Your wife is your partner but you feel like you’re struggling to connect with her emotionally. She seems distant, distracted, and uninterested in you and your life together. You feel isolated and unsupported.
If so, first know that you’re not alone. Whether this is completely new or something that’s been a sticking point in your entire relationship, you can find help.
Read on for ten signs your wife is emotionally distant, and advice on what you can do to bring your relationship back to a connected, loving partnership.
1) She only wants surface-level conversations
Not every conversation needs to be deep and meaningful, but if you’re struggling to get anything more than ‘fine’ as an answer, your wife may be withdrawing emotionally. She especially won’t want to talk about what’s wrong, either in her life or in your relationship.
And on the flip side, she’s not interested in your emotions and feelings either. She doesn’t want to hear about your day at work, or about the things that make you happy—or sad.
If you do try to talk to her, especially about her distance, then she’ll deflect, ignore you, or even get angry. Unfortunately this can easily lead to fights, but an emotionally distant wife might not notice or understand why you’re angry.
This kind of change in your wife’s personality can definitely put your marriage on shaky ground. You don’t deserve to be treated harshly, but an emotionally distant wife may lash out and critique your every move.
2) She lacks affection
This sign can be especially hard for people whose love language is physical touch. Your wife seems to struggle to be affectionate or intimate in all aspects of your life together, from sexual to the small gestures that make a person feel loved.
A marriage is a union where two people support and uplift each other, or at least it’s supposed to be. Part of that is a sense of intimacy. I don’t just mean in the bedroom, though that is often an important part of maintaining a strong, secure marriage.
Affection also comes in the form of a friendly touch on the arm, or a hug, or even a gesture that says someone is thinking of you, like picking up your favourite sweet treat just because. If your wife isn’t connecting emotionally, she doesn’t think to do these little extras for you.
Your affectionate gestures will also go unnoticed. Your wife may not respond to your attempts at intimacy, or she may accept a gift without acknowledging the emotion behind it. It’s only natural for you to feel rejected and like your wife doesn’t care about you.
3) She’s unavailable physically
Is your wife too involved in her own hobbies and activities to spend quality time with you? Many people who are feeling distant emotionally also create a physical distance, avoiding their partner—and any uncomfortable conversations.
Most of us lead busy lives–work, school, friends, children–but in a marriage, it’s important to carve out time to spend together. It could be as simple as watching a favorite TV show in the evening, or going out for a romantic dinner.
You shouldn’t have to feel like you need to beg just to get your wife to spend time with you, or for her to be fully present when she is. While it’s healthy for couples to have their own separate interests, throwing herself headlong into new projects and activities that don’t include you is a sign that your wife is distancing herself.
4) She’s getting her emotional support somewhere else
Don’t panic; this doesn’t automatically mean an affair, though it can sadly lead to one. It could be that your wife is getting support from friends or a close family member instead of you.
Most people have emotions of some kind, and feel the need to share these feelings with someone else. Ideally, you and your wife will help to shoulder each other’s emotional burden, and work through any issues together.
But if your wife is seeking out support from someone else, she doesn’t consider you her first choice. Your relationship might benefit from seeking therapy together: advice from a neutral third party, like the advisors in the popular couples coaching service Relationship Hero.
5) She’s dismissive of your feelings
Women are usually considered the emotional ones, and men less so. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings that should be acknowledged by your life partner.
Your feelings are valid, but an emotionally distant person may dismiss them or consider them too intense. At worst, they may outright insult you for having emotions and attempting to express them.
Your wife may be struggling with empathy towards you and can’t sympathize with what’s upsetting you, so she ignores it or tells you that you’re just being too dramatic or sensitive.
6) She doesn’t want to fight
Shouldn’t a lack of conflict be a good thing? Not necessarily, depending on why there is no conflict.
If you don’t fight because you’re getting along perfectly and your relationship is emotionally fulfilling, you wouldn’t be here, seeking answers. Instead, your relationship lacks conflict because your wife has no interest in working through any disagreements.
Every relationship has its share of conflict but it’s important that you and your wife are able to discuss your disagreement and come to a solution—together.
7) She’s lost her confidence
Your wife used to be confident and full of life, but now she’s withdrawn and questioning her every decision. This may show not only in her interactions with you, but with children, managers, and family.
She’s no longer feeling capable and as with avoiding conflict, she simply doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. She’s also harsh on herself and refuses to see the bright side, or acknowledge anything but her flaws.
8) She avoids other kinds of relationships
Your partnership isn’t the only relationship your wife is struggling with.
She doesn’t have close friends and keeps her family at arms’ length. She may tell you that she’s happy alone, and that could be true; some people are just content in their own little bubbles without much interpersonal interaction.
This kind of person will also likely tell you outright that they’re emotionally distant. If your wife tells you this, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilling relationship; it just means you may have to work a little harder.
9) You feel like you can’t trust her
If you no longer feel secure in your relationship, you’re likely struggling to trust your wife. You worry about affairs and wonder if she even still loves you.
Trying to discuss this with your wife doesn’t help; she dismisses your feelings or avoids the conversation completely. This leads to feelings of hurt and resentment, especially if your wife won’t work it out with you.
A lack of trust is a serious problem in a relationship and it can be difficult for a couple to overcome it.
10) You’re the only one putting in the effort
Relationships are a give and take, but you feel like you’re the only one trying to keep your marriage going.
If your wife is emotionally unavailable, she’s already anticipated things going wrong. She doesn’t want to put any effort into the relationship, and this lack of energy means the relationship is unlikely to work out.
Not all hope is lost, however.
These ten points are only signs of an emotionally distant wife, and don’t necessarily all apply to one person. If you truly want to save your marriage, there are a few steps you can take.
Is your wife naturally this way?
Some people tend to be loners who keep their emotions locked away inside. But if your wife has changed suddenly to shut you out, it’s time to look into why this is happening.
Is she stressed over a big life change, like a new baby or the death of a loved one? Has her situation at work changed? Is she overwhelmed by financial or medical issues?
If you’re able to pinpoint the reason behind your wife pulling away, you can work on fixing it. This might mean taking on some of her load, even temporarily.
Or it could mean sitting down with her and allowing her to release some of her inner turmoil.
Ask if she wants advice or simply wants to vent—and if she only wants to vent, listen without judgement and without attempting to solve the problem.
Sit down and discuss your relationship
If your wife is avoiding conflict and being defensive over her lack of emotional connection, you may struggle to have an open and honest conversation. But becoming just as distant as she is will only destroy your marriage completely.
Discuss your relationship, what you’re both feeling about it, and where you want the relationship to go. Acknowledge any flaws or sticky situations on both sides, and try not to lay blame on each other.
Ask for help
You don’t have to do this alone. You can ask family and friends for help, or reach out to a professional service like Relationship Hero, where certified relationship coaches are available 24/7.
Your mental health is just as important in this process. While supporting your wife, make sure you also have support, and that you’re still taking time for self-care.
Remember also that your wife should be just as willing to put the work in to repair your relationship. She may struggle, especially if she’s naturally emotionally distant, but your marriage will only work if you both work to pick up the pieces and move forward—together.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
The above link will give you $50 off your first session - an exclusive offer for Love Connection readers.