Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Feeling depressed knowing that my non-communicative husband will never change

Community Member
I am nearly 60 and after 30+ years of marriage I know that my non-communicative husband will never change and I will have spent most of my adult life with someone who is a good person in so many ways but a terrible communicator. He doesn’t deal with anything to do with emotions at all well and never says anything warm or encouraging or loving or even vaguely complimentary to me. He is happy for me to be warm and loving but never initiates any affection ever. He is extremely passive and then passive-aggressive if challenged. I am feeling so depressed that I might spend the rest of my life without my partner ever saying anything nice to me in a personal sense. I have tried to explain several times over the years how I feel but nothing changes. He can’t even explain to me why, knowing how desperate I am for some warm words, he never says anything. He said he didn’t know. I am feeling sucked dry of all my energy and joy in life at the prospect of a future like this. I don’t know how to deal with this.
4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi there and welcome to the beyond blue forums.

It is sad when you would like your partner to be able to show you some affection and you get nothing. Even if you were after some sort of emotional response and nothing happens. It doesn't seem too much to ask?

I wonder about the background of your husband? Was he taught not to show feelings? Is he just quiet? Workaholic? Something else?

The background doesn't matter too much except it might give you a point from which to start. I won't say too much about my own dad but was a combination of the above. To the point I used an emotion wheel a few times to get him to use some feeling words... about how he was feeling. And I think it fair to say he is from a generation where it was seen as weak to show feelings.

For myself it could be a fear of rejection. And here a conversation with your other half might be helpful if you use I based communication...

I feel... When this happens... I understand that you.... And if we....

That was something my psychologist told me about speaking with my wife.

Perhaps there are things you could do together? Date night? Even if it is at home.

What attracted you to him?

Thank you for your considered response. I have had a long time to mull over the situation and believe that my husband was not brought up in an atmosphere filled with much warmth and encouragement and praise. He has been an absolute workaholic until last year when he retired. We had a very busy life. It took me a long time throughout our marriage to realise what my emotional needs were and not to feel guilty about wanting some emotional support. I think I am most surprised that my husband finds it impossible to make any efforts at all and just continues to say ‘it’s always his fault’ if I try to initiate any conversation about this. If someone close to me said they were struggling and feeling bad I would do anything I could to help them through it. And upping the warmth and affection couldn’t be too hard - could it? Any conversation about emotions or issues to do with feelings just makes him retreat and run a mile!! My resilience has got me through all the past years but I am feeling so bleak and my energy to deal with it has just run out. He is basically a nice person but just likes everything to go along smoothly and just can’t see how important it is to show more empathy, affection and be a bit warmer. It is like he has a total block on emotions.

Community Champion
Community Champion

A random thought...

You said you were both busy in your lives so I would go so far as to say that his ability to be warm and affectionate has been somewhat lost. If that is or were the case then it would be a bit hard for him to do a 180 degree turn and become that. Not because he cannot, but it might not feel natural. So the question might be what small goals are achievable for him.

What about a date night of some sort?

What was he like when you met and before you were married?

Community Member

Hi Ariarne,

My husband is not a good communicator either. Sometimes I get frustrated trying to carry on a conversation with him. Also he's admitted that he cannot give me the emotional support that I would like for my depression & anxiety.

However I've shifted my focus to other things that he does well. He takes care of a lot of things and he gets things done! I've learnt to appreciate the things that he does well to fill-in my gaps. Is this any help to you?

Take care.