Welcome to JA. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in NYS. I am preparing my reply and will post in one moment.
Yes, I can understand why you would want to understand this behavior from your husband. I suspect without talking to him directly that your intuition that something happened to him in his past that made it unsafe for him to express his feelings openly is correct. Most if not all of our behaviors are learned and a result of beliefs and experiences we have accumulated throughout our lives. as a therapist I always do family of origin work since this is when we start to develop the patterns of behavior that we "inherit" from the moment we are born. Was his mother and father affectionate or expressive? Was this safe in his own family? Were there inappropriate boundaries that he was exposed to by adults when he was younger? The fact that he is able to be this way with his grandchildren also implies that this is safe for him with them. He does not have anxiety, fears, etc. when it comes to this dynamic. Humans are wonderful and complex. I am glad for his sake, that he now has a relationship that he feels he can express his loving feelings with. Please understand that his withholding from you and his son is not about you, it is about what I shared above. Please let me know if this makes sense to you and if you would like to discuss further. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC