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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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What can I do about my husband withholding affection and

Resolved Question:

what can I do about my husband withholding affection and intimacy as a punishment when "I do something wrong." The namecalling and criticism have been going on for years and now he does not wish to have intimate relations. I suspected an affair or desire for one 3 years ago and we went to a counselor for 6 months until "I did something wrong and he quit." I continue with a counselor for another 8 months.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
I'm sorry to hear you.
It sounds like your husband may exhibit passive-aggressive behavior at times.
Let me ask you a few questions.
Are you and your husband seeing a marriage therapist now?
Does he tell you what makes him angry?
Is there a specific question I can assist you with?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
You are not charged until you receive a satisfying answer.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

No we are not seeing a therapist. He refuses to go and says "you need to go and get fixed."

No he is not specific about what makes him upset/angry--it is usually some little thing I say that sets him off. He will take a small thing and make a mountain out of it and use

that as an excuse to withhold affection. What happened on Sat. I am insecure about other women, suspicious and know that he is always looking at other women in public, because 3 yrs ago when he traveled for his job all wk he flirted with them even when I was sitting right there! Also I am overly sensitive due to my age and increase in weight. He was walking holding my hand and pulled it and I asked why and he said there were girls behind that wanted to get past us on the sidewalk and all I was doing was walking behind my daughter and soninlaw and my husband said I was walking in the middle of the sidewalk at the festival! I got angry and said I don't need to worry or move for those b.....and he immediaely jerked his hand away. I'm not holding your hand look at how you talk. I did not argue or fight in public and tried to act like it did not hurt me. Last night and today he did not show me any affection over a stupid thing like that and that is his latest way to hurt me. Yes, he is very passive-aggressive.

My specific question is how am I supposed to respond to this withholding of affection--say or do?

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hi there, I will be back with my answer in 15 min..
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I am waiting patiently--the 15 min. is over. Thanks.

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 6 years ago.
Hi, Thanks for your response.
I am sorry to hear about what you are going through.
It sounds like your husband has difficulty communicating with you assertively and openly. His behavior is passive-aggressive. Some of his behavior such as name calling is inappropriate.
Perhaps, he may be sensitive, anxious to your response but lack empathy and respect towards you as his wife. He may provoke anxiety and worry in you by flirting with and looking at other women in public. Again, his behavior is disrespectful and inappropriate.
I am not sure of his progress in marriage therapy before. But, he may get angry at you as he may misinterpret your motive or he may be unhappy about something between you and him.
You may need to be more assertive towards him for your health and well-being. You may tell him your feelings without high emotion such as anger – for example, you may tell him his behavior of avoiding you is hurtful. His behavior makes you wonder if he is angry at you. You want him to communicate his feelings with you if he is angry. You want to know what made him angry. etc.
I would advise you and your husband to practice assertive communication that require mutual respect between you and him.
The books "Asserting yourself" by Bower & Bower and "The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook" by Dr. Davis et al. may be helpful for you and him to learn about assertive communication that may help you to understand and forgive each other’s mistakes.
I hope your husband changes his behavior.
Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any.
P.S. Please remember to click the green accept button. You do NOT get charged the fee twice. Feel free to continue the discussion even after you press the accept button; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Warm regards,
Dr. Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you