Being ignored is probably one of the worst feelings in the world.
Most of the time you don’t even know what you’ve done wrong, and the more you try to talk to your husband, the more he pulls away.
I know how lonely and frustrating these times can be. I struggled with the same problem early on in my relationship.
But, with a little understanding and some useful strategies in place to deal with this behavior, you can create a relationship with better communication, respect, and love.
And that’s what we’re going to be looking at – why your husband ignores you, and what you can do to regain his attention, long-term and in the short run.
But first, it’s a good idea to start by evaluating yourself first:
How do you react when he ignores you?
It might seem strange that we’re starting with your reaction to being ignored rather than why he’s ignoring you (don’t worry, that’s coming up in the next section).
But there’s a reason for this:
For a long time, whenever my partner would get into a huff and ignore me for what seemed like an eternity (and it used to happen a lot), I would do everything possible to get his attention.
But it never worked, and I could never understand how he could be so stubborn to keep ignoring me even when I was trying to resolve the problem.
It wasn’t until I spoke to a friend about my issues and she asked me, “When he ignores you, how do you react?”.
It was the last thing I expected to be asked, surely we should be discussing his issues and not my reactions.
But I went along with it and I told her that when he ignores me, I try even harder to talk to him.
Now, at the cost of sounding a bit needy (and I was needy back then), I thought that the sooner he stopped giving me the cold shoulder, the quicker we could work things out.
What I didn’t realize was how my reaction was pushing him further away.
And that’s why we’re starting with this question first. So how do you react when your husband ignores you?
- Ignore him back
- Become infuriated and try to start an argument
- Break down and cry until he gives in
- Plead and beg for him to be normal again
Being ignored is extremely painful, a thousand questions are going through your head and their silence only makes it worse.
But if your reaction is any of the above, it could be adding fuel to the fire.
And that’s the last thing you need when you’re going through the difficult process of trying to find out why he’s ignoring you.
The only way to move past this type of behavior is by first understanding why he acts like that, and then by implementing some strategies to deal with those long, cold silences.
So let’s get straight into some of the reasons he ignores you:
Reasons your husband is ignoring you
1) He’s stressed
Stress is a huge factor in many of our lives, and it can change a person from energetic and happy to burned out and sullen in no time.
Whilst most of us power through and try to avoid letting stress from work or family bog us down, some people can’t stop it from seeping into all areas of their life.
So, even if you’re not the problem, it could be that your husband is having a tough time at work or with something in his personal life, and he finds it easier to shut down rather than talk about it.
You’re probably wondering, “But I’m his wife, why can’t he talk to me?”
And that’s a valid question, but sometimes people avoid talking about their issues because they don’t want to worry you or they don’t want to bring it any closer to home.
What they don’t realize though is that they end up ignoring you, and you’re left wondering what’s going on.
In most cases, you should have some indicators that stress is a factor – keep an eye on how your husband is when he gets in from work or when he’s on the phone with colleagues.
2) He struggles to express his emotions
It’s not uncommon for men to struggle with expressing their emotions, and who can blame them?
In many societies, men showing emotions such as sadness or fear are regarded as weak, and they’re pressured to hide their emotions.
But the problem is, from a young age, men aren’t encouraged to speak up when they’re struggling or when they’re hurt emotionally.
And then, as men, they continue this learned behavior of being the stoic, strong man who can handle everything thrown at him.
In reality, though, it just makes it so much harder for men to healthily let out their emotions and be supported in their struggles.
So even though your husband’s actions hurt you, keep in mind that maybe he has never been taught how to communicate when he’s feeling stressed or upset.
Even though this doesn’t make it any easier for you, at least you can understand where he’s coming from.
3) He’s emotionally immature
On the other hand, it could well be that he’s simply emotionally immature.
Kids and teenagers ignore their parents, friends, or teachers when they’re upset or they haven’t got their way.
We’ve all done it at one point or another, right?
But as you grow up, you learn that this type of behavior doesn’t get you anywhere and it only pushes people away (and makes you look silly in the process).
But, some people don’t mature as quickly as others, and since they haven’t learned other ways to express their emotions, they just continue this behavior learned from childhood.
4) He’s afraid of confrontation
Another reason that your husband is ignoring you could be that he’s afraid of tackling the issues you have in your relationship.
If he’s afraid of confrontation, this could be something that stems from his childhood.
It’s possible that he also fears being rejected, so by ignoring you he’s avoiding potentially being hurt.
The problem is, the more he avoids talking to you after you’ve had a falling out, the more things snowball and the harder it is for you to reconcile.
It can even get to the point where he’s avoiding so many issues that he ends up avoiding you altogether too.
And this only makes the situation worse.
In this case, your husband needs to work through these fears and learn how to face them head-on, otherwise, you’ll both suffer every time you face a bump in the road.
5) He’s lost interest in the relationship
Does your husband ignore you all the time? Is he reluctant to go on date nights or to have sex?
If so, there’s a possibility he’s simply lost interest in you and the relationship.
This happens for many reasons, such as:
- Your relationship dynamic has changed (maybe working schedules have changed, or the arrival of a new baby has put extra pressure on him)
- He’s met someone else (and is possibly having an affair)
- You’ve stopped making an effort with your appearance or with him
- The relationship has become stale and routine – the spark is missing
The truth is, there are many reasons why a person loses interest in the relationship, and if they’re unwilling to end things, they’ll keep stringing you along but also ignoring you in the process.
6) He’s unhappy in the relationship
Different from losing interest, being unhappy in the relationship means that he still cares and wants to be with you, but something isn’t right.
It could be an accumulation of things – complaints about his mother over the years or failure to support him in his dreams. Whatever it is, he could be resentful and unsure of how to deal with it.
So he takes the easy route and ignores you rather than admit what’s bothering him.
It’s incredibly frustrating to deal with, especially if you don’t know how to make him happy again.
But, there is hope here. If you’re able to find out what’s making him so unhappy, together, as a team, you might be able to sort it out.
The only downside is getting it out of him first – and this will require a lot of understanding and patience.
7) You’ve done something to upset him
If he’s generally unhappy in the relationship, he’ll probably ignore you quite often because the issues between you run deep.
But, if the cold treatment is random, it could just be his reaction to being hurt or sad – potentially by something you have done.
As I mentioned earlier, my partner put me through the same thing about a year into the relationship.
He was generally happy and loving, but one little remark from me could send him into a mood for days – it drove me mad.
So I know how it feels to be ignored after every argument or stressful event, but I had to accept that everyone deals with anger or hurt differently.
I’m very expressive if something has annoyed me, whereas my partner prefers to shut down and keep it all in – and the only way to do that is by ignoring the source of his frustration (which was me, in many cases).
The same could apply to your husband, too. If he’s genuinely hurt or upset, ignoring you might be his way of getting some space and clearing his head.
And this isn’t always a bad thing – it just depends on how often it happens and how long he drags it on for.
I’ve learned to give him some space, and he’s worked on getting over his grudges faster, and slowly we met in the middle.
After all – relationships are about compromise, and if you truly love someone, and they treat you well in general, you owe it to try and work through these issues.
But the key is knowing how to deal with them and come out as a stronger couple on the other side.
So now we’ve covered some of the main reasons your husband ignores you, let’s look at what you can do about it.
What you can do to get his attention again
1) Don’t overreact
The most important thing to avoid is turning your relationship into a fiery, intense drama every time he goes quiet on you.
I know it’s tempting (I’m the queen of being dramatic) but resist the urge and remember – sometimes he just needs a minute.
Whether it’s to gather his thoughts, or because something at work is distracting him, there will always be times where patience and understanding are needed.
Because we all have our moments, and we all have bad days.
But if you overreact every time he seems distant or quiet, he’ll soon feel like he can’t be his natural self around you, and that’s the last thing you want.
So the next time he doesn’t reply or he stops paying attention, just breathe.
Count to ten, and remind yourself that he may have a valid reason and it’s best to simply ask him what’s wrong rather than assume there’s an issue between the two of you.
He’ll be more likely to respond and engage in conversation if you approach him calmly and with an open mind, and you may start to get a better understanding of why he gives you the silent treatment.
2) Avoid fighting about it
And just as keeping a calm head will stop any drama, it’s a good idea to avoid having any full-blown arguments during this time.
One of the reasons my partner would go quiet was because he didn’t want to “lose his temper”, so he’d just stay quiet.
He knew he was stressed with work and he didn’t want to take it out on me (although my argument was that ignoring me was just as painful) but I understood his thinking.
In those early days though, I’d even resort to arguing with him just to get his attention, but in hindsight, we both could have avoided hurting each other.
If you’re at the point in your relationship where you feel that you have to constantly scream or pick a fight just to get his attention, some serious issues need to be addressed.
But if one thing is for sure, they won’t be resolved during a heated row.
3) Use the hero instinct
But one thing you can do to get your husband to pay more attention to you is to simply treat him like a hero.
If you haven’t come across the term before, you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about mythological legends, princesses, and heroes who come to their savior.
That’s not the case with the hero instinct.
First coined by relationship coach and psychologist James Bauer, the hero instinct is all about activating an innate drive that all men have – to feel respected, needed, and appreciated.
So, do you have to play the damsel in distress?
No -you don’t have to sacrifice or change yourself in any way, and you certainly don’t need to act or appear weak to make him feel like a hero.
All you need to do to trigger the hero instinct is:
- Be forthcoming with your appreciation and gratitude
- Let him know how happy he makes you and how much you love him
- Support him and boost his confidence
- Let him help you out – even if it’s with small errands
For me, the hero instinct was a game-changer.
Once I started making my partner feel that he was valued, needed, and wanted, his respect and love for me increased quicker than I thought it would.
And it has massively impacted how we handle disagreements – there’s a lot less ignoring now because my partner just feels better in himself.
To learn more about how you, as I did, can trigger this instinct with very little work on your part, check out this free video by James Bauer.
4) Take this time to work on yourself
Even with the hero instinct, there still may be times where your partner might resort back to his old antics – like giving you the cold shoulder.
The way I see it, you can either sulk around and wait for him to break the silence, or you could invest this time into yourself.
Whether it’s by reflecting and finding out your issues (and then trying to overcome them) or by learning new ways of communication, you can use this time wisely.
5) Give him space and time
Whether it’s because he can’t be bothered to deal with confrontation, or he’s in the wrong and doesn’t want to admit it, sometimes the best thing for you to do is give him space.
Because you can’t force someone to speak to you if they don’t want to, and the time apart will give him a chance to think about the situation and work out the details.
But in the meantime, you might as well make the most of your time apart.
So, what do I do when my partner is having an off day and wants to be left alone?
- Have a pamper day – it’s the perfect time to look after me because I know I’ll be left alone for the day
- Meet up with friends – there’s nothing like having a good laugh (or moan) to cheer you up
- Catch up on work – you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something even the rest of the day wasn’t great
- Spend time on passions and hobbies – feel-good activities for the soul are needed when your partner ignores you
During this time, fully disengage and let him work through his issues.
Don’t live in hope and vain waiting for him to talk to you. The more independent you are and the more he sees that you’re living your life, the quicker he’ll come around.
And when he does, you’ll be feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to work things out.
6) But let him know you’re there when he’s ready to resolve things
Just as giving him space can work, it’s also a good idea to leave the channel of communication open.
If you just take off for the day, he might assume you’re ignoring him too, and so the cycle continues.
But, if you leave a note or a quick text message to say that you’re going to get on with your stuff but you’re up for getting together when he’s ready, he’ll be more likely to respond positively.
The truth is, you don’t want to make the situation worse, and even though you’re probably feeling fed up or mad at him, the goal here is to work through these issues – not aggravate them.
7) Keep being yourself
Another way to remove some of the negativity and get him interested again is to simply just be yourself.
I know how being ignored can bring out the worst in you, I become moody, frustrated, and upset (all-natural emotions, of course) but it didn’t make me any more pleasant to be around.
You see, whether your partner is being selfish or they genuinely are working through an issue, being kind and supportive lets him know that you still care.
Until it’s clear that you aren’t being respected (at which time you should walk away) you can make things better by being supportive to your husband.
You never know, it could be that he’s crying out for help inside but doesn’t know how to ask for it.
8) Spend time analyzing his behavior
Every successful married couple I know says that it all gets easier once you know what makes your partner tick (or ticked off).
So, can you identify what makes your husband so distant?
Are there particular times in the day/week/month that he ignores you? Any links to work, changes in routine, or something that you do?
The key is to work out what exactly annoys him to the point that he ignores you, and from there you can start to work through these issues.
But the bottom line is, without honest and open communication, you could end up shooting in the dark and wasting your time.
9) Try to bring back the spark
And whilst you’re analyzing his moods, you could also look out for areas where the spark is missing.
If your fella is ignoring you because he feels bored or he’s losing interest because you’ve been together a while, now’s the time to shake things up.
Do something spontaneous that will surprise him, or plan a sexy evening in and get adventurous – judge it on your partner’s personality and what will work best.
This is for you just as much as it’s for him, so see it as something that will benefit you both and hopefully bring back that initial fire you had.
This is something that both of you should make an effort with, but there’s no harm in being the first one to initiate it.
10) Look into marriage counseling
If all else fails and your husband still ignores you, marriage counseling is the best option.
Being ignored daily can be extremely stressful for you and it would feel normal to just want to give up.
But before you do that, seeking professional help may highlight some problems in your relationship that neither of you mightn’t be aware of.
And if ignoring is a deep-rooted habit of your husband’s, or he’s depressed and under a lot of stress, a therapist can help deal with these factors (and advise you on how to support him).
What not to do when your husband ignores you – important tips
So now you know what you can do to get his attention back, but just in case, here are some important “don’ts” that will save you considerable time and emotion:
- Don’t ignore him. I’ve said once and I’ll say it again – leave the door open and seek a resolution rather than being vindictive.
- Avoid putting too much pressure on him. The more pressure you apply, the further he’ll go. Don’t harass him for attention, understand that he needs space and the only thing you can do is keep busy while you wait for him to come around.
- Don’t embarrass him about it out of spite. If your husband is a good man, the chances are this response is something he’s learned and it’s how he copes with certain emotions. He probably wishes he could change too, but mocking him about it or embarrassing him will only make him more steadfast in his silence.
Even if you feel like pulling your hair out, it’s important to keep as calm as you can and follow the tips above – there’s always a chance of reconciling your marriage.
So, focus on what you can do and what to avoid when dealing with your husband, and you’ll soon work out what’s causing his silent treatment.
The bottom line
Whilst most of the advice in this article is about saving the marriage, I also want to make the point that if ignoring you is a daily thing, you may need to reconsider your relationship.
If your husband is simply no longer interested in you but he’s too cowardly to admit (so he ignores you instead) then you need to respect and love yourself, and know when it’s time to move on.
Because, ultimately, no one deserves to be ignored.
It’s a painful way to deal with conflict or insecurity, and the basis of any healthy relationship is communication.
So hopefully the tips above will help you work out how best to deal with your husband – and the strategies should help build a bridge of trust, respect. and conversation between you.
But if all else fails, know that walking away doesn’t mean you’ve given up, it means you’re setting healthy boundaries for what’s acceptable in your relationship, and you’re not going to put up with being emotionally abused.
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