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Tips on how to handle a sensitive, reactive husband please

Community Member

My husband is irritable, distracted, flat, distant and reactive, and has been this way for quite a few months. He has previously experienced bouts of depression but insists that he isn’t depressed this time around and that it’s simply because we’ve moved to a new town to be closer to family and he’s adjusting. I’ve been with him for over 20 years, through the highs and the lows and I love him dearly but MAN, am I sick of him being so reactive all the time. He shuts down or gets angry over the smallest things. I could ask him casually to help me with the laundry or to help support me when one of our kids is being a terror and he takes it as this personal attack, when I’m being very thoughtful, light and intentional with my words and tone. We’re a team. I just want to work together. It makes me cautious to even speak up over the smallest things sometimes. I’m a super relaxed person and I miss just having a casual chat, or a D+M and it not going pear shaped. I’ve asked him questions when life is calm, openly from a place of learning and curiosity, on how I can better phrase things or communicate but he shuts down, doesn’t want to discuss it. I want to learn and grow through this, but his reactivity remains stagnant and if he’s changing its slooooooow. Any tips specifically on how to deal with sensitivity? Thanks 😞

8 Replies 8

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Lozzie K,

Welcome to forum.

I can understand how your situation must be frustrating. It seems like there might be some miscommunication going on as you've mentioned asking your husband how to better communicate but gotten no response. You appear to have tried your best, but perhaps your husband is going through an internal struggle that he isn't comfortable sharing. Maybe he needs some space?

An option could be to visit a relationship counsellor to help you and your husband open up and share.


Learn to Fly
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Lozzie

I hear you. I am so sorry you have been going through this. Sounds pretty frustrating. Can you think of anything that has started him behaving like this or has this been more of a gradual change, happening over the years? I wonder what might be the reason he treats everything as personal attack. Low self esteem, lack of confidence…? Just throwing some ideas here.

Community Member

Your husband sounds like he is struggling trying to adapt to your new address. I can understand this as I've just moved again and it's so much harder each time I've moved house. I also think it gets harder as we age. I grieve for what I've lost each time I move. Many people over look this fact as moving house and the adjustments required take their toll on us.

He could be missing people, his house, job, garden or a number of things.. Its like a type of grieving for me & with each house move I've made its a new grieving I need to go through.

Your husband sounds like he's going through something internally and hopefully this will sort itself out in time.

Has he got any interests of his own? Other than counselling (which he may not want to do), is he getting enough sleep also?

I know it must be difficult for you as you would feel helpless, just look after yourself... xx

Community Champion
Community Champion


Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums and thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you are feeling frustrated and helpless.

Your husband and you seem to have some miscommunication. There is always a reason why men react in a certain way. It still may be because he is adjusting.

Have you tried to go to couples counselling?

Stay safe and i am always here to chat.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I hope this thread helps



Community Member
Follow your heart. Read your email and responses out loud so your ears can here that have reached out. You need when you want so do not follow the blow out sisters messages. Or, you can try what they say and figure this isn't real it is training and it is great.

Community Member

My husband is like this. He is an amazing man but he is very sensitive to criticism. He doesn't have any mental health problems. So no correlation there.

I find I have to remain calm and explain exactly why I am asking something or suggesting he could improve with something. I also try and say something positive at the same time. However, it doesn't always work. Sometimes I just have to give him space and over time, hope he is able to quietly make his own adjustments. This does happen sometimes. Especially if I give little hints.

One other way that can help is to send him infomation in a Sms. My husband seems to realize it is not criticism better when it is in text and at a neutral time.

Spl spl
Community Member

Hi Lozzie, welcome to the forums. Feel free to reply any time, would love to have a chat with you.

I'm sorry to hear you are going through that with your husband. I find the words you used to describe the situation very interesting: 'sensitive', 'reactive'. It makes me wonder, what is he sensing and reacting to?

To me, it sounds like he is in an overwhelmed state of mind. Like, the state of mind you get in when your mind is very occupied and you are very stressed and if there's any one little interruption its just too much!

Does it seem any similar to that..?