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Distant Husband: Doesn’t He Love Me Anymore?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 16, 2016

Question

Salam Aleikom counselor. My husband behaves with me in a cold way a bit, and I am unsure of what I should do with the situation. We are married for 4 years. Some background: We moved to my hometown some time ago. It is a non-Muslim country, and my city does not have much Muslims. Hamdulillah, he works, but the workplace is quite stressful. He always complains that he feels they treat him unfairly, that collagues ghossip about him, they misunderstand his emails or words, think he is unfriendly and arrogant, or that one of the managers looks at him in a suspicious way. He has been searching for another place, but nothing yet so far. Another issue wich might affect him inside is the death of his mother which happened a year ago. we do not really talk about it, and he looks very strong regarding this issue from the very beginning, I mean he knows she is in a good place inshallah and he does not look depressed. For some months, he lost his enthusiasm towards his goals and plans, but I seem him now on track with this. Kind of. Since we are here, he has breathing problems and panic attacks sometimes. Days are very unpredictable. One day he comes home in a good mood, talks to me, hugs me a lot...other days (which I feel they are more) he is not interested in anything, he hardly says salam, and goes to his stuff he is doing on the laptop. I always try to free myself when he comes home and intend to talk to him and spend time with him, maybe eat together befor returning to my tasks. But I feel most of the time he just ignores me. Not directly though. If I ask him, he might say a short answer, but does not ask about me or my day. Does not want any hug or kiss. And sometimes he even directly says please leave me do my stuff. When I ask what is wrong, he either does not reply, or say "nothing". I try not to complain a lot, try to be emphatic, but sometimes it is very hard. I wish to be loved as he used to do. And it is really hard especially when there are things to talk about like an upcoming travelling which we haven't finalized yet, or some finances that we need to send the renting money, or I need money for something which we agreed that he is going to pay. (I work as well so we divided the stuff). Or just talking about the future like do you really want to stay here, or as we still do not have kids, let's just pack and try somewhere else. Just asking about this makes him nervous somehow! We cannot have a nice chatting about serious stuff. Why am I asking about it, i already know. This is usually the response. Although no, I do not know as he says something one day, and say something totally different on another day. I cannot handle his mood swings, his occassional coldness, and his incertitude. How to help him? (btw, he is not a social person really, he hardly made friends here.)

Counselor

Answer


Emotionally Distant Husband; He Doesn't Love Me Anymore?

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,

It can be very difficult living with someone who has mood swings like this and very often the other person begins to blame themselves and feel responsible for the negative attitude that is held towards them. It can be especially difficult when you feel like you are doing all you can to support them in overcoming their difficulties, but they do not disclose to you what that issue is. Frequently, men often do have a harder time than women in expressing their emotions.

From what you say, it would seem that this is a general problem he is facing rather than something that is directed directly towards you. His consistent and unpredictable mood swings may be due to difficulties he has been experiencing at work. Perhaps, those days when he comes back more cold than usual he has had a bad time at work, and on the better days, maybe he had no issues.

You say that he lost his mother a year ago. It’s important to understand that people have very different ways of grieving. Given that it seems he is a man that does like to talk much about his emotions, understand that he may still be going through the processes of grief. If you have ever experienced grief yourself, then you will understand how this might lead people to feel withdrawn. In some people, this experience continues for longer than with others.

Regarding feeling like there is no love in your relationship, firstly, in a new marriage the love is always fresh. But in time, as the couple gets used to each other, they might feel less need to show love at this level as the love is already developed, and there is a mutual understanding of love for each other without having to be so overt about it.

Maybe your husband feels that it’s not necessary to show it in the same way as he once did, not because he loves you any less, but that he thinks you know that he does already. Additionally, he is clearly feeling stressed at work and, therefore, if he has many bad days at work, he’s not really going to be in much of a mood to be showing love and affection. Stress in the work place may be the source of his anxiety and panic attacks, too, on top of the potential grief he also still experience.

Living in the West, it is important to mix with the locals, but it’s also important to mix with the few brothers and sisters that are close by, too. This will serve to strengthen ties in the Ummah. Maybe, you might want to invite someone you are close to to come for dinner with her husband at your place. This way, your husband will be in a comfortable environment to mix with another brother. This type of situation can make social interaction more comfortable rather than being in a big group of people, in a familiar environment where he feels most comfortable. It will also provide him with a healthy distraction from the stressful relations he is frequently having at work.

It is probably difficult for you to cope with the change in moods and feeling a bit unloved, so be sure to also take care of yourself by eating well and exercising well. Meet friends and take time to relax, too. This will put you in a more healthy mindset to manage his moods and support him in going through them. It might not feel like he appreciates your support right now, but in time as he overcomes his anxieties, in sha’ Allah, he will be in a more comfortable position to show his appreciation. This is something that will require your patience and prayers.

Continue to ask Allah (swt) to help your husband and encourage him to do the same for himself, and reassure him that Allah (swt) will help him in overcoming the tests he is going through right now. Continue to remain calm and comforted in the knowledge that Allah (swt) will come to your husband’s aid soon and there will be relief. If he seems reluctant, then just continue to be a good example to him and support him whilst taking care of yourself, too.

May Allah (swt) bring you comfort in His remembrance. May He (swt) help your husband get through his own difficulties, and may He (swt) strengthen the bond between you both.

Salam,

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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