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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I would like to learn how to open up to my husband again. I

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I would like to learn how to open up to my husband again. I am closed off and selfish in our marriage!

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

What do you feel caused you to be closed off from your husband?

How long have you been married and when did the problems start?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We have been married almost 18 years, together 20. 5 kids, lost our 2nd son to a birth defect. He did cheat on me early in our marriage. I have forgiven him and we did move on. He works out of state and I have gone back and forth over the years from travelling with him and homeschooling to staying at home with the kids. I feel the resentment is from the overwhelming stress I deal with. He is a VERY hard worker and provides for us well. I have a lot of respect for him for that and I do love him. I feel his main responsibility os work though. He is out there alone, only responsible for himself. I take care of EVERYTHING! We have a ranch I run, I'm getting a Master's degree, raise the kids, pay the bills, everything!!! When I do see him, I just want a break. He wants sex and to spend time together...I want ME time. He feels like I don't love him. I really do right now I just feel like he is another person that needs things from me and there is nothing left to give. I am very selfish with my time, things, sex, etc. I am closed off and distant because I do not feel like he is an equal partner in our life. I feel like the "older responsible one" and there is resentment! Thank you!

Thank you for the information!

It is very clear why you feel the way you do. Your husband is basically living a single life and you are living a married life, but without the partner. You are a single parent, one of the most stressful jobs someone can have. Your needs are not being met, while your husband can meet his own needs and does not have to care for anyone else's needs.

Your relationship is unequal and it is causing you to anger and resentment. Your response is very natural. What needs to happen is a shift in your marriage of responsibilities and of communication. And your husband needs to prioritize so you are first in his life.

Take some time and write out your responsibilities. Then set up a meeting with your husband and talk about your list. Try to leave your feelings out of it. I say that because you want to address a problem here and not a begin conflict. By leaving your feelings out, you can stick to getting what you need.

Start your conversation by telling him what you told me. You love him and respect him. Let him know you are proud of the way he provides for you and the family. Reassure him by touching his hand or face. Smile at him. This will let him know you care and are on his side.

Then let your husband know, in a firm but gentle tone, that you understand he works a lot, but you keep the same kinds of hours. You never get a break, you are on call 24/7, and you need time for yourself in order to be there for him. Then let him come up with solutions. Talk about his suggestions and see if you can compromise. It might be that he spends a day with the kids when he is home and takes them out so you can rest. Or he hires someone to help you. Or he learns to pay the bills on line so you don't have to do it. Whatever it is, he needs to take some of the responsibility from you and shoulder it himself.

Men need to know they are cared about, but they also like to feel in charge. If you suggest he come up with answers, that gives him the feeling he is solving the problem and you will feel cared about at the same time.

Then make a list of what you decide and hand him a copy. Men like to see what they need to do on paper. It helps them to remember and gives them clear guidelines. It also makes it easy for both of you to refer back to the list so you don't misinterpret what was said.

Once you work out the responsibilities, talk about how you can spend time together, which is what he needs. You can try telling him that once the responsibilities are done, the kids have had time with him and you feel you are caught up, then you want to be with him. If he knows that once those things are accomplished he will get what he needs, he may be more willing to compromise.

Then set aside some time for just the two of you. Hire a babysitter and go out (that gives you more time away too), have a movie night at home, whatever you both like to do.

Here are some resources to help you with other ideas:

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

Every Man's Marriage: An Every Man's Guide to Winning the Heart of a Woman (The Every Man Series) by Stephen Arterburn - for your husband

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

Once your husband takes more responsibility in your marriage and shows you are important to him, it will help you begin to feel more open and loving towards him.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions,


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