So, you’ve been married a few years and you’re noticing things are changing. Your husband no longer seems to support you or do those little things to make your life any easier. And, you’re wondering to yourself if you’ve got an unsupportive husband, and if so, how do you cope with it.
If you’ve had a tough day at work, he won’t bother to do anything about dinner. If one of your parents or kids is unwell, he does the bare minimum and leaves the stress and hustle to you. Well, looks like you’ve got yourself an unsupportive spouse all right!
5 Signs You Have An Unsupportive Husband
It’s possible your husband was different when you first got married. Maybe things changed and you just don’t seem to be a priority with him anymore. Maybe you’re wondering if you ended up with a manipulative husband. Either way, here are 5 signs of an unsupportive husband to look out for.
1. When the going gets tough, he’s out!
If there’s extra work around the house, he’s too tired. If there’s an errand that needs to be done, he’s too busy. If someone is ill, he refuses to take really take care of anything. That last one is especially frustrating because there’s nothing worse than an unsupportive husband during illness.
That’s not to say he’s not allowed to be tired or busy, but if this is happening every time, it’s definitely one of the signs of an unsupportive husband.
Related Reading: Top 15 Signs Of A Selfish Husband, And Why Is He Like That
2. He never celebrates your success
Imagine you got a big promotion at work and you rush home to tell your husband. Instead of being happy for you, he shrugs it off, or even tells you it’s not that big a deal. Your happiness wears off and you spend the evening on your own, eating junk food and thinking, ‘God, I hate my unsupportive husband.’
3. When you need to vent, he’s never there
Let’s face it. One of the main reasons we get married or get into relationships is so we have a more permanent venting person. But your husband just isn’t there. You’ve had a bad day and you really want to let it all out, but your emotionally unsupportive husband is playing games on his phone. Not even a courtesy ‘hmm’ sound to pretend he is listening.
Related Reading: What To Do When Your Husband Belittles You
4. He always leaves you hanging
There’s a family function or dinner with your colleagues, and he doesn’t confirm until the last minute. Then also, he doesn’t always show up. In an equal partnership, or in any relationship, it’s basic courtesy to let someone know if you’re coming, or if you’re delayed. If this isn’t the case, you definitely have an unsupportive spouse.
5. He does not reciprocate
Be it physical intimacy, affection, or shared chores, your husband simply doesn’t reciprocate. Most days, it feels as though you’re shouldering the marriage all by yourself. You initiate conversations, intimacy and make vague weekend plans, hoping he’ll be excited. But he’s not. And you start wondering whether your husband doesn’t want you.
But he is oblivious to your dark mood. He’s just finishing work, then watching sports and barely talking to you or the kids. Yup, here’s another instance you get to grind your teeth and mutter, ‘I hate my unsupportive husband!’
How To Deal With An Unsupportive Husband
All right, so you’ve argued, fought, shed tears and gritted your teeth over your unsupportive husband. Now what? Do you walk out? Do you stay and make it work? Do you just keep eating giant bags of chips in a corner and grumbling?
Never fear, we’ve got your back. We’re not saying these tips will turn your unsupportive spouse into those men in Nicholas Sparks books, but hopefully, they’ll help you understand your husband, and cope better with the situation.
Here are 9 ways to deal with an unsupportive husband.
1. Have the conversation
Gina and Mark had been married 3 years and Gina was 5 months pregnant. Her problem with Mark could be summed up in one sentence: Planned pregnancy but now unsupportive husband.
In other words, Mark wanted kids, was so excited when she got pregnant, but now had turned into a completely unsupportive husband during pregnancy.
Gina grew so frustrated that she considered raising the child alone and becoming a successful, single mother.
She was too angry and tired to have any conversations with Mark, so she switched off completely. But as it turned out, when she did finally try and communicate, it turned out Mark had no idea what to do to support her and was terrified of doing the wrong thing. Yes, he should have taken on the labor of finding out, reading up etc., but Gina’s furious silence only pushed him away further.
If you’ve been giving your emotionally unsupportive husband the silent treatment, don’t. Sit down and ask him if anything’s bothering him. Then, try and communicate your unhappiness and what you need from him. Don’t turn it into a blame game, be fair and try and be gentle.
2. Gather your support system
It’s true that we cannot get all the support we need from a single person, even if they are our soulmate. Make sure you have a group of friends and family to turn to whenever you feel let down by your unsupportive spouse.
That doesn’t mean you let them off the hook, just make sure you’re not dumping all your emotional needs on them and then getting angry when they are unable to give you what you need.
There are some kinds of support only your girlfriends can truly give you over several glasses of wine. So, instead of pouting at your husband, shimmy into your favorite dress and meet the girls. (Bonus: You get to complain about your unsupportive husband, too!)
3. Get professional help
Matt and Bill had been married only a few months when Bill broke his ankle on a hike. Bedridden and unable to do anything much, he hoped that Matt would rise to the occasion and take care of him.
Unfortunately, Matt could barely do the bare minimum of chores and did very little for Bill. Worse, he didn’t seem to think he needed to do anything more.
Things grew worse, with Bill accusing Matt of not caring about him, and Matt saying Bill was being a baby. Finally, their brand-new marriage hanging by a thread, they decided to seek professional help.
An unsupportive husband during illness is the worst. But in Matt and Bill’s case, therapy was useful. Bill admitted that he’s used to being cossetted even if he has a cold, while Matt had grown up with a single mother and was used to taking care of himself but no one else.
Professional help gives you a safe space to air out your grievances and communicate better. And heading to a therapist’s office is (mostly) less painful than heading to a divorce lawyer.
4. Give him space when he needs it
If your spouse is used to a certain amount of physical and emotional space, it’s possible marriage and all its expectations have him a little spooked and defensive. Space in a relationship is important, especially if you’re sharing a home.
Ask yourself if you’re crowding him with constant demands for support. Does he have time to process what you’re asking him to do, before you swoop in with the next demand? Yes, it would be lovely if everyone of all genders came into a marriage knowing exactly what is expected of them, but that rarely happens.
Allow him some headspace to get used to your needs and routine. Maybe he’ll turn out to not be such an unsupportive spouse after all.
Related Reading: 21 Ways To Tell You Have A Narcissistic Husband
5. Show appreciation
We all love compliments. We love them especially when we’ve done things for our partner and they notice.
If your husband has managed to make your coffee just right for once, tell him so. If he was at the deli and remembers your favorite sandwich, thank him with a big kiss. When he remembers your great-aunt’s name and birthday, tell him he’s the best.
Listen, we don’t need to bake our husbands cookies for the bare minimum of support, but appreciation and encouragement go a long way towards making them want to do it again. Be mindful of their small gestures of support, and make them feel loved.
6. Include him in your decisions
Mary and John had two children. While John wasn’t an unsupportive husband during pregnancy, Mary felt that he was slipping up once the kids got a little older. Another example of ‘planned pregnancy but now unsupportive husband?’
Well, as it turned out, Mary made all the decisions with regards to the kids – their names, their clothes, their play dates – leaving John feeling as though he had no real role in their upbringing. He withdrew, convinced he didn’t have to do much or offer support.
Once Mary understood this (communication in a relationship works wonders!), things improved.
It’s important that both partners feel heard and needed in a relationship. If you’re asking for support, it’s only fair that your spouse is included in the major decisions you make.
You needn’t ask him if you should wear the red dress or the green shoes for an evening out, but if it’s to do with the kids, or the house, or the routine, he deserves to be in on it.
7. Understand what you need vs what you want
Imagine you’re standing at your favorite coffee shop. You’re hungry and you want a giant cupcake with 60% cream cheese icing. But what you need to feel full is a proper meal – a sandwich or a fruit cup.
Now apply the same logic to your unsupportive husband. You want him to wait on you hand and foot, be a gourmet chef and remember the names of all 7 of your second cousins.
But you need him to remember to pick up the kids from school on Tuesday, give you a foot massage when you’ve had a hard day and show up to your mom’s birthday dinner on time.
Don’t get mad at him for not being a fantasy Harlequin romance man who fulfills your every wish and reads your mind. If he’s giving you the support you need, if he’s loving and nurturing you in the ways that are integral to a relationship, maybe that’s okay for now.
He can keep working on those gourmet chef skills, though!
8. Admit to your flaws
We hate to break it to you, but you’re not perfect. And it helps every once in a while, to take a long, hard look at yourself and see if anything you’re doing is triggering your unsupportive husband’s behavior.
Are you constantly accusing him of not doing enough? Do you raise your voice at all times when he falls short? Do you say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when you ask him to do things, or when something gets done? (Yes, manners matter even when you’re married.)
Admit to your own flaws and see where you can work together and support each other. Don’t make it a power struggle in a relationship. After all, support and love are two-way streets.
9. Understand his love language
It’s possible that for you, support means lots of cuddles and constant words of encouragement. While for your husband, it means noticing when your favorite tea is almost over and replacing it. Or fixing the angle of your computer screen so you’re not hunched over.
Everyone has their own ways of showing support, and if your husband’s love language is different, don’t write him off as an emotionally unsupportive husband. Take a little time, understand his ways of showing support, and maybe that’s all you’ll need to do.
Mutual support is one of the pillars of marriage, and it’s never a bad idea to ask for some. But it’s important to introspect and be kind before having a meltdown all over your emotionally unsupportive husband.
So, go ahead. Play nice, get help if needed and be clear about what you need. The support will come.