First of all, let me say thank you for providing an outlet for those of us who need it. Not only does your column provide a little comic relief, it’s been great advice!
I’ve been married for a few years, but my husband leaves me to wonder whether or not he should be heavily medicated. He stops speaking without ever communicating why. He gets mad about something as simple as me not answering my phone when someone else calls me. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like answering my phone. He’s done this so many times that his mechanism to gain attention by not speaking has become highly ineffective. I don’t even let it bother me anymore.
He seems to be jealous over things with me, my job at the firm, and what I drive. However, I can’t say that definitively, but it surely feels like it with all the snide remarks. I think every day that I should leave him for good, but then I wonder what God would think of me. So, I stay.
His parents were not constantly in his life, so he often speaks of how hard his childhood was. None of which is my fault. We’ve had so many times where we didn’t talk that I’ve lost count; once, up to 4 months. I make the efforts in trying to speak, but he does not respond. I’m not a perfect person as we all have our faults, but shouldn’t there be communication in a marriage?
I didn’t see this before marriage and if I did then it was because I simply loved him. He was always the gentleman. The sweetheart, the provider, and protector. We had one disagreement before marriage and that was about me walking out of the room when someone called me. I took ownership over it and tried to refrain from doing that again because clearly he had insecurities.
How long should I hang on in a marriage with no laughter, no thrill, no communication, and where the relationship has come to a total halt? I’ve tried to leave before, but when I do he convinces me to stay. Help me understand please! – No Communication
Dear Ms. No Communication,
Yes, this is odd and peculiar behavior from your husband to simply not communicate, or speak with you. A grown adult who refuses to speak, or does the silent treatment as a way to gain attention, or to teach you a lesson is what children do. It’s childish, and extremely immature for him to not respond to you when you speak. Why can’t he share what is bothering him, or what irritates him without him shutting down? There has to be a larger issue at hand.
I suspect there is an emotional and mental breakdown happening with him, and he doesn’t know how to effectively communicate what is bothering him. Thus, he shuts down, and instead of sharing he resorts to childlike behavior and refuses to speak and ignores you. So, I wonder if this is something he did as a child with his parents, or something he picked up from one of his parents who also did this, yet, it was never corrected in him. He didn’t outgrow this behavior, but found it as a way to handle things because it probably produced results that worked for him. And, instead of addressing his issues or concerns he shuts down, and people probably beg, or give in to his behavior and apologize profusely for what they’ve done. It’s manipulative and controlling, and since you don’t give in to it, he will keep going until he feels like speaking, or until he figures he’s worn you down.
But, if it happened where he didn’t speak to you for four months, then there is something seriously wrong. I strongly suggest and recommend therapy and counseling. Who goes four months without speaking to their spouse, and you live in the same house? Ma’am, you are better than me. After a week of that –ish I would have packed my things and moved out. The hell you are not going to speak to me, and we live together. You truly have lost your damn mind.
You mentioned that he gets upset when you don’t answer your phone when someone is calling. That is really silly, but for him it can be a major reactionary trigger. Perhaps, when he was younger someone was trying to call their house and no one answered and something bad happened. Or, since you don’t answer your phone because you don’t feel like talking, he probably figures how many times have you done this when he’s attempted to call you and you didn’t pick up, as you simply ignored it. Or, maybe, he suspects you of cheating since you don’t answer your phone in front of him. Who knows, but I’m curious as to know why you don’t ask him? Does he shut down when you ask him why it bothers him when you don’t answer your phone?
But, the red flag is that you mentioned he has insecurities. Before you got married, you had a disagreement where you walked out of the room when someone called you. You acknowledged it and took ownership over it, and refrained from doing it again. And, now that you don’t answer your phone in front of him, his insecurities are being piqued. He’s wondering, why are you not answering your phone in front of him. Who is calling you that you don’t’ feel like talking to in front of him. Also, you mentioned that he makes snide remarks regarding you, your career, and what you drive. If these comments are offensive, or disturbing, then why not address them? Ask him where are they coming from, and what does he mean by them. But, more importantly, why is making these comments? Is he insecure about your successes, and your accomplishments?
Look, I understand there is a serious communication breakdown, but if he doesn’t want to talk to you, then it’s time to seek therapy and counseling. There are unresolved issues that he hasn’t dealt with, and it is affecting your marriage. Whatever happened in his youth needs to be healed and worked on. He is trapped in a perpetual destructive stage that resulted from something in his youth. It needs to be dealt with. You have to give him ultimatums the next time you threaten to leave him. You have to let him know that if he doesn’t get into therapy over his non-communication, and why he treats you the way he does, then you will not stay in a marriage where you don’t have communication, and your husband doesn’t speak to you for months on end. That is not a marriage, you are roommates. You have to express to him that you need to feel loved, to have fun, to laugh, to enjoy one another’s company, and to be able to communicate as adults without acting like a child. You don’t want to have to worry if your husband is not speaking to you, or if he is upset over something. If he doesn’t rectify this, or seek help, then why be married? He either works it out, or you will be out. – Terrance Dean
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