Acceptance of Lovelessness

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    Hi, all-

    I never knew what emotionally unavailable meant until recently one day when I woke up and could lie to myself anymore: I’d just gotten married but have been completely alone for the last couple of years.

    By that, I mean that I finally accepted that I will truly, truly never get what I need from my husband, which is, very simply, connection of any sort. The whole time we’ve been together, I’ve constantly been “working on being over emotional” and “working at having more evolved reactions.” It’s been two plus years of me being told (by my partner and therapists) that it’s my job to be patient. give him time.


    All the while, I’m going through life with this person in the same house who can literally get to 2 pm in the day without ever finding a reason to talk to me at all, much less speak about anything important in life. And, that’s supposed to be okay. It’s my reactions (pain and loneliness) that are the problem.


    Well, after so much time and SO much heartache, everyday, I finally have fully accepted and realized a few things:

    – that something is fundamentally different about my husband and he’ll never get help for it

    – I truly believed that his lack of love for me was something I could fix my changing myself and my actions

    – with my second child coming in December, I don’t have room in my spirit for the pure and potent loneliness and heartbreak that consume me daily over this situation right now.


    So, I think I’ve finally detached to a degree. We have been sleeping in separate rooms for about a week, and he seems just fine. I’m just fine this time, too, but only because I’ve reached the point in my personal journey where I physically can’t be close to him anymore, much less sleep in the same room. I just physically can’t stand it. It feels like being next to a wolf.

    So, while this all my sound somber, I actually feel better. I have no clue what the future holds. My husband is not a bad person overall, but he will, without evolving, remain speechless, loveless, and monotone in all ways throughout life (so the exact opposite of my goals). Maybe he’ll change, but my newfound freedom is that I no longer believe he will. I never, ever wanted to believe that about a person—clearly, because I would accept what was right in front of me for years. But at the same time, I’ve consistently watched him have opportunity to grow in ANY way, some small way, and he consciously chooses not to.


    So. Has anyone experienced this, sort of, indefinite limbo of lovelessness?

    All my love,



    Dear Indigo:

    You are married with a child and about six months pregnant with a second child due in December. You’ve been sleeping in a separate room from your husband for about a week.

    You wrote that your husband is “not a bad person overall”, but “something is fundamentally different” about him: he is “emotionally unavailable… speechless, loveless, and monotone in all ways throughout life”, and you’ve felt “completely alone for the last couple of years”

    You asked if anyone has experienced what you are experiencing. To understand your experience better, I ask: how did a man who is  “speechless, loveless, and monotone in all ways” connect with you long enough to date you, to marry you.. does he not interact with anyone at his work place (if he works), does he not interact at all with his child?

    * I am wondering if being about 6 months pregnant is behind the severity of your recent subjective experience. Psychology today. com, reads: “Between 11%- 20% of women develop postpartum depression after giving birth, and 20%suffer from mental health disorders during pregnancy… It’s easy to write pregnant women’s mental health concerns off as hormonal in nature, but the picture is rarely so simple. Most women who develop mental health symptoms during pregnancy have a previous history of mental illness, suggesting that a complex cocktail of hormones, anxiety about becoming a parent, and life circumstances conspire to contribute to mental health issues”. The article then states that according to research, a few factors that contributes to women’s mental health issues during pregnancy are:  lack of social support, an unhelpful, uninvolved partner, health issues during pregnancy, having stopped taking psychiatric medications during pregnancy, and financial distress.  There is another website, women’s mental health. org, with lots of information on the topic.



    I am experiencing it now. I haven’t had sex with my husband for over 10 years. Sometimes when I talk he turns up the volume. I keep hoping he will find someone else as I am too gutless to end this train wreck.


    * Dear Michelle: I would like to read your story, the story of your marriage. If you would like to, will you tell it in your own thread (click Forums above, then Categories- Relationships and scroll down the page).



    Indigo, I am going to give you praise for finally realizing what you can control and what you can’t control. I had to look into my own codependence to finally understand my own negative choices in life. I used to try to change everyone but me. Now I believe we can only change ourselves. If anyone else is going to change, they have to want to change, and have to do their own work to change. This sentence you wrote spoke volumes to me “I truly believed that his lack of love for me was something I could fix my changing myself and my actions.” BINGO! This is often the lesson of our lives. I thought I could change others and make them appreciate me, love me, find me valuable and only then would I feel good about myself. I was always sort of in limbo. Then I started working on finding myself valuable and like you said, found a freedom of sorts.


    You also wrote: “It’s been two plus years of me being told (by my partner and therapists) that it’s my job to be patient. give him time.” You wrote about trying not to be overly emotional, whatever that means. Sometimes any emotion, whether realistic in the situation or not, is seen as not acceptable by our partners, parents, friends, etc. They do something ugly to us and we are not allowed to get angry, for example. Or the pet dies, and we are not allowed to be sad and upset. Sometimes people do have fluctuating and over whelming emotional outbursts that they can’t control and this can be more of a mental health diagnosis. Not saying this is you in your situation but I have known many people who either have fluctuating and out of control emotions or absolutely no emotions. Either one is difficult to deal with or live with.

    But I think two years is long enough to know something is, or is not, working. And by this I mean whatever goal we are working towards or whatever technique we are using – at some point it is clear we either have success or failure. So perhaps now is the time to focus on yourself and the new baby instead of focusing on him and his issues. This will give you a break from trying to “make him love you.” And by stopping the focus on changing him, you can relax into meeting your own needs and the needs of the new baby.

    I was also married to someone who could not give love for close to 30 years! I knew in the first year I had made a mistake but shame kept me bound to him and my own self talk that everything was okay. His issue was different from your husbands but the lack of ability to love another or give to another was always there which I denied to myself. I had a bunch of kids and choose to stay long enough to get them raised so that they would not have weekend visitation with this man. I had good reasons that I won’t go into here but those years were both long and difficult and at the same time, there were rewarding moments, fun moments. So yes, I had a lot of years where my love was dying and then did die with this man. Years I planned my escape and he never knew because he didn’t listen to me, refused to accept my boundaries, and was narcissistic. He never noticed, he was busy doing his own thing. Sometimes I think I made a mistake waiting so long to divorce and other times I think how screwed up my kids would have been if he had been in charge of them on his weekend visitations (think neglect, substance abuse, anger management issues). When I was pregnant with my third is when I realized the extent of his “flaws” and that the marriage would never be good but I still tried to change him for another 15 years probably. I was a slow learner. But once I stopped trying to change him, and I worked on fixing what I needed to fix within me, then I did find a freedom as you wrote. It was freeing to focus on me, on my kids, and what the rest of my life would be like. I also had many times of anger at his dysfunctional behaviors and sorrow that I was going to divorce him and he had no idea because he wasn’t listening or being present in the moments I talked to him about our problems. Journaling my feelings helped in the harder times.




    * Dear Rose of Yellow:

    I hope Indigo returns to her thread and reads your valuable post addressed to her. I read it, and I couldn’t let it be unread or unanswered. You shared about a very big part of your life, big in term of years and quality of experience. The thought of you enduring a marriage so to protect your children from having weekend visitations alone with their father-  is very meaningful to me, your sacrifice speaks volumes about your love for your children. I am moved by your story.


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