15 Telltale Signs of an Emotionally Unavailable Husband


Do you feel your marriage lacks intimacy or warmth? Here are 15 telltale signs of an emotionally unavailable husband that will help you navigate the issue.


Just because you are married doesn’t mean that you don’t experience loneliness from time to time. And when you have an emotionally unavailable partner, you will experience those emotions a lot more frequently. Emotional unavailability is not a disorder that you will find in any psychological theory or research, but rather a pop psychology term for emotional apathy that is apparent in unavailable people. In most heterosexual marriages, it is often the woman who complains about their husband not validating their feelings or coming off as distant.


According to John Gray, American relationship expert, counselor, and author of the bestseller, Men Are From Mars And Women Are from Venus, “If testosterone drops in a man, his body withdraws from anything producing emotional or physical intimacy. He has to recover (from an intimate situation) by pulling away. And too much connection causes too much pulling away.” What many women don’t realize is that men are equipped to focus only on one thing at a time in their lives — while some stressors may cause a man to pull away for a while he will come back to you with the same intensity.


According to John Gray, American relationship expert, counselor, and author of the bestseller, Men Are From Mars And Women Are from Venus, “If testosterone drops in a man, his body withdraws from anything producing emotional or physical intimacy. He has to recover (from an intimate situation) by pulling away. And too much connection causes too much pulling away.” What many women don’t realize is that men are equipped to focus only on one thing at a time in their lives — while some stressors may cause a man to pull away for a while he will come back to you with the same intensity.


15 Signs of an Emotionally Unavailable Husband 

1. You Put in All the Effort to Keep the Romance Alive:

When your partner seems emotionally absent in the relationship, you may feel obliged to make up for it by putting in extra effort. Maybe it is always you who makes time for date night, makes reservations, puts together small surprises, or shows small, loving gestures to please your partner. One-sided relationships like this can be quite disappointing, frustrating, and enough to adversely affect one’s mental health.

2. You Feel Ashamed of Having Emotions! 

If your husband gets immediately turned off when you’re vulnerable with your deeper feelings, it is a typical sign that he is emotionally unavailable. Men are likelier to be critical of their partner’s emotions and call their feelings unreasonable when they don’t understand them. And there is nothing more painful than having your feelings invalidated and dismissed by your spouse! 

Hence, you may be overly cautious or even afraid of being honest about your difficult feelings with your husband. Besides, you may notice that your partner gets overly defensive when you talk about your feelings with him, which further discourages you from being honest. 

3. Your Marriage Feels Like a Situationship:

A lack of emotional vulnerability often affects a couple’s relationship dynamic. It is likely that lately, your husband seems more like a roommate or a friend you’re sharing a bed with, instead of a romantic partner. With an emotionally unavailable man, you may experience either of these two things — your sexual chemistry with him is off, or the physical relationship you two share is the only way he gets intimate with you. Thereby, you may experience that your marriage is devoid of any romantic feelings. With such a dynamic, your marriage will fail to satisfy the bottom line of your relationship — an emotional bond and a genuine connection. 

4.  He Needs Too Much Me-time:

Every human being needs some quality time with themselves for their psychological well-being; which is why you need to give your partner some space. However, suppose your husband needs too much emotional, or even physical distance from you even when you respectfully step back. In that case, it is safe to assume that he has an avoidant attachment style and fear of intimacy, which leads to this unhealthy relationship pattern.


5. You Don’t Remember the Last Time You Had a Meaningful Conversation:

With an emotionally unavailable partner, you may notice that your conversations seem to stay at a certain level. You ask each other about how their day was or decide what to order for dinner, but never talk about your dreams, passions, or plans for the future. In a nutshell, you two never or rarely have an intimate conversation about your deep feelings. This may make you feel that you are in a shallow relationship where there is a lack of meaningful connection. 

6. He Avoids Conflict:

It may be a good sign if your partner avoids unnecessary arguments to keep things amicable between you two. But if he pulls away at the slightest hint of a conflict even without explaining his side of it, there may be a deeper issue. Perhaps feelings of hurt from his childhood have reinforced him to bottle up his feelings and find other ways of letting off steam — such as work, video game binges, or substance abuse. However, prolonged emotional avoidance and lack of communication on his behalf can weaken your relationship going ahead. 

7. You Find Yourself Looking for Comfort Elsewhere:

Do you find yourself watching too many rom-coms while sitting on your couch with a tub of ice cream? Does your married life bring back the feelings of loneliness that you may have felt when you were single? Maybe you have started thinking about other guys or getting too involved in the lives of your children. These instances indicate that you are not receiving the warmth and intimacy one expects from a marriage — and your husband’s emotional unavailability may have played a role in this. 

8. You Have No Idea About How He’ll Respond to Certain Situations:

An Emotionally unavailable husband may often come across as a stranger to you. On the surface, you know everything about them — their favorite restaurant, music band, or holiday destination. However, you’re often confused about how he would emotionally respond to a certain situation — what makes him insecure, appreciative, nostalgic, etc. While most of his personality stays vague, the only responses you can predict are escapism, denial, or apathy. And since he never communicates, you spend too much time testing the waters and wondering how he would react. 

9. You Doubt if He Finds You Attractive Anymore:

Women need reassurance in a relationship. And if your partner seems indifferent to most of the things you do or say, it is easy to think that he may not find you attractive anymore — or worse, assuming he may be having an extramarital affair! Now, these thoughts may be far from the truth. Nonetheless, his apathetic behavior will deny you the validation and admiration that every person seeks from their partner. 

10. It Seems Impossible to Please Him:

If you have been denied warmth and admiration from your husband, you have likely made several attempts to get that from him. You may have done so by making him his favorite dinner, cheering him up on his achievements, or dressing up in an outfit he likes. And while he may have appreciated those, nothing aroused a satisfactory response in him as you may have expected. On the other hand, you notice that it is easy to trigger his critical side a lot more easily. 

11. He Is “Physically” Unavailable:

Another common sign of emotional absence is “literal” absence. Does your husband seem to not be around whenever you need him the most — be it to pick up the kids from school,  accompany you to your parent’s house, or show up for date night? You may also notice that he is more unreliable and vague than you earlier thought. Perhaps, he leaves the “grunt work” of your married life completely to you, such as attending parties, visiting relatives, etc. while he may only contribute financially or in a way that’s easy for him. Such behavior is a serious red flag that you must take note of. 

12. He Seeks Emotional Fulfilment from His Social Circle:

We are nowhere hinting that your husband should not have a social life or prioritize time with his friends. However, a marriage or romantic relationship is an important part of a person’s life from which they seek certain emotional fulfillment. And, perhaps your husband too did that in the initial days of your marriage or relationship, but somewhere down the line, he started distancing himself. A man often reacts in such a manner when he fears his romantic partner will reject or shun him for being vulnerable. 


13. He Treats the Marriage Like a Part-time Job:

Men are often socially conditioned to be unemotional and practical. This is one of the reasons why your husband may seem to contribute to your marriage by financially supporting it, investing in assets and material items, or helping out with household chores, However, he does not seem big on deep conversations, spending quality time, hugging or holding hands, or sweet gestures like bringing you with flowers. While a man may believe that he is being a dutiful husband, it comes off as they are viewing the marriage as a job and not a real relationship.

14. His Body Language Gives It Away:

Most men enjoy showing their affection through physical gestures, such as hugging, caressing your cheek, playing with your hair, and so forth. And even if he is not engaging in such gestures, you know that he is into you when he subtly imitates your body language, listens to you intently, or reflects genuine happiness in his eyes when he looks at you. But, if your husband displays uptight body language, seems lost in his thoughts, has a constant frown on his face, or shows indifference to you being in the room, it is a key sign that he is emotionally unavailable. 

15. He is Good At Shallow Flattery:

To many men, a relationship is simply about getting a woman weak in the knees and craving his presence, so his male ego gets a boost. Such men may even apply the rules of casual dating to their marriage while giving it very little emotional investment. This behavior is an obvious sign as you can sense the lack of empathy and connection. This is a big red flag, indicating a toxic relationship that can adversely affect your mental health in the long run. 


The good news is that emotional unavailability in your husband may be a temporary thing and not an indicator of how much he loves you. Hence, we suggest you test the waters by giving him some space and then communicate your feelings with him maturely. Meanwhile, ensure that you are responsible for your happiness and that you don’t let your spouse or any person other than you control it.



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