to know that the intent was NOT to hurt my feelings), I sometimes (despite my VERY BEST efforts not to) become rigid and uninviting to the man I love. I will allow my hurt to consume me for days on end but wild horses could not drag the words, “I need to talk” from my lips. And God knows no sane man is going to offer to “talk” to a rigid and uninviting woman on his own accord.

I guess my point is that society has a tendency to pin the title of emotional abandonment on men. When often times it is nothing more than the male animal’s need to take some time out to process the situation (going back into his cave), it really is NOT personal—it’s just MALE. For me, the problem is that by the time my man comes out of his cave—I am a basket case (code for rigid and uninviting). And the cycle repeats itself until I suffer for days—causing my beloved partner to suffer as well. So, my suffering man runs back to his cave—I get worse—he runs deeper—and I ultimately convince myself that “He” has intimacy issues. My guess is this is not unique to my relationship.

TreeFrog February 21, 2006 at 8:17 pm

Awesome blog you have. I enjoyed reading it this evening.

Kim February 17, 2006 at 12:43 pm

It sounds to me like the husband in this original posting suffers from conter-dependency. Its a way some people begin to erect walls when they can’t go through with intimacy. They never learned proper ways to be involved intimately, so they are afraid to be vulnerable or to be left, if they have been emotionally abandoned as a child. There is great book on the web by Weinhold,called the flight from intimacy. Maybe you should pick it up. Its on Trafford Publishing.com

Lilly January 20, 2006 at 5:10 pm

What could HE be afraid of…he is the one who shuts down….That is always when he runs to someone else to rescue them,when I need him…it is painful

Love Coach Rinatta Paries January 20, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Gregory, thanks for your comment. This pattern of closing down when she wants something from you should be looked at. Why do you shut down when she wants something? What’s wrong with her wanting something? Don’t you think that she has the right to want things from you, and you from her?

Although this may feel like a natural response to you, this does not mean it is the best response or the one most productive for your relationship. And I bet it causes her pain.

My door is open if you want to explore this and shift to being open to her wanting things from you – receiving her with an open heart.

Lilly, behind abandonment is always fear on the part of the abandoner. If you start to address his fear, you may be able to help him come out of it. Read “How Do I Get Through to You” by terry Real.

I can help as well, both in learning how to live well despite what’s going on your relationship and in how to help your partner come back to you. If you want my help, ask.

Gregory Durham January 20, 2006 at 9:52 am

From my own personal experience, I notice there’s a big difference in my level of emotional
vunerability and connection with my partner when she ‘wants’ something more than ‘wants to share’ something.
When I feel she ‘wants, I close myself down, a perfectly natural response to me. But when I feel it’s a sharing experience, I’m more than likely to share what I’m feeling and why.

lilly January 17, 2006 at 10:16 am

I have experienced exactly the same thing…not only emotional abandonment, but sexual as well.. it really hurts like hell…sometimes I deal with it better than others

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