It’s not uncommon for women to begin to feel neglected by their husbands within a few years after they get married. They wonder what happened to that attentive, loving man they said, “I do” to. Where did he go? If you’ve asked yourself this question it’s time to examine your own behavior. These are some common reasons your husband will quit paying attention to you.
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You nag and gripe at him
You think you’re just “reminding” him. He hears it as nagging and griping. How can you tell the difference between the two?
Whether we like it or not, it’s a fact of life that men do not like to be nagged. There’s a reason there are so many jokes men make about nagging wives – it’s because no man wants to end up married to a woman who nags all of the time.
But there ARE times when your man does need to be reminded about something that needs to be done. The issue here is HOW you remind him and how OFTEN you do the reminding.
When you’re constantly telling him he needs to do this and that – you’re nagging.
When you remind him in a complaining way – you’re nagging.
When you make feel like you don’t think he’s capable of remembering what to do – you’re nagging.
When you remind him in a not-so-gentle tone of voice – you’re nagging.
And the more you nag, the more he’s going to resist. It’s the nature of the beast (and man) that the more we harp on something, the more he’s going to drag his feet. It’s almost as if on the inside his thought process is, “the more you nag me about this the longer I’m going to drag it out just to show you who’s boss!”
So assuming you’re married to a competent man with a reasonable memory, quit “reminding” him about things he needs to do. He already knows!
Now this doesn’t mean that you have to go for months and never mention a chore, but be mindful about how often you’re bringing something up. A gentle question generally gets a better response than a stern reminder.
Here’s the deal about nagging: it’s kind of like the definition of obscenity….you know it when you hear it.
You belittle him
If you make your hubby feel small, stupid, and incompetent he’s going to avoid interacting with you. Even if the belittling is done at home when no one else is around it tears him down and makes him feel unloved and disrespected. Talk about setting the stage for him to find respect and love elsewhere, this will do it.
It’s possible you may be doing this without even realizing it. Men pay attention to the tone of voice we use and they hear the snarky remarks we make. Even if you think it’s a joke and is funny, he probably doesn’t!
You run him down in front of other people
You’ve probably been around a couple where one partner constantly runs the other one down in public. It’s an embarrassing situation for everyone involved but it is especially embarrassing for the one who is being run down. No one likes to feel like a fool. And no one wants to be made to look like a fool in front of others!
If you’re running your partner down in front of other people then you’re doing serious harm to your relationship. The Golden Rule definitely applies here…are you treating your partner the way you want to be treated?
Manipulation can be done in lots of ways: false flattery, feigned incompetence, pretending to be a “damsel in distress”, misrepresentation of facts, overstating a need, and blowing something out of proportion. It’s true that you may get your way for a while. And your husband may not say anything about it – he may not even care most of the time because he really does want to make you happy. But if you begin being manipulative to the point where you’re always the one getting your way then he’ll figure it out…and he’ll begin to resent it.
Everyone wants to feel like their relationship is a partnership and that their needs are considered. If he begins to feel like you’re always willing to manipulate situations so that they go your way, then he feels like he’s always the one getting the short end of the stick.
You use tears to get your way
Speaking of manipulation, this one is a biggie!
Most men do not enjoy seeing a woman cry. And causing her to cry…they hate that even more.
So when you turn on the tears so that your man will feel bad and do what you want, you’re not playing fair. Eventually it’s going to dawn on your hubby that he’s being played and when it does…he will NOT be a happy camper.
He’s going to feel like he’s been taken advantage of. He’s going to feel like he’s been labeled a sucker in your mind. And he won’t feel good about you either.
And when the time comes that you are crying real tears, they’re going to have lost their effect because he’ll have hardened his heart to them. You’ve used the so often that they don’t mean anything to him anymore.
You withhold sex or use use it as a bargaining chip
Your physical relationship with your hubby is meant to be an expression of your love, affection, and commitment. It’s not meant to be used as currency to get what you want.
When you withhold sex you’re telling your hubby that his needs don’t matter. Now, I’m obviously not saying that you have to say “yes” every time sex is initiated, but when you refuse if because you want something in return, you’re cheapening it’s importance. Just as you’d be insulted if someone offered to pay you for sex, your hubby is insulted that sex is offered only when he’s “performed” by doing something you wanted.
Your husband is not a dog and sex isn’t a treat he gets for rolling over or performing a trick.
You expect him to solve all your problems
Your hubby is not a mind reader, he’s not a fixer, he’s not a magician, and he’s not Superman. He’s a mortal man with all the limitations that implies. Just as you aren’t able to solve all of his problems, he’s not able to solve all of yours either.
Face it, life is hard. People have individual problems and couples get their share of crummy events tossed in to their life. You’ll have to work as partners to solve the problems you’ll face together, and you’ll have to work on your personal problems on your own. That doesn’t mean your hubby can’t HELP, but he can’t solve them without you doing your part
You think it’s his job to make you happy
Many fairy tales perpetuate the myth that the right “prince” will come into your life and make you happy until “the end”. Let’s remember that fairy tales are just stories and that we should never expect them to come true in real life.
Unfortunately, more than one little girl has turned into a grown woman who expects that her husband’s job is to “make her happy”. But the truth is this…
no one else can make you happy!
Each of us must do the work to develop ourselves so that we become fully mature people who are capable of creating our own happiness – it’s an inside job.
Ask yourself this question: Am I capable of making another person 100% happy? If the answer is NO, why would you expect someone else to be able to do the same for you?
You act like a petulant child when you don’t get your way
How do you respond when things don’t go your way?
Do you pout and sulk? Do you mope around and get moody? Or do you suck it up and realize that relationships require compromise?
No one wants to be married to – or put up with – a child. It gets old and it isn’t fun. And frankly, your husband is sick of it (your friends are sick of it too). There comes a point when we all have to realize that part of being an adult is accepting that things don’t always go the way we want them to. Sometimes other people have needs that must be considered and that at times, those other needs will be more important than ours.
Grow up and deal with it – it’s what real adults have to do.
You treat him like a child
Here is a cold hard truth about marriage….your man didn’t marry you so you could turn in to his mother!
If you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory you’ve noticed how Bernadette began to sound just like Howard’s mother – and you cringed. Keep that in mind in your own marriage so that he’s not cringing every time you open your mouth.
You don’t fight fair
Do you use words like “always” and “never” when you’re arguing with your husband? Do you dig up every past transgression and toss it out as proof that you’re right and he’s wrong? Do you use “evidence” from some other situation to make your case in the present?
I know it’s hard to be rational when you’re upset. But when you’re upset is when you’re most in need of taking a step back so that emotions don’t cause you to lose control and fight dirty. And yes, I am making the assumption that people who fight dirty are doing so because they’re emotional. To think that they fight dirty just because they can – well that’s a whole other level of selfishness.
You never really forgive
You say you do, but you don’t. And he knows you don’t really forgive because you never fail to bring up past transgressions anytime you’re upset. The problem with refusing to truly forgive is that the argument or problem is never really resolved. When something is brought up over and over again – despite the fact that it’s supposed to be in the past – it’s a signal that you’re still harboring resentment.
Resentment keeps both of you from moving to a better place in your marriage.
You let others into your relationship
Have you known women who ran and told their mothers everything that went on in their marriage? She’d tell anytime there was a disagreement and other people would know anytime her hubby did anything “wrong”.
Or maybe you’ve had a friend who asked for the opinion of everyone else before she considered that of her husband.
If you have, you’ve probably wondered what her husband thinks about the fact that his wife seems so obsessed with these other relationships. You’ve probably also wondered how often the opinions of others end up being more important to her than that of her hubby. One of the rules for a happy marriage is that your relationship is only supposed to have two people in it.
You don’t keep private things private
Have you ever been around another couple when the woman let some things slip and everyone in the room was embarrassed? Or perhaps you’ve seen on Facebook where one of your friends has told her “friends” about something going on in the relationship.
Even worse, perhaps you know someone who likes to drop personal – intimate – details about her hubby into the conversation. You’re never quite sure if she’s trying to get you to reveal something about your hubby too, whether she’s bragging, or whether she’s insecure and needs validation about something. Either way, you’re hearing things you’d rather not hear and you’re never sure how – or whether – to respond (because part of you wants to crawl under a rock an blush!).
Whether she’s complaining about him or making suggestive remarks about their private life, this is inappropriate. Some things really are supposed to remain private.
How about this as a guideline – if it goes on behind closed doors it shouldn’t be discussed with anyone else. Is that simple enough?
You don’t really listen to him
You may think you’re listening but that’s not what’s at issue here. What is important is that HE feels like you’re listening to him! And if you’re sitting there thinking about what you’re going to say next or how you’re going to respond to what he’s saying, then you are not listening to him.
You don’t make him feel like he can count on you
There are lots of reasons people get married, but one reason is that we all need to know that there is someone who is absolutely, totally, 100% in our corner…no matter what. If your man ever gets to the point where he doesn’t feel like you’re the one person he can count on to have his back, you’ve lost the war.
He may stay with you, but your marriage is not the relationship he hoped it would be when he asked you to be his wife.
Are you giving him any reasons to quit paying attention to you?
There you have it. If you see yourself exhibiting any of these behaviors it’s time to ask yourself some serious questions about the state of your marriage. Most importantly you need to ask yourself what you can do to try to repair the damage that’s been caused. Every man – and woman – deserves a supportive, fulfilling, and happy marriage. It takes work…and it takes two to make it work.
And just for the record, these behaviors go both ways. I’m not assuming that men never do any of these things because I’m sure some do (I’ve just observed it more from women). The bottom line is that all of us need to treat our partner the way we want to be treated if we want to have a happy marriage.
Before you go…
My picks for you…
I don’t think it’s ever too late to improve your marriage. I’ve read several of the books below and found a lot of wisdom in them. Marriages in crisis can get back on track and good marriages can be strengthened. It just takes willingness, work, love, and patience. But I seem to remember those things alluded to in the marriage vows anyway.
For marriages in need of a little more intensive work, Reclaim Your Marriage is a 10-week program that focuses on the major stressors that cause problems in marriage. The Marriage Club is a membership site that provides you access to resources to make your good marriage even better. Both are from The Dating Divas.