Pregnant and Husband is Distant
Dear Positive Way, I have a problem involving my husband. I am pregnant and I have been noticing that my husband is distant and not very affectionate. He doesn't communicate to me accept if he wants to argue with me or ask that I do something for him. When we together at home he just plays games or watch tv. We don't talk anymore. The other problem is we are not very intimate anymore and its bugging me. He works shifts and when he is not working he goes and visit his friends a lot and I'm left alone at home. Since march this year I have been unemployed and now I'm pregnant and we had to cope with only one income. Its been a struggle. Sometimes he is also very depressed because of our financial situation. I don't know what to do? signed, Smallie, age 28
Dear Smallie, there is a lot of stress on both of you and that does create the problems that you are experiencing. Your husband is coping in the best way he knows how and it is very common for a husband to withdraw in this way under such stress. Financial stress is on the top of issues that create stress and unhappiness within a relationship. Here are some things I would like for you to consider:
1. The lesser income and then the knowledge that there will be a new mouth to feed and take care of is overwhelming for many bread winners. Since there was a change in income even before you became pregnant that created extra stress and your husband is showing signs of stress and also experiencing some depression. Both of those feelings and circumstances don't allow for much else. He is incapable of giving you what you want at this time and in fact your needs are adding to his stress. Any more demands on him at this time are more than he can handle at this time. With that said there are things you can do that may help him and yourself with this situation.
2. We have written many articles and give advice to people that want to improve their financial situation so please read our money advice and information articles on this website . After reading the information pick and choose the topics that you feel you can work on to make a positive difference within the relationship. Can you get a part time job even if you are pregnant? Bringing in any income can help even if it is minimum wage. This will show your husband that you are willing to do what it takes to contribute to the household financially as long as it does not jeopardize your relationship or your pregnancy.
3. We can all deal with life much better if we feel we have a partner that is willing to work together as a team to solve problems. Please read our information on Problem Solving and put those suggestions to use.
4. Don't shame or make your husband feel bad because he is withdrawing or becoming distant. Try to see things from his eyes and give him more understanding and some space to work things out in his mind. Let him know that you are willing and able to work with him to make things better. Be a willing and understanding mate and that will open the door to some better communication.
5. Take care of you and your baby. Have some girlfriend time, get as much rest as possible, eat right and nurture your body. Listen to some calming music or meditation tapes. The calmer and more relaxed you feel and act the better your husband will feel and act. Your behaviors and feelings will influence him and his level of stress.
Find ways to nurture yourself without demanding anything from your husband at this time.
6. Have a family meeting with your husband. Tell him you would like 15 minutes of his time to discuss a family matter. Give him a choice of times and let him pick which date and time works best for him. Make sure the time is totally free of interruption - no tv, radio, phone calls etc. Bring a timer to the meeting. Set the timer in front of your husband and honor the time. Men can only take so much "talking" and if you show him you won't be taking anymore than 15 minutes to discuss this matter he will be more open to really listening to you. During this meeting say something like the following: Honey I know we have been under a lot of stress with me not working and now that I am pregnant it has added extra stress and pressure your way. I want to help out as much as possible and I am willing to get a job that I can sustain during my pregnancy to help contribute to our family income. Then ask "what else can I do to help ease your stress at this time?" Then listen to his response. Don't judge him, don't blame him, or put him down for having his feelings. Just listen. When the 15 minutes is up end the meeting by thanking him for listening and give him a hug. If there is more to talk about you both can set up a future 15 minute meeting at another day and time. Take things 15 minutes at a time and don't drag this talk out throughout the day. Have the rest of the day as "safe time" so both of you don't have to feel you will be attacked or put down and so you both can have some thinking time to digest what has been talked about. Before having this meeting please read Express and Own Your Feelings and use that information to talk about things.
For now my suggestion is to go for more understanding and acceptance of how your husband is responding and let him know that you are there for him and you are willing to be a partner in all of it. Reassure him as best you can. He will come around if he doesn't feel more pressure from you to respond in a certain way. Take care of yourself and your baby and then you will be able to be more helpful to your husband.
Please understand you have free will. This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling. We wish you well.